From the dawn of consciousness, humans have looked up and wondered about what the universe holds. It is that sense of wonder and thirst for knowledge that astronomy has helped fuel. In this paper we look at how education and public outreach has been a major element in preparing the next generation of astronomers and in sharing with the public the excitement of discoveries we make when we explore the Universe. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a clear set of goals and objectives related to education and public outreach. These goals follow directly from NASA's mission “to inspire the next generation of explorers”. Making progress towards achieving these goals has become an important part of the broad justification for public support of space science. Here we will describe a number of education and public outreach initiatives that are examples of the plethora of NASA funded programs and resources.
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