Grants Awarded to Three Schools

For Immediate Release

HOUSTON, Texas, August 15, 2020 – The Summer 2020 application period for the Micro-G grant program ended on July 31st, and the Mars Initiative is announcing the latest round of recipients. The Mars Initiative started accepting applications for the summer quarter on July 1st, 2020, for two $200 grants to educators for purchase of educational materials for space-based science content. Several applications were submitted, and the Mars Initiative has decided to fund three of the applications. 

  • Shelly Grandell: Ken Carl Middle School, CO, for indoor plant growth equipment to help students participate in two space-based plant-growth projects, “Tomatosphere” and “Space Chili Grow a Pepper Plant Challenge.”
  • Linda Frantz: Northridge Elementary School, OK, for space exploration backpacks full of STEM books, materials, and activities that students and families can borrow, allowing them to learn about space at home.
  • Jessica Noffsinger: STEM Lab K-8, CO, for AstroReality Mars Pro, an augmented reality tool to allow students to more fully experience Mars.

“We were very impressed by the quality of the applications we received, and are confident all the grant awards will inspire future generations of leadership,” said April Lanotte, Director of the Micro-G program for The Mars Initiative. 

The Micro-G application is opened four times per year for educators who work in schools, museums, libraries, after school clubs, or any other venue where students can be exposed to content that fosters curiosity and learning about outer space and related sciences. The grants may be used for consumable or reusable materials. The Mars Initiative has received over $2,000 in donations earmarked for the Micro-G program and has an active team of three volunteers who promote, review, and distribute funds for the program. More information and the application form are available on the website at, or by email at [email protected]

Mars Initiative is a publicly-funded, international non-profit organization focused on creating the opportunity for individuals around the world to contribute to the advancement of space travel and inspiring a love of space in young people. We utilize crowdfunding to make it possible for all persons to have a hand in supporting the first successful crewed mission to the surface of Mars as well as provide resources to classrooms and youth organizations that inspire the next generation of Space Advocates. For more information see the website at