Christa McAuliffe: How her legacy lives on

Christa McAuliffe was never able to teach from space, but her lesson plans, now updated to reflect current technology, remain available to all.

In this 1986 file photo, Christa McAuliffe, left, and Barbara Morgan, right, laugh during training.

Christa McAuliffe never had the chance to fulfill her dream of teaching from space and in the aftermath of the accident, her lesson plans were filed away by NASA with sadness and grief. The lessons were incomplete, unfinished, and most regrettably, they were never were taught. I wrote an article two-and-a-half years ago how NASA engineer Jerry Woodfill — the same endearing engineer from our series “13 Things That Saved Apollo 13” — had come across McAuliffe’s unfinished lesson plans by accident and worked for several months to resurrect them and give them new life with current technology. On this 25th anniversary of the Challenger accident, I wanted to remind our readers of this engaging story, and how the Challenger Centers for Space Science Education are now using McAuliffe’s lessons. The lessons are also available for any teacher, or anyone who wants to view or use them.

Also, the Challenger Centers offer a wonderful education resource and experience for young people. Please consider donating to their mission, started by the families of the Challenger astronauts lost in the accident. Your donation will honor the Challenger 7 heroes and help inspire the next generation.

Nancy Atkinson blogs at Universe Today.

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