Mather won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2006 for his groundbreaking astrophysics research using NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer satellite. And Sellers is one of the six NASA astronauts who flew on STS-132, Atlantis' last planned mission. During the white-glove hand-off – necessary to preserve the integrity of the artifact – it was noted that this was the first time a Nobel Prize medal (or a replica) had flown in space. The medal is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.
The STS-132 crew give a presentation at the National Air and Space Museum.
Following the medal presentation, the crowd of about 300 that had gathered in the museum's Moving Beyond Earth gallery was treated to a special event. The entire STS-132 crew shared with the audience their experiences during their flight to the International Space Station. After showing the audience a 10-minute video of mission highlights, Commander Ken Ham and his five crewmates answered questions from the audience. The crowd included about 50 middle school students participating in NASA's Summer of Innovation program at the University of the District of Columbia. The Summer of Innovation initiative strives to keep students engaged in science, technology, engineering and math activities during their summer break from classroom studies. You can learn more here: http://www.nasa.gov/soi. The astronauts’ advice to students: Pursue something that is a personal passion and then study hard, particularly science and math. With hard work and dedication, anything is possible.