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Nurturing ‘love of science’: NASA astronomer hopes to inspire kids with role on series

“Ready Jet Go!” is an animated series that focuses on science. (Courtesy of Wind Dancer Films)

Amy Mainzer fell in love with science as a child.

It’s that love that led her to become a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, California.

The astronomer jumps at any chance to get involved with inspiring children to follow science as a career.

Amy Mainzer

That’s why she appears on the PBS series “Ready Jet Go!,” which premieres at 7 a.m. Monday, July 8, on New Mexico PBS.

“This show is such an important tool, to break down some stereotypes about science,” she says. “It’s a joyful and fun experience, to be able to solve problems and help people. In my experience, it’s a process of working together with a team.”

In the one-hour special, Jet and the gang have a fun night planned with a sleepover in Jet’s backyard, minigolf, and stargazing – after all, it’s the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

When Jet reveals that he’s built a brand-new super saucer that can take all the kids (and Sunspot) to the moon, they have to test it out.

After a rough landing, the kids realize that a part of the saucer is broken. With Celery and Carrot’s permission, they decide to have their sleepover on the moon, but after falling asleep they notice Jet and Sunspot have disappeared.

Sydney stays behind to work on the saucer while Sean and Mindy venture out to find their friends.

Mainzer served as the show’s science curriculum consultant, and she stars in the series’ very cool informative live-action segments.

“We have to respect kids, because they can make some prominent decisions,” she says. “By working on the show, I’m helping keep the love of science alive. I’m letting them know there is a place.”