NASA Inspires at 2024 ESSENCE Fest in New Orleans

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NASA Inspires at 2024 ESSENCE Fest in New Orleans


NASA joined the self-designated “party with a purpose” to let participants in the 30th ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans know there is space for everybody at the space agency.

NASA representatives from the agency’s Headquarters in Washington participated in a panel conversation about Black women in the aerospace industry and diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). NASA Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator for the Moon to Mars Program Office Lakiesha Hawkins and NASA Director of Engagement Aya Collins spoke to fest participants during the Take Up Space (Literally) presentation on July 5.

On both July 5-6, representatives from NASA Headquarters and NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, also hosted an informational/interactive booth at the Audubon Aquarium near the festival meeting site. The representatives shared about NASA’s Artemis campaign, and NASA Stennis’ role as America’s largest rocket propulsion test site. With the Artemis campaign, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.

NASA representatives at the Audubon Aquarium provided attendees with memorabilia and an immersive experience to the International Space Station, which serves as the world’s leading space laboratory. Astronauts aboard the space station are conducting cutting-edge research and technology development to support human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low Earth orbit, including the Moon and Mars.

The annual ESSENCE Fest attracts hundreds of thousands of people to New Orleans during the Fourth of July weekend to celebrate the Black community. The NASA outreach and engagement effort continues the agency’s commitment to advance equity and reach deeper into underrepresented and underserved segments of society as NASA explores the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all.

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