Salt Lake City – April 16, 2020 – The Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) is hosting a free live Q&A session with astronaut Scott Kelly on Research Quest Live on Friday, April 24 at 9:30 a.m. MDT. Kelly will give students his expert advice on how they can still achieve their goals while schools are closed. Kelly will also field participant questions and offer lessons he’s learned on how best to maintain motivation in isolation, how to remain productive in difficult times, and how to keep curiosity alive for lifelong learning.

“After spending a year in space, Scott’s background makes him an expert on the topics of how to work, learn and live in isolation, and we couldn’t be more excited for him to share his knowledge and personal experiences with our Research Quest participants,” said Jason Cryan, Executive Director of NHMU. “It’s so important to maintain our kids’ curiosity for learning in a time where schools are closed and most learning is taking place virtually at home. Scott will be able to provide key insight and motivation for these students.” 

Kelly is the record holder for the single-longest space flight mission of 340 days, and has traveled more than 200 million miles and orbited Earth more than 8,300 times. He was recognized at the 2015 State of the Union Address by United States President Barack Obama. 

“The Natural History Museum of Utah’s Research Quest program is a great learning tool for teachers, parents and students from around the world to engage in scientific research designed to promote critical thinking,” said Kelly. “I am looking forward to inspiring students as they cope with social distancing while continuing to build their critical thinking skills and passion for learning.”

What started out as a tool for teachers inside the classroom, Research Quest quickly transformed into a full-service platform that allows teachers, parents and students easy access to online science classes to use at home during times where much of K12 learning is taking place virtually. With the introduction of Research Quest Live on March 17, 2020, students from around the world are tuning in to fun, interactive, and – most importantly – educational programs that stimulate key critical thinking skills for middle school-aged children. 

Led by science educators and featuring scientists who are experts in their field, students learn and participate in a variety of real-life scientific research questions across various fields such as paleontology, biodiversity, ecology and more. Each weekday the museum hosts live classes at 9:30 a.m. MDT. Students who are unable to tune in to the live sessions can access them through the on-demand classes. In all, Research Quest has seen a notable reach across the globe, with data showing usage in 56 countries, 1,175 cities world-wide, all 50 U.S. states and in 962 U.S. cities. 

To learn more and sign up for Research Quest Live, go here.


About the Natural History Museum of Utah: 
The Natural History Museum of Utah is one of the leading scientific research and cultural institutions in the country. Established in 1963, the Museum’s collections contain over 1.6 million objects and offers innovative exhibitions and educational programs to thousands of residents and visitors each year, including traveling and permanent exhibits, special events and other programs. With an expected attendance of 300,000 visitors a year, the Museum also offers a variety of outreach programs to communities and schools throughout Utah, reaching every school district in the state annually. The Museum has an active science program with more than 30 scientists and 10 field exhibitions each year.

About Research Quest: 
First envisioned in 2014 by a coalition of teachers and learning specialists, as well as scientific and digital experts, and made possible with the invaluable support of generous funders, the first Research Quest module, consisting of three investigations, debuted in Utah schools in January of 2016. Since then, 500 teachers and their students have logged in more than 140,000 times and have used the resource in their classrooms to help meet a range of education standards including advance critical thinking. 

Research Quest is made possible with generous support from the Joseph and Evelyn Rosenblatt Charitable Fund and the IJ and Jeanné Wagner Foundation. Their ongoing support, combined with a generous grant from the Utah Department of Workforce Services’ Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership program, funding from the Utah State Legislature’s Informal Science Education Enhancement program, and a grant from the National Science Foundation, has allowed Research Quest to become a valued teaching resource for teachers and students throughout Utah and in states nationwide.

About Scott Kelly: 
Scott Kelly is a retired American astronaut and United States Navy Captain, U.S. spaceflight record holder and an experienced test pilot having logged more than 15,000 hours of flight time in more than 40 different aircraft and spacecraft. A former fighter pilot, Kelly flew the F-14 Tomcat aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Kelly was selected by NASA as an astronaut in 1996. A veteran of four space flights, he piloted Space Shuttle Discovery to the Hubble space telescope in 1999 and, subsequently, commanded Space Shuttle Endeavor on a mission to the International Space Station in 2007. His long-duration space flight experience includes two flights on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, launching and landing from Kazakhstan and two stays aboard the International Space Station as commander, the first a 159-day mission in 2010-2011 followed by his recorded-breaking 340-day mission to the ISS in 2015. During his yearlong mission, known worldwide as the “Year In Space,” he conducted three spacewalks before returning home in March 2016. Kelly has traveled more than 200 million miles, which is more than twice the distance to the sun and has orbited the earth more than 8,300 times. 

For press inquiries, please contact: 
Berk Communications
Lea Komitzky  

Natural History Museum of Utah
Beth Mitchell