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Girl Scouts reach for stars with NASA space merit badges

The Girl Scouts look beyond Earth with a set of new astronomy merit badges developed with NASA and the SETI Institute.

New Girl Scouts merit badges will encourage kids to study space science.

Girl Scouts of the USA

If you're a Girl Scout, you can currently earn merit badges for designing robots, developing your skills as a home scientist, studying the sky or becoming a computer expert. Soon, you'll be able to shoot for the stars. The organization Girl Scouts of the USA has partnered with NASA and the SETI Institute to develop a series of space-science badges.

The program is called "Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts." It will encompass six badges covering astrophysics, planetary science and heliophysics (the study of the sun). Ninety Girl Scout councils across the US already received kits designed to promote space science and eclipse studies. 

The Girl Scouts organization hopes the new badges will help encourage girls to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering and math. 

The SETI Institute's Director of Education Edna DeVore says many female astronauts in the US are Girt Scout alumnae. DeVore expects the new program to help build "the next generation of women leaders in STEM that we so desperately need." 

The Girl Scouts announced details of the space-science program on Thursday. It will be open to all levels of participants and will include badges ranging from Space Science Explorer for younger girls to Space Science Expert for older, more advanced scouts. The badges will be implemented by 2019.