HARRISBURG, Pa (WTAJ) – The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is joining forces with the Moonshot Museum, Astrobotic, and the Readiness Institute at Penn State to encourage participants in a new poster contest.

The program invites Pennsylvania students in grades 3-12 to participate in a statewide poster contest celebrating America’s return to the moon this year.

“It’s only fitting that we announce this new partnership to support and highlight STEAM education on the 53rd anniversary of the first moon landing,” Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty said. “This poster contest encourages Pennsylvania students to ‘reach for the moon’ in their educational and career endeavors, from science to the arts and anything in between.”

Students are encouraged to create a poster that reflects one or more of the following aspects of the Peregrine mission:

  • History in the Making: Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander will be the first private commercial spacecraft to land on the lunar surface and the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon since the Apollo era.
  • Commercial Space Industry: Peregrine will carry payloads from companies and countries around the world and deploy a small rover to search for underground tunnels or “lava tubes,” potential sites for future lunar settlers. 
  • Flight of the Falcon: The lunar lander is named for the peregrine falcon, the fastest animal on Earth.
  • Powered by Pennsylvania: Peregrine is being constructed at Astrobotic Headquarters on Pittsburgh’s Northside, with metals and electronics built by Pennsylvanians. The spacecraft will launch aboard a rocket from Florida, but once it has left Earth’s atmosphere, Astrobotic Mission Control will coordinate the lander’s journey to the Moon.

The Moonshot Poster Contest combines STEM education and the arts in a new way to celebrate the upcoming launch of Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander. Later this year, Peregrine will be delivering more than two dozen payloads to the lunar surface, including scientific instruments from three national space agencies – including 11 from NASA alone – a rover from Carnegie Mellon University, the Hope Moonshot project from Penn State Outreach, several payloads from commercial companies, and cultural messages from individuals around the Earth.

Students can produce their poster submissions independently at home, during classroom time, or during out-of-school learning programs at community centers, libraries, or summer camps. They may use either computer programs or traditional art supplies to create their poster. Teachers, parents, or guardians should email the student poster submission and completed terms and conditions form to postercontest@moonshotmuseum.org. All submissions must be received by November 30, 2022. For full details on the poster contest and to submit, visit the Moonshot Poster Contest Website.

“Moonshot Museum will open this Fall as Pennsylvania’s first space museum and the first museum on the planet to focus on career readiness for the 21st-centuryst century space industry,” Sam Moore, Moonshot Museum executive director said. “As we approach the exciting dual milestones of the Museum’s opening and Astrobotic’s lunar landing later in the year, we can’t wait to welcome the artistic contributions of students across Pennsylvania, celebrating the Keystone State’s leadership in America’s return to the lunar surface.”

A panel of judges from across the STEAM disciplines in Pennsylvania, including art and science educators and space industry professionals will judge submissions. Winning entries will be selected across three grade ranges: Elementary (Grades 3-4), Middle School (5-8) and High School (9-12).

“Space is no longer the ‘next frontier’; it is the ‘now frontier’ for our students in Pennsylvania,” Dr. Justin Aglio, interim vice president for Outreach and executive director of the Readiness Institute at Penn State said. “We are excited to see the contest submissions and hope they will launch many space and STEAM careers for students in our communities.”

Pennsylvania will be divided into major geographic regions, each consisting of multiple counties. A regional 1st place award certificate will go to a winning entry in each region. State Award Winners will be selected across a range of categories, such as Science Communication, Entrepreneurial Spirit, and Creativity.

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State Award Winners will be invited to a VIP Tour at Astrobotic Headquarters in Pittsburgh. Travel will be at the winner’s own expense. 

All submissions will be included, in a digital payload on a future mission to the moon.