The Science Museum of Minnesota has been chosen by NASA to lead a new educational effort based on the space agency's research.
The $14.5 million contract will allow Science Museum staff to create new interactive exhibits, activities and videos for museums and educators across the country.
Paul Martin, the museum's senior vice president for science learning, said they plan to build 1,000 educational kits that will be sent to museums and other facilities across the country.
The museum will be able to draw on the knowledge of NASA scientists and some of their data in the creation of the new resources.
"NASA has just got this incredible wealth of data," Martin said. "They've got all this research. What they've asked us to do is help them make sense of that ... so that people can see some things relevant to their lives and do some hands-on activities and really learn by doing."
Some of the finished kits will be distributed in nine months or so, Martin said. But visitors to the Science Museum could see some prototypes pop up on the museum floor in coming months.
The completed exhibits will be delivered in 2018. Martin estimated that between 5 and 10 million people could see the exhibits each year.
The new project is a collaboration with Arizona State University, the Museum of Science in Boston, and the University of California's science and space laboratory.
"We are excited to partner with NASA and our sister institutions to create a national learning resource," Science Museum of Minnesota President Alison Rempel Brown said in a statement. "NASA's programs are exciting and critical to our nation's future for space exploration and scientific learning."
The project coincides with the official launch of the National Informal Stem Education Network, which includes about 600 museums, research centers and professional organizations across the country.