NASA Sends Buzz to Space

May 29, 2008 at 8:37 am 1 comment

Previously, NASA and Disney shared only worldwide recognition – NASA for missions to the moon and Buzz Aldrin and Disney for animated movies and Buzz Lightyear. However, in a governmental bid to create renewed interest in space flight among young students, NASA will send Buzz Lightyear to space on May 31.

The educational program, “Toys in Space,” will provide instructional materials for teachers to assist in math and science lessons. Astronauts aboard the STS-124 mission also will write blog entries and create online games for students. Buzz will transfer to the International Space Station in June. After several months in zero gravity, the foot-long astronaut Buzz will return to Walt Disney World Resort.

According to a NASA press release, the goal of “Toys in Space” is to encourage “students to pursue studies in science, technology and mathematics subjects, which are vitally important in sustaining U.S. economic competitiveness and technological leadership.”

NASA’s long-term goals seem a bit far-fetched. After all, NASA is trying to sustain the United States’ technological prowess with a toy. Still, I credit NASA for reaching out to young students with this new program. The “Toy Story” franchise made Pixar a household name, so it might successfully promote space exploration to elementary school students.

My one criticism of this project is that Buzz Lightyear may not be all that relevant to school kids today. “Toy Story” came out in 1995, and its sequel followed four years later. After nine years removed from a theater, do 10-year-olds still identify with Buzz Lightyear?


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. EduFunToys  |  November 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    I can certainly relate to your criticism. Buzz Lightyear is a bit “old school” for today’s kids. Not to mention that Toy Story was never the hit that say Star Wars, Pokemon or marvel comic characters received. Perhaps a space-exploration Transformer would have been more suitable?


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About the Blogger

My name is Ben Benson. I attend the University of Oregon. I will graduate next spring with a degree in public relations from the School of Journalism and Communication.
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