Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Poster Project Helps Girl Embrace Space

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Poster Project Helps Girl Embrace Space

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN SCANLAN

Mayor John Peyton soon will go where few men have gone before.

Or at least his signature will. It will be sent into space on an electronic copy of a poster that is part of the Student Signatures in Space project started by a Mandarin 11-year-old and her mother.

Diane Comeaux and her daughter, Natalie, got Peyton's autograph on the "Embrace Space" poster Thursday afternoon at City Hall. His name will be among those of Comeaux's family, friends and even pets' hand-drawn paw prints.

The poster will be shipped to the S3 program jointly sponsored by NASA and Lockheed Martin, and will join hundreds of others downloaded onto a computer disc for a trip into orbit on a space shuttle flight.

Peyton was happy to sign it.

"I think your interest in space is smart," Peyton told Natalie. "I am reading a book now that talks about the global market we are in, and there is a shortage of mathematicians, scientists and engineers. Your interest in science and engineering related to space travel is fantastic, and I wish more students would have an interest in it."

For Natalie, the prospect of sending her signature into space along with the mayor's is cool.

"I will probably be watching the space shuttle take off and say, 'Oh my gosh, my poster is in there and I can't believe it,' " she said. "I was very interested in the space program before because I just love everything about space. . . . I hope one day I will become an astronaut, because I really want to go into space and put my footprints on the moon."

Student Signatures in Space is an educational outreach program that has rocketed more than 2.75 million signatures of elementary and middle school students and their friends into space.

Schools that get involved receive posters for students to sign for launch in the fall when they are in class. Educators who participate also receive space-related lesson plans and mission status reports. The posters are sent back to the participating schools after each flight with a NASA certificate verifying they flew in orbit.

Diane Comeaux learned about the poster project, along with a series of educational activities, while surfing the Net. …

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