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Apollo 14 commemoration at NMSU fosters science, technology learning

The airspace surrounding Aggie Memorial Stadium was noticeably crowded as students launched dozens of rockets at the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Apollo 14 mission, held Friday, Feb. 21, at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. The event provided an opportunity to commemorate the achievements of the national space program and to foster student interest in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics and technology.

Fostering that interest is the goal of the Southern New Mexico Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SNM SEMAA), a collaborative program between NMSU's College of Education and the College of Engineering that provides a NASA curriculum as an after-school program for students.

"Overall, the event went very smoothly considering how many students attended," said Laura Lomas Tomlinson, SNM SEMAA assistant director. "Many of the teachers came up to me and told me that they just had a blast. Based on the reactions of the students, I would say the event was a huge success."

The event included students from Las Cruces as well as students from Roswell, Deming and Bayard, N.M. The commemoration was organized by the Fellowship of Las Cruces Area Rocketry Enthusiasts and featured the student rocket launches, an Apollo 14 scale model launch reenactment and a special launch honoring the end of the space shuttle program.

Those who gathered at NMSU were able to share their knowledge and expertise, gain practical experience by launching model rockets and explore science booths.

Also participating in the anniversary celebration were students involved in Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement, also known as MESA, a pre-college program that prepares students for college majors and careers in mathematics, engineering, science or technically related fields.

The Apollo 14 commemoration also featured guest speaker Milton Windler, the lead flight director for the Maroon Team for Apollo 8, 11, 13, 14 and 15. He also served as the lead flight director for all three Skylab missions. Participants in the event were able to visit hands-on science booths, static display booths and even an Alan Shepard memorial lunar golf clinic sponsored by the NMSU Golf Club.

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