Michael J. Smith was the Captain of Space Shuttle Challenger. You can encourage your homeschooling family to get books from the Wilkes Public Library on NASA, Space and the Captain of the Challenger. You can read his bio on Wikipedia at : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_J._Smith_(astronaut) .
He was a North Carolina native and he was making an impact in NASA. He passed away and he was one of the best of North Carolina. Let your kids explore space and learn about the space programs. You can encourage your kids to learn about the MARS ONE program. You can learn about the program contemplating people leaving everything behind and moving to MARS at : http://www.mars-one.com/.
You can learn about the leaps of individuals like Michael J. Smith and modern individuals debating going to the final frontier of MARS.