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NASA Education Express Message -- Nov. 13, 2014

Status Report From: NASA Education Office
Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2014

Space Shuttle Thermal Protective Tiles Available for Educational Use

NASA invites eligible U.S. educational institutions and museums to request space shuttle thermal protective tiles and other special items offered on a first-come, first-served basis while quantities last. Organizations previously allocated thermal protective tiles may request an additional three tiles.

There will be a nominal shipping fee that must be paid online with a credit card. To make a request for special items online, visit http://gsaxcess.gov/htm/nasa/userguide/Special_Item_Request_Procedure.pdf.

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to GSAXcessHelp@gsa.gov.

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Free Education Webinars From NASA Educator Professional Development

NASA Educator Professional Development is presenting a series of free webinars open to all educators. Join NASA education specialists to learn about activities, lesson plans, educator guides and resources to bring NASA into your classroom.

MAVEN: Red Planet -- Read, Write, Explore!
Audience: 
Pre-service and In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 3-5

Event Date: Nov. 13, 2014, at 5:30 p.m. EST
Participants will learn about the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, mission to study the atmosphere of Mars and will receive a set of educational activities called Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore! The resources include six standards-based science lessons incorporating reading, writing and art activities for grades 3-5.

NASA's New Horizon's Mission: Pluto up Close and Personal
Audience: 
Pre-service and In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 6-8

Event Date: Nov. 19, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. EST
Participants will explore the mystery of Pluto and will learn exciting ways to bring the fascination of Pluto into the classroom while also integrating the Next Generation Science Standards into curriculum.

For more information about these webinars and to register online, visit https://paragon-tec.adobeconnect.com/admin/show-event-catalog.

Questions about this series of webinars should be directed to Clarence Jones at Clarence.F.Jones@NASA.gov.

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2015 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowships

NASA is seeking applications from U.S. graduate students for the agency's Space Technology Research Fellowships. The research grants, worth as much as $74,000 per year, will coincide with the start of the 2015 fall academic term.

Applications will be accepted from students pursuing or planning to pursue master's or doctorate degrees in relevant space technology disciplines at accredited U.S. universities. The grants will sponsor U.S. graduate student researchers who show significant potential to contribute to NASA's strategic space technology objectives through their studies. To date, NASA has awarded grants to 247 student researchers from 79 universities located in 35 states and one U.S. territory.

Sponsored by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, the fellowships are improving America's technological competitiveness by providing the nation with a pipeline of innovative space technologies.

The deadline for submitting applications is Nov. 13, 2014.

For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/oemporz.

Please email any questions about this opportunity to hq-nstrf-call@mail.nasa.gov.

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National Science Foundation's East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Fellowship Program

The National Science Foundation, or NSF, is accepting applications for its East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes, or EAPSI, Fellowship Program. This program provides U.S. graduate students in science and engineering with an opportunity to spend eight weeks (10 weeks for Japan) during the summer conducting research at one of seven host locations in East Asia and the Pacific. Host locations are Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. The program is a collaboration between NSF and counterpart agencies in each host location.

EAPSI is open to graduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and are enrolled in a research-oriented master's or doctoral program in science or engineering. Applicants must propose a research project in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field supported by NSF. Applicants identify and contact host researchers on their own prior to submitting their EAPSI proposals. Lists of prospective host institutions are available at the opportunity website.

NSF provides EAPSI Fellows with a $5,000 stipend and roundtrip airplane ticket to the host location. The program's foreign counterparts provide in-country living expenses and accommodations (arrangements vary by host location). 

The application submission deadline for summer 2015 is Nov. 13, 2014.

For additional information about the program, including location-specific handbooks, a How to Apply guide and helpful tips for applicants, visit www.nsf.gov/eapsi.

Questions about this fellowship opportunity should be directed to oiia-ise-eapsi@nsf.gov.

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2015 NASA High-Altitude Student Platform Opportunity

NASA is accepting applications from students at U.S. colleges and universities who want to send experiments to the edge of space on a high-flying scientific balloon.

The annual NASA project provides near-space access for 12 undergraduate and graduate student experiments to be carried by a NASA high-altitude research balloon. The flights typically last 15 to 20 hours and reach an altitude of 23 miles. Experiments may include compact satellites or prototypes.

The experiments are flown aboard the High-Altitude Student Platform, or HASP, a balloon-born instrument stack launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility's remote site in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The goals of the project are to provide a space test platform to encourage student research and stimulate the development of student satellite payloads and other space-engineering products.

HASP seeks to enhance the technical skills and research abilities of students in critical science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. The project is a joint effort between NASA and the Louisiana Space Consortium. The Science Missions Directorate Astrophysics division manages the NASA scientific balloon program; Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia oversees Balloon Flight Operations.

A question-and-answer teleconference will take place on Nov. 14, 2014, at 11 a.m. EST. Groups who have previously flown experiments on HASP, as well as new organizations, are encouraged to attend. To participate, dial in to 1-866-717-2684 a few minutes prior to conference time. When requested, enter the conference ID number 6879021 followed by the # key.

The deadline for applications is Dec. 19, 2014.

For application information and technical details about the program, visit http://laspace.lsu.edu/hasp.

Questions about the High-Altitude Student Platform opportunity should be directed to T. Gregory Guzik at guzik@phunds.phys.lsu.edu.

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Student Spaceflight Experiments Program -- Mission 8 to the International Space Station

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, in partnership with NanoRacks LLC, announce an authentic science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, opportunity for school districts across the U.S. and space station partner nations. The newest flight opportunity, Mission 8 to the International Space Station, or ISS, gives students across a community the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low-Earth orbit on the ISS. This opportunity is part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, or SSEP.

Each participating community will receive a real microgravity research minilaboratory capable of supporting a single microgravity experiment and all launch services to fly the minilab to the space station in fall 2015 and return it to Earth. An experiment design competition in each community -- engaging typically 300+ students -- allows student teams to design and propose real experiments vying for their community′s reserved minilab. Content resources for teachers and students support foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design. Additional SSEP programming leverages the experiment design competition to engage the community, embracing a learning community model for STEM education.

This competition is open to students in grades 5-12 and college. Informal education groups and organizations are also encouraged to participate. Interested communities must inquire about the program no later than Nov. 15, 2014. The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education is available to help interested communities in the U.S. secure the needed funding.

To learn more about this opportunity, visit the SSEP Mission 8 to International Space Station National Announcement of Opportunity at http://ssep.ncesse.org/2014/10/new-flight-opportunity-for-school-districts-announcing-student-spaceflight-experiments-program-ssep-mission-8-to-the-international-space-station-starting-february-2015/

SSEP is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a national laboratory. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (http://www.iss-casis.org/) is a national partner on SSEP. To view a list of all SSEP national partners, visit http://ssep.ncesse.org/national-partners/.

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please email SSEP National Program Director Jeff Goldstein at jeffgoldstein@ncesse.org

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Virginia Space Grant Consortium's STEM Takes Flight Program

Virginia’s community college students pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, also known as STEM, fields have access to new scholarships, research experiences, internships and courses thanks to a two-year NASA grant to the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. Community College faculty in STEM fields will have access to professional development at NASA. 

The Consortium′s new program, STEM Takes Flight at Virginia′s Community Colleges, provides $5,000 mentored scholarships, paid industry internships, NASA research experiences and new courses to foster STEM career awareness and workplace skills. The goal is community college retention in STEM academic tracks through graduation with an associate′s degree or transfer to a four-year institution. 

Application deadlines are as early as Nov. 17, 2014.

For more information, visit www.vsgc.odu.edu/stemtakesflight

Please email any questions about this program to vsgc@odu.edu.

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Free Smithsonian's "STEM in 30" Webcast Series

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is presenting a series of free education webcast events called "STEM in 30." This new program consists of live, fast-paced 30-minute webcasts designed to increase interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, for students. To enhance the learning experience, students can get involved with the content through the interactive "Cover It Live" feature, including poll questions and classroom activities. The webcasts will be available live on the National Air and Space Museum website as well as on NASA TV, and will be archived for on-demand viewing.


Vacuum-Packed Space Food: It's What's for Dinner
Nov. 19, 2014, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST

From John Glenn's food in a tube to the shuttle astronauts' candy-coated chocolates, space food has come a long way. In this fast-paced webcast designed for students in sixth to eighth grades, students will learn about the history of space food, how food is prepared and packaged for space, and the changes in nutrition over time.

"STEM in 30" webcasts are online learning experiences, but are filmed in front of a live audience. If you are interested in bringing your school group to a live filming of "STEM in 30," please contact Myra Banks-Scott at banksscottm@si.edu.

For more information about the Smithsonian's "STEM in 30" Webcast Series, visit http://airandspace.si.edu/explore-and-learn/stem-in-30/.

Questions about this series should be directed to the visitor service line at 202-633-2214.

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NASA's ESTEEM "Ask US" Online Professional Development Series

NASA's Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, is sponsoring a series of Google Plus Hangout professional development events for K-12 educators. The Earth Systems, Technology and Energy Education for MUREP, or ESTEEM, team will lead the monthly sessions that will cover a variety of climate topics. This month's webinar topic is:

Change Over Time: Investigate Climate Change Impacts in the Southeast U.S. -- Nov. 20, 2014, at 4 p.m. EST
The National Climate Assessment, released in May of 2014, summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, touching on many disciplines: earth science, biology, human health, engineering, technology, economics and policy. Explore the document with Dr. Fred Lipschultz from the United States Global Change Research Project, and then learn about educator resources that will enable you to bring this topic into classroom lessons, engage students in data collection and analysis, and share visualizations and citizen science projects. The focus this month will be on the Southeast and Caribbean region. Watch for additional regions of the U.S. to be featured in upcoming “Ask US” sessions.

Certificates of professional development hours are available upon request. 

For more information on this event and upcoming webinar sessions, visit https://nice.larc.nasa.gov/asknice/. Questions about this series should be sent to Bonnie Murray at bonnie.murray@nasa.gov.

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Museum Alliance Webcast: Beyond Earth Orbit With the Orion Spacecraft

The Orion team invites home school families, museums and schools to participate in an interactive webcast featuring Lockheed Martin engineer Joe LeBlanc. In this interactive webcast on Nov. 20, 2014, at 4 p.m. EST, LeBlanc will broadcast live from the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. He will share NASA′s efforts in deep space exploration and the importance of Orion′s first flight.

You may view the webcast as an individual at your personal computer or set up audio visual equipment in your museum or school for a large group to participate.

LeBlanc will take questions from a live audience at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as from webcast viewers nationwide. Questions may be submitted before or during the event to jsc-orion-outreach@mail.nasa.gov.

To view the webcast, visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-jsc

To learn more about the upcoming Orion mission and to learn how you can plan an event to celebrate the launch, visit www.ExploreDeepSpace.com.

Additional Orion resources may be found at http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasaorion.

After the webcast, presentation materials will be posted on the Museum Alliance member site at https://informal.jpl.nasa.gov/museum/Conversations. A downloadable copy of the webcast and transcript will be posted a week or so later at the same location. Username and password are required to access the member site.

To learn how to become a Museum Alliance member, visit https://informal.jpl.nasa.gov/museum/About.

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Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program Accepting Applications for 2015-2016 Fellowship Year

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, or AEF, Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend 11 months working in a federal agency or U.S. congressional office, bringing their extensive classroom knowledge and experience to STEM education program and/or education policy efforts. Program applications are due Nov. 20, 2014, and must be submitted through an online application system. 

To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens who are currently employed full time in a U.S. public or private elementary or secondary school or school district, and must have been teaching full time in a public or private elementary or secondary school for at least five of the last seven years in a STEM discipline. 

Federal sponsors have included NASA, the Department of Energy, or DOE, the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The DOE sponsors up to four placements in U.S. congressional offices. 

The AEF Program is managed by the DOE Office of Science, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists, in collaboration with the Triangle Coalition for STEM Education and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.

Information about the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program, including eligibility requirements, program benefits, application requirements and access to the online application system can be found at http://science.energy.gov/wdts/einstein/.

Inquiries about the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program should be directed to sc.einstein@science.doe.gov.

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NASA's Balance Mass Challenge: Using "Dead Weight" on Mars Spacecraft to Advance Science and Technology

The Mars Balance Mass Challenge seeks design ideas for science and technology payloads that could potentially provide dual purpose as ejectable balance masses on spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere.

The payloads may serve two roles: perform scientific and/or technology functions that help us learn more about the Red Planet, and provide the necessary mass to balance planetary landers.

Submissions are due Nov. 21, 2014. All potential solvers submitting ideas must be 18 years of age or older. A winner will be announced in mid-January 2015 and receive an award of $20,000.

For more information about the challenge, visit https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933607.

The Mars Balance Mass Challenge is managed by NASA's Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation, or CoECI. CoECI was established in coordination with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to advance NASA's open innovation efforts and extend that expertise to other federal agencies. The challenges are being released on the NASA Innovation Pavilion, one of the CoECI platforms available to NASA team members, through its contract with InnoCentive Inc. Also please visit the new NASA Solve website to watch a video on the Mars Balance Mass challenge and to learn more about all NASA challenge and prize-based activities.

Questions about the contest series should be directed to NASA′s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation at nasa-coeci@mail.nasa.gov.

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NASA CubeSat Space Missions

NASA has opened the next round of its CubeSat Launch Initiative, part of the White House Maker Initiative, in an effort to engage the growing community of space enthusiasts that can contribute to NASA's space exploration goals.

The CubeSat Launch Initiative gives students, teachers and faculty a chance to get hands-on flight hardware development experience in the process of designing, building and operating small research satellites. It also provides a low-cost pathway to space for research in the areas of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations consistent with NASA's Strategic Plan.

Applicants must submit their proposals electronically by 4:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 25, 2014. NASA will select the payloads by Feb. 6, 2015, but selection does not guarantee a launch opportunity. Selected experiments are slated to be flown as auxiliary payloads on agency rocket launches or to be deployed from the International Space Station beginning in 2015 and running through 2018. NASA does not provide funding for the development of the small satellites, and this opportunity is open only to U.S. nonprofit organizations and accredited educational organizations.

One goal of the CubeSat Launch Initiative is to extend the successes of space exploration to all 50 states by launching a small satellite from at least one participant in each state in the next five years. During this round, NASA is particularly focused on gaining participation in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 21 states not previously selected for the CubeSat Launch Initiative. These states are: Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

CubeSats are in a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The base CubeSat dimensions are about 4 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches (10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 11 centimeters), which equals one "cube," or 1U. CubeSats supported by this launch effort include volumes of 1U, 2U, 3U and 6U. CubeSats of 1U, 2U and 3U size typically have a mass of about three pounds (1.33 kilograms) per 1U Cube. A 6U CubeSat typically has a mass of about 26.5 pounds (12 kilograms). The CubeSat's final mass depends on which deployment method is selected.

To date, NASA has selected 114 CubeSats from 29 states, 17 of which have already been launched. Nine more CubeSats are scheduled to go into space in the next 12 months.

For additional information about NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative program, visit http://www.nasa.gov/cubesats.

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Jason Crusan at Jason.Crusan@nasa.gov

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Louisiana Tech University Online Course -- Steps to STEM: NASA Education Resources for STEM Engagement


Louisiana Tech University is teaming up with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to offer a 10-week course for educators interested in putting a space-themed twist on learning. The course is designed to be a self-paced, online professional development experience focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education resources available from NASA. These resources have application methods for use in grades 4-9 classrooms with the goal of advancing high quality STEM education utilizing NASA's unique capabilities.

Applications are due Nov. 30, 2014

For more information and to enroll in the course, visit http://education.latech.edu/departments/science_technology_education_center/opeo.php.

Requests for a course syllabus and additional course information, and questions about the course should be directed to Amy McDowell at amy.mcdowell@nasa.gov.

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: 2014 Humans in Space Art Video Challenge

The Humans in Space Art Program and NASA's International Space Station Program have teamed up to launch the international Humans in Space Art Challenge. How will humans use space science and technology to benefit humanity? College students and early career professionals are invited to ponder this question and to express an answer creatively in a video less than three minutes long. Video artwork can be of any style, featuring original animation, sketches, music, live action drama, poetry, dance, Rube Goldberg machines, apps, etc. Younger students may also participate, but all artwork will be judged in one age category.

Individuals or teams of participants should include one clear reference to the International Space Station in their videos and may use space station footage if desired.

An interdisciplinary team of space representatives and art experts will evaluate the videos. NASA and the Humans in Space Art program will make the highest scoring artwork visible worldwide through online and local touring events. NASA will also take the winning video on a trip into orbit on the International Space Station and provide montages with flown patches for winners.

The deadline for submissions has been extended. All submissions must be received by Nov. 30, 2014.

For additional information and a complete list of guidelines, visit http://www.lpi.usra.edu/humansinspaceart/challenge/

Inquiries about this opportunity should be directed to humansinspaceart@lpi.usra.edu.

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Beautiful Earth Program Presents: Bella Gaia, a Multimedia Performance

NASA's Beautiful Earth Program invites educators and students to take part in a musical and visual tour of Earth from space on Dec. 1, 2014, at 1 p.m. EST. During this one-hour event, composer and musician Kenji Williams will perform Bella Gaia, a multimedia experience that incorporates music and NASA imagery. Following the performance, scientist Dr. Dalia Kirschbaum from NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission will lead a discussion on extreme weather science. During the discussion, students and teachers from across the country are invited to ask questions on the theme of extreme weather. (There are only six slots available for schools to interact live.) 

Other participants can view and interact with the program via webcast. 

For more information and to register to attend, visit http://beautifulearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/Events/.

Questions about this event should be directed to vcasa@umbc.edu.

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Free Smithsonian's Stars Lecture Series

Curious about icy bodies in the outer reaches of our solar system, the effects of space junk on deep-space observation, the latest discoveries about the origins of the universe and new ways galaxy formation is mapped? Come to the Smithsonian's Stars Lecture Series presented by Smithsonian researchers who are exploring the sun, the moon, planets, stars, galaxies and the universe. These speakers will share behind-the-scenes details about how their research is done and about technologies that advance new discoveries. The lectures will be held at the Albert Einstein Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.


Each lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. EST and is followed by a Q&A session. Stay after the lecture to visit the museum's observatory, weather permitting.

Dec. 6, 2014 -- Rubble Trouble: How Space Junk Impacts Astronomy
The incredible information and images gathered using space telescopes have revolutionized what we know about the cosmos. Could space junk hinder future findings? Research associate Lisa Rand will discuss this question and the impact space junk has on astronomy.


Jan. 24, 2015 -- Observing the Origin of the Universe From the South Pole
After three years of observing from the South Pole, scientists may have found confirmation that the universe underwent a burst of inflationary growth at the time of the Big Bang. Cosmologist Colin Bischoff will discuss these findings as well as the excitement of astronomy from Antarctica.


Feb. 21, 2015 -- Tracing the Structure of the Universe With Galaxy Surveys
Studies of galaxy formation and cosmology have exploded in recent years due to the immense data obtained from large galaxy surveys. Postdoctoral fellow Cameron McBride will discuss how observational data and theory are combined to better understand fundamental questions in our universe, and will highlight some exciting results from ongoing research.

For more information about the Smithsonian's Stars Lecture Series, visit http://airandspace.si.edu/events/lectures/smithsonian-stars/.


Questions about this lecture series should be directed to the visitor service line at 202-633-2214.

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Host a Real-Time Conversation With Crew Members Aboard the International Space Station

ARISS-US is now accepting proposals from U.S. schools, museums, science centers and community youth organizations to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, contact between May 1 - Dec. 31, 2015. To maximize these radio contact opportunities, ARISS-US is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan. Proposals are due Dec. 15, 2014.

Using amateur radio, students can ask astronauts questions about life in space and other space-related topics. Students fully engage in the ARISS contact by helping set up an amateur radio ground station at the school and then using that station to talk directly with a crew member on the International Space Station for approximately 10 minutes. ARISS provides experienced mentors and relies on local amateur radio volunteers to help organizations obtain the technology required to host this once in a lifetime opportunity for students.


Interested parties should visit http://www.arrl.org/hosting-an-ariss-contact to obtain complete information including how the technology works, what is expected of the host organization and how to submit the proposal form.

Questions about this opportunity should be emailed to ariss@arrl.org.

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Future Engineers 3-D Printing in Space: Design a Space Tool Challenge

NASA, in conjunction with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation, has issued a series of Future Engineers 3-D Space Challenges for students focused on solving real-world space exploration problems. Students will become the creators and innovators of tomorrow by using 3-D modeling software to submit their designs. Multiple prizes are available, but the grand prize winner will have the opportunity for his or her design to be printed on the first 3-D printer aboard the International Space Station while watching from NASA′s Payload Operations Center with the mission control team.

The Design a Space Tool Challenge is the first in series of challenges where students in grades K-12 will create and submit a digital 3-D model of a tool that they think astronauts might need in space. Future Engineers is a multiyear education initiative that consists of 3-D space challenges and curriculum videos on the site that parents and educators can use to get kids designing today. 

Entries must be submitted by Dec. 15, 2014.

For more information about the challenge and to watch an introductory video from astronaut Doug Wheelock, visit http://www.nasa.gov/content/printing-challenges-for-the-first-3d-printer-aboard-the-international-space-station/.

If you have any questions about the Design a Space Tool Challenge, please email info@futureengineers.org.

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2015 NASA and Worcester Polytechnic Institute Sample Return Robot Challenge


NASA and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, are seeking teams to compete in a robot technology demonstration competition with a potential $1.5 million prize purse. 

During the Sample Return Robot Challenge, teams will compete to demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologic samples from a wide and varied terrain without human control. The objective of the competition is to encourage innovations in automatic navigation and robotic manipulator technologies. Innovations stemming from this challenge may improve NASA's capability to explore a variety of destinations in space, as well as enhance the nation's robotic technology for use in industries and applications on Earth. 

The competition is planned for June 8-13, 2015, in Worcester, and is anticipated to attract hundreds of competitors from industry and academia nationwide. 

Registration is open until Jan. 6, 2015.

For more information about the Sample Return Robot Challenge and to register online for the competition, visit http://challenge.wpi.edu.

The Centennial Challenges program is part of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. For more information about NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, visithttp://www.nasa.gov/spacetech.

Questions about the Sample Return Robot Challenge should be sent to challenge@wpi.edu.

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2014-2015 NASA Goddard OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Challenge


NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is launching the 2014-2015 TRANSFORMERS OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Challenge, hosted by the Innovative Technology Partnerships Office. The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness of NASA's Technology Transfer Program and to inspire interest in all NASA missions, programs and projects.

This year the scope of the contest is being expanded to include two challenges. In the first challenge, students in grades 3-12 are asked to submit a video describing their favorite NASA Goddard spinoff. In a new twist, participants in this year′s contest must also use the engineering design process to develop and propose a new spinoff application of their own for the technology. Spinoffs are technologies originally created for space and modified into everyday products used on Earth. Examples include memory foam, invisible braces and scratch-resistant lenses for eyeglasses.

The second challenge, the TRANSFORMERS OPTIMUS PRIME InWorld Challenge, offers students in grades 6-12 an opportunity to take their video spinoff ideas to another level. Interested teams must study James Webb Space Telescope spinoff technology and post their completed spinoff videos for review by college engineering students. Engineering college mentors will select 20 teams to continue the collaborative design process within a multiuser virtual world to build a 3-D model of the team′s design solutions.

Winning students from each grade category will be invited to Goddard to participate in a behind-the-scenes workshop, attend a VIP awards ceremony and meet actor Peter Cullen, the voice of OPTIMUS PRIME.

The deadline to register and upload videos is Jan. 12, 2015.

For more information, visit http://itpo.gsfc.nasa.gov/optimus/.

Questions about this contest should be directed to Darryl Mitchell at Darryl.R.Mitchell@nasa.gov.

TRANSFORMERS and OPTIMUS PRIME are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2014 Hasbro. All rights reserved.

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National Science Foundation's Community College Innovation Challenge

The National Science Foundation's Community College Innovation Challenge is underway and seeking teams to propose innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, -based solutions for real-world problems. Teams must comprise community college students, a faculty mentor and a community or industry partner. 

Challenge entries consist of two components: a written entry and a video entry. Each team's entry must address one of the five themes outlined by the National Science Foundation. This year's themes are Big Data, Infrastructure Security, Sustainability, Broadening Participation in STEM and Improving STEM Education. 

Finalist teams will be invited to attend an Innovation Boot Camp, a professional development workshop on innovation and entrepreneurship. 

The entry submission deadline is Jan. 15, 2015.

For additional information about the challenge, visit http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/communitycollege/.

Questions about this challenge should be directed to InnovationChallenge@nsf.gov

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2015 Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award

Do you know K-12 teachers or district-level administrators who are making a difference in education through the use of technology? Recognize their achievements by nominating them for the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, in partnership with NASA and the Space Foundation, will recognize the accomplishments of one outstanding individual and his or her contributions to lifelong learning through the application of technology in the classroom or in the professional development of teachers.


Technology personnel and K-12 classroom teachers who have demonstrated exemplary use of technology to enhance learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, are eligible for this award. School principals, superintendents or associate superintendents may nominate eligible candidates. The award will be presented in April 2015 at the Space Foundation's 31st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The deadline for applications is Jan. 16, 2015.

Applications and more information are available online at http://www.astronautsmemorial.org/alan-shepard-award.html . 

Questions about this award should be directed to amfreg@amfcse.org.

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2015 NOAA Undergraduate Scholarship

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is accepting applications for its 2015 Educational Partnership Program, or EPP, Undergraduate Scholarship Program. The EPP Undergraduate Scholarship Program provides scholarships for two years of undergraduate study to rising junior undergraduate students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields that directly support NOAA's mission. 

Participants receive total awards valued at up to $35,000 in total support during their junior and senior years. During the first summer, scholars complete a nine-week paid summer internship at NOAA in Silver Spring, Maryland. During the second summer, scholars complete paid internships at NOAA facilities across the country. A stipend and housing allowance is provided. At the end of both summer internships, students present the results of their projects at an education and science symposium in Silver Spring. 

Students attending an accredited Minority Serving Institution within the United States or U.S. Territories as defined by the U.S. Department of Education (Hispanic Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaskan-Native Serving Institutions, and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions) are eligible to apply for the program. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must earn and maintain a minimum 3.2 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

Applications are due Jan. 30, 2015.

For more information and to submit an online application, visit http://www.epp.noaa.gov/ssp_undergrad_page.html

Questions about this scholarship opportunity should be directed to EPP.USP@noaa.gov.

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2015 NASA Student Airborne Research Program


The NASA Airborne Science Program invites highly motivated undergraduate students currently in their junior year to apply for the NASA Student Airborne Research Program, also known as SARP 2015. The program provides students with hands-on research experience in all aspects of a major scientific campaign, from detailed planning on how to achieve mission objectives to formal presentation of results and conclusions to peers and others. Students will assist in the operation of airborne instruments aboard the NASA DC-8 aircraft.

The program takes place in summer 2015. Instrument and flight preparations, and the research flights themselves, will occur at NASA′s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California. Post-flight data analysis and interpretation will take place at the University of California, Irvine. 

Successful applicants will be awarded a stipend plus a travel and meals allowance for eight weeks of participation in the program. Housing and local transportation will also be provided.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 5, 2015.

For more information and to download the program application, visit http://www.nserc.und.edu/sarp/sarp-2015.

Specific questions about the program should be directed to SARP2015@nserc.und.edu.

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