NASA Solar System Ambassadors:
Sharing the Science for 25 Years
NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors Program celebrated its 25th anniversary in fall 2022. The program is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California.
The Solar Systems Ambassadors Program works with motivated volunteers across the nation to communicate the science and excitement of NASA’s space exploration missions and discoveries with their communities.
In the spirit of a genuine grassroots endeavor, the Solar System Ambassadors Program was originally called the Galileo Ambassador Program. In 1996, Tom Estill, a New Hampshire teacher, attended a Galileo mission educator workshop. Tom suggested to Leslie Lowes (then the lead outreach coordinator for NASA JPL’s Galileo mission) that NASA create a coordinated program for volunteers across the country.
The Galileo Ambassador Program was born in 1997 with Tom as one of the first 16 volunteers. The program quickly gained support from other JPL missions, and in 1999, the Solar System Ambassadors Program was officially formed with 145 volunteers.
Today, the Solar System Ambassadors Program has more than 1,100 dedicated volunteers reaching over 11 million audience members through both in-person and online events in their communities.
The program’s wide-reaching local approach to sharing NASA’s dedicated efforts in space and science with the public has led to a deep impact among individuals and communities — particularly those not traditionally served by NASA.
From a local library in a small town in Iowa to a military base in Guam, volunteers share professionally designed presentations based on the latest updates from scientists and engineers working at the leading edge of NASA’s solar system exploration.
To learn more about the Solar System Ambassadors program, visit https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system-ambassadors/events/.