Thank you, Bill [Phelps].
And thanks to all of you for joining us for this year’s USA Science and Engineering Festival.
This event is a wonderful opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, innovators and inventors – the people who are critical to the future of our company and our nation.
That’s why today, I want to start by speaking with the students in the crowd. When I was a teenager one moment inspired my generation to think about what could be within our reach. It was the first “must-see TV” I can remember. Let’s take a look.
It was an electrifying moment to watch as it unfolded. Around the globe, day or night more than half a billion people huddled around televisions as Neil Armstrong, "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins took that giant leap. The whole world saw this historic event at the exact same moment all eyes focused upon the exact same place.
Imagine nearly 5 times the number of people who watched the Super Bowl this year.
More than 15 times the number of people who watched the Oscars. More viewers in one moment than Taylor Swift had in the entire month of March on YouTube.
The possibility of a man walking on the moon captivated our world because, frankly, it seemed impossible. Unattainable. Something that could happen only in our dreams.
Yet, through hard work and innovative technologies, it was happening. Three human beings made it through space, landed on the moon, explored its surface and returned safely to Earth.
For those of us nestled safely in the comfort of home we wanted to know what those brave explorers saw what they heard what they felt.
We longed to learn how their courage and curiosity would help our world and make us stronger, smarter, safer. The moment brought together the entire scientific community in a spirit of shared discovery. It brought together the entire nation in a spirit of pride. And it brought together the entire world in a spirit of human achievement.
At Lockheed Martin we’re committed to making similar memories for our children’s generation. We’re a company that makes space travel possible. A company that is propelling the human race to unlock the mysteries of the Universe. A company that is paving the way for another “giant leap” in space travel this time into deep space to the surface of Mars.
We know how to do it. Lockheed Martin has been involved in every single U.S. space mission. We’ve helped NASA explore the surface of another planet with the Mars Rover program; peer into the deep space around Pluto with the New Horizons spacecraft; and every launch in between.
And now, we’re helping NASA prepare for its first manned trip to Mars. It won’t be an easy journey. There are many hurdles still to overcome in the exploration of deep space.
Yet, we know that they can be made easier by applying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics the critical STEM fields that are the key to innovation. However, to ensure all of you are ready to tackle the challenges of the future we need to re-double our focus on STEM education.
That’s why I’m here today and why Lockheed Martin proudly sponsors the USA Science and Engineering Festival. Our goal is to inspire everyone students, parents, teachers and leaders to step up our commitment to STEM education and help nurture the scientists, engineers, and space explorers of tomorrow.
Progress is being made. However, there’s so much more to be done to address where America is falling short.
Consider these facts:
- Last year, only 40 percent of fourth-grade students, and one-third of eighth-grade students were rated proficient or higher in math.
- Between 2013 and 2015, fourth-grade math scores increased in just three states and decreased in 16 states.
- And, eighth-grade math scores decreased over the same time period in 22 states.
We can do better than this. And if we want to push the frontier of deep space as fast and as far as we know we can we must do better.
Strengthening STEM education can also help our economy and that’s important, too. The average salary for STEM jobs is over $85,000 dollars – nearly double the average for all jobs taken together. STEM jobs are growing so fast that economists project there could be 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs by 2018.
And listen to this – STEM degree holders earn higher wages, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM jobs.
For us to successfully design, build, and navigate deep space missions, we must have a highly-skilled workforce that can get the job done. At Lockheed Martin, we believe the best way to ensure we have the pipeline of future talent we need – as a company and as a nation – is to inspire young people.
That means showing them what’s possible with a STEM education and career. We know that space, in particular, has the power to inspire a new generation of STEM talent. And it’s never too early to plant that seed.
That’s why Lockheed Martin has invested so much in STEM programs for years. Over the past five years we’ve given almost $70 million dollars to support STEM programs. And our employees have volunteered 650,000 hours in support of STEM activities. Last year alone, we contributed about $13 million dollars to STEM education.
We know there is even more we need to do. And that’s precisely why we are stepping up our game.
Today I’m very proud and excited to announce the launch of Generation Beyond, Lockheed Martin’s latest commitment to STEM education. We’re creating engaging new tools to inspire kids to pursue STEM today, so they can become the innovators and perhaps even the space explorers of tomorrow.
We also want to motivate teachers and parents to support STEM education and careers for young people. Generation Beyond focuses on the exploration of deep space. It’s a dream that has inspired people for generations and continues to light up our imaginations today.
The core component of our initiative is an on-line curriculum. It’s aimed at middle school teachers and students who want to learn about deep space exploration, including missions to Mars. The curriculum will be shared with middle schools across the country reaching thousands of students.
Naturally, we’ve developed a Smart-phone App for the program. The app allows users to locate Mars in the sky, travel there virtually, and even pull up a weather report about conditions on the surface.
We’ve also re-designed a school bus to allow kids to take a virtual trip to Mars, using video game technology. The Lockheed Martin Mars Experience bus is the first immersive virtual reality vehicle ever built.
At first, it appears to be just any old school bus. Yet once the ride begins, the windows change to reveal a moving Martian landscape. Riders will feel like they are moving across Mars. They’ll see a Mars Rover at work, experience a Martian dust storm, even hear from an astronaut working on the surface of Mars.
We’ve created a virtual space that represents 200 square miles of the Martian surface, built with the same software used in today’s most advanced video games.
In fact, a number of kids from our Girls Inc. and 4-H partnerships rode over here today on the “Mars Experience” Bus. Let’s take a quick look at their ride.
The bus will be on display in our exhibit stand over the weekend – so, be sure to come back for that experience. And after the festival, the bus will travel around the country supporting STEM education activities – starting with a series of outreach events in Denver, Colorado.
Generation Beyond is a continuation of our long-standing commitment to STEM education. And it’s a commitment that we believe will make a real and lasting difference. None of what Lockheed Martin is doing to support STEM education would be possible without the help and support of our many partners.
And I’d like to recognize a few who are here today:
- Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO, National 4-H Council;
- Denese Lombardi, Executive Director, Girls Inc. of the Washington DC Metro Area; and
- Marc Schulman, Executive Director of the USA Science and Engineering Festival.
Thank you for all you do for our students.
I’d also like to recognize our partners at NASA, who we are honored to support in their mission to pioneer exploration, discovery and research. Joining us today is Dr. Roosevelt Johnson, NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Education. Thank you for what you do for our nation.
I’m also honored to be joined by a group Lockheed Martin employees who have volunteered a significant amount of their time to working on STEM activities – including those from across the Washington Area who have volunteered to staff our booth throughout the weekend. Thanks to all of you for being role models within our organization. Your dedication to help us move forward means so much, and I’m proud of the work you are doing to inspire the future.
Let me close now with a question for the young men and women who rode here in the Mars Experience Bus. Please raise your hand if you want to go to Mars someday?
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the generation that will walk on Mars, that will explore deep space, and that will unlock mysteries we can’t even yet imagine. This is the generation that will build the future – here on Earth and out in the universe.
We must prepare them. We must inspire them to learn. We must equip them with the tools and the knowledge to be the innovators and explorers we know they can be.
Let’s make that commitment together! Thank you all again for being here, and, for everything you do to make our future brighter!
Thanks again for joining us today. The Lockheed Martin booth is now officially open.
Welcome to Mars!
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