While this news will not hit the radars of folks tuned to Groupon acquisitions and Facebook IPOs – I think this is a really good investment…
NASA is providing up to $20 million over the next five years to support a national program to inspire student interest in science, technology and mathematics with a focus on robotic technology.
The funding is part of a cooperative agreement with the Foundation For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a nonprofit organization in Manchester, N.H. FIRST provides students the opportunity to engage with government, industry and university experts for hands-on, realistic exposure to engineering and technical professions.
“This is the largest NASA-funded student program geared toward robotics activities,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “For the next five years, approximately 25,000 students across the country will not only learn from our nation’s best and brightest, but also compete and have fun at the same time.”
My only suggestion is that I’d like to see FIRST adopt open source hardware and public / private wikis – there’s a lot of information sharing that could be happening (more) across the country and that too could be share with a larger group outside the world of FIRST. There are some efforts to make this happen that I’ve seen, so perhaps with this funding we’ll see more of it soon!