GAVRT Vision Statement:

Students team with scientists to conduct cutting edge research leading to discovery.  GAVRT excites K-12 students while accomplishing educational and scientific objectives.


  • A partnership involving NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and The Lewis Center for Educational Research (LCER) in Apple Valley, California.
  • An opportunity for students and teachers to join scientists on an interactive science/education team.
  • An opportunity for students and teachers to control a 34-meter radio telescope that, until recently, was part of NASA's Deep Space Network.
  • A K-12 Program which uses radio astronomy to introduce students to the process of science
    • The program currently supports grades K-12 curriculums.
    • The goal of GAVRT is to provide an opportunity for students to experience real science - to learn that science is an ongoing process, not just memorizing facts.
  • A unique opportunity that encourages students of all academic and social levels to experience discovery for themselves, in their classrooms, personally interacting with other students, scientists and educators via phone and Internet connections.

What GAVRT offers Teachers:

  • Teachers attend a 5-day training course where they learn the basics of radio astronomy, are taught how to control the telescope, and are given guidelines for use of the program curriculum.  A visit to Goldstone allows a first hand view of "their" antenna.
  • Teachers are provided a broad-based, multidisciplinary curriculum, which may be used as is, or individually adapted to fit their own classroom environment.
  • GAVRT curriculum is designed to meet National Science Standards.
  • Teachers receive on-going support and answers to questions via interactive website, email, and phone communication. 

What GAVRT offers Students:

  • Students recognize they are a part of a science education team.
  • Students have the opportunity to meet NASA / JPL scientists on teleconferences, posing questions as a valued team member.
  • Students learn the process of science - planning an experiment, collecting data, and working with an online data tool to analyze results.
  • Students, working in teams, experience the rewards of close collaboration and learn problem-solving techniques.
  • Students realize their research is valuable to the science/education team; they are contributing to a scientific body of knowledge.
  • GAVRT is intended for students of all academic and social levels in varied classrooms environments.
  • GAVRT allows students to take the responsibility for controlling a 34-meter 500-ton NASA antenna - this inspires and excites them.
  • Many teachers have noted improvements in student behavior and enthusiasm, not only for science, but for other subjects as well.
  • Data collected by students through use of the Radio Telescope are submitted to JPL for inclusion in the database of scientific knowledge used by scientists worldwide.  The students participate in Special Mission Projects and Campaigns with NASA scientists in undertaking studies of the solar system and beyond!

The role of NASA/JPL in GAVRT:

  • NASA/JPL provided initial reconfiguration of the DSS-12 antenna, software development to allow access and control from the LCER via the Internet, and to serve as science advisory.
  • NASA Maintains upkeep of the antenna and technical support of GAVRT.
  • JPL engineers maintain the receiving equipment and assist in the development of software which allows the connection between Mission Control at the Lewis Center in Apple Valley, the antenna at Goldstone in the Mojave Desert, and schools across the nation and world wide.
  • JPL Scientists are involved as leaders and advisors to the GAVRT Program, advising on curriculum content; taking part in teacher training, and offering support as needed.  Scientists on Special Mission Projects serve as the Primary Investigators in leading the partnership of scientists and students.

The role of the Lewis Center for Educational Research (LCER) in GAVRT:

  • LCER provides all curriculum development, teacher training, and operations of the GAVRT telescope.
  • LCER staff are responsible for curriculum development for the GAVRT Program.
  • LCER is responsible for the Global Programs Mission Control, which provides on-line assistance for teachers and students during the actual telescope "run".
  • LCER maintains on-going technical and curriculum support for teachers, both nationwide and worldwide, who stay with the program from year to year.
  •  LCER maintains all GAVRT communications including interactive website, email, and voice communications.