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NASA Education Express Message -- Dec. 30, 2014

Status Report From: NASA Education Office
Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 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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2014-2015 FIRST Robotic Competitions

The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to create a robot designed to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe. Teams experience the entire engineering life cycle while building robots to compete in games that change every year. FIRST Robotics Competition teams are composed of high school students, with professional engineers acting as mentors. Additional FIRST programs are available for students of ages 6-18.

FIRST is a national organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen in Manchester, New Hampshire, to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technical fields.

The FRC Kickoff, the official start of the FIRST Robotics Competition design-and-build season, is set for Jan. 3, 2015. Teams have the opportunity to meet at local kickoff events to compare notes, get ideas, make friends, find mentoring teams, learn the game, pick up the Kit of Parts and get geared up for the exciting competition season. To find kickoff events in your area, visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/kickoff.

For more information about FIRST Robotics and to register your team to participate, visit http://www.usfirst.org/.

Questions about FIRST Robotics should be submitted via http://www.usfirst.org/contactform.

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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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2015 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge


NASA has opened team registration for the 2015 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. Organized by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the event will be held April 16-18, 2015, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, also in Huntsville.

The challenge engages high school, college and university students in hands-on, experiential learning activities, while also testing potential technologies needed for future deep space exploration. Both U.S. and international teams may register to participate. For U.S. teams, registration closesFeb. 6, 2015. Registration for international teams closes Jan. 9, 2015.

Student teams participating in the Rover Challenge must design, engineer and test a human-powered rover on a mock course designed to simulate the harsh and demanding terrains future NASA explorers may find on distant planets, moons and asteroids.

For more information on the 2015 Human Exploration Rover Challenge and registration, visit http://go.nasa.gov/14dikMF.

Follow the Rover Challenge on social media for the latest news and updates:

https://www.facebook.com/roverchallenge?ref=hl
https://twitter.com/RoverChallenge
http://instagram.com/nasa_marshall.

View images from the 2014 Rover Challenge at http://go.nasa.gov/1iEjGRp.


International teams with questions about this event or registration may email Amy McDowell at Amy.McDowell@nasa.gov. U.S. teams with questions may contact Diedra Williams at MSFC-RoverChallenge2015@mail.nasa.gov.

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2015 RASC-AL Aerospace Concepts Design Competition

NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace announce the 2015 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage, or RASC-AL, Aerospace Concepts competition. RASC-AL is a design project competition for university-level engineering students and faculty.

The 2015 RASC-AL contest challenges participants to design projects based on real NASA problems, responding to one of four themes: 
-- Earth-Independent Mars Pioneering Architecture
-- Earth-Independent Lunar Pioneering Architecture
-- Mars' Moons Prospector Mission
-- Large-Scale Mars Entry, Decent and Landing Pathfinder Mission

Concepts derived from the design projects could potentially be implemented by NASA.

Teams must submit an abstract for their proposed project by Jan. 11, 2015. The RASC-AL Steering Committee of NASA and industry experts will evaluate the proposals and select as many as 11 undergraduate and five graduate teams to compete against each other at a forum in June 2015 in Florida.

The RASC-AL competition is open to full-time undergraduate or graduate students majoring in engineering or science at an accredited university. University design teams must include one faculty or industry advisor with a university affiliation and two or more undergraduate or graduate students. A group of universities may also collaborate on a design project entry. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged.

For more information about this competition, visit http://nianet.org/RASCAL.

If you have questions about this competition, please contact Stacy Dees at stacy.dees@nianet.org or Shelley Spears at Shelley.Spears@nianet.org.

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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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Free Program -- Cubes in SpaceTM


idoodlelearning™ is offering two flight opportunities as part of the Cubes in Space program. A free science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, or STEAM, program for students ages 11-18, Cubes in Space provides opportunities for students to design and compete to launch experiments into space.  

In partnership with Colorado Space Grant Consortium as part of the RockSat-C program, experiments will be launched via a sounding rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, in late June 2015. This opportunity is open to U.S. and international students 11-14 years of age.

Through partnership with NASA Langley Research Center, a second flight opportunity is offered on a zero-pressure scientific balloon to be launched from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, in September 2015. The Science Missions Directorate Astrophysics division manages the NASA scientific balloon program; Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia oversees Balloon Flight Operations. This opportunity is open to students 11-18 years of age who are U.S. citizens.

Using formal or informal learning environments, students and educators will learn about the methodology for taking an idea from design through the review process. Throughout the experience, students will acquire key 21st century skills necessary for success in a highly connected, global society.

The deadline for program registration is Jan. 12, 2015.

For more information, visit http://www.CubesInSpace.com.

Questions about this program should be directed to info@cubesinspace.com.

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Apply for the 2015 Summer NASA Academies -- Webinar

The NASA Minority Innovation Challenges Institute, or MICI, is hosting a special webinar on Jan. 15, 2015, at 3 p.m. EST, which will provide undergraduate students details on how they can apply for admission into a 2015 NASA Summer Academy. The NASA Academy is not a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. summer research internship program. It is a rigorous, immersive 10-week experience that will challenge the participants and push them outside their comfort zones. It offers interns an intense learning experience. The NASA Academies at NASA centers have different areas of focus, including space, aerospace, robotics, aeronautics and propulsion.

The NASA Academy curriculum combines a valuable research experience with a residential leadership development experience. Academy participants, known as research associates, or RAs, spend four days per week working full time on an individual research project with a NASA scientist or engineer, called their principal investigator. These projects offer a challenging learning experience in which the RAs do hands-on research side by side with their mentors. Projects are typically cutting-edge topics that teach the RAs about the latest in NASA research and development. The RAs demonstrate the progress of their research in the annual Intern Poster Expo. The academies conclude with final oral presentations and a graduate ceremony.

To sign up for this webinar, and gain access to MICI's other free webinars, visit http://nasamici.com/upcoming-sessions.

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Mary Baker at mary@nasamici.com.

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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 monthly sessions covering a variety of climate topics. This month's webinar topic is:

Communicating Climate Change: Mind the Gap -- Jan. 15, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. EST
Although 97 percent of active climate scientists agree that the earth is warming due to human activities, some polls have found that only 44 percent of Americans share this view. As an educator, you are likely to encounter people who have received information that conflicts with the accepted climate science. This session will help you better understand Americans' perceptions of climate change and provide tips for better communicating climate science.

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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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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NOAA "Marine Debris Prevention Through Education and Outreach" Federal Funding Opportunity
 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Debris Program, or NOAA MDP, is offering a federal funding opportunity called "Marine Debris Prevention Through Education and Outreach." 


The NOAA MDP seeks to fund projects that will lead to the prevention of marine debris in marine and coastal environments through the implementation of dedicated education and outreach activities. Projects awarded through this grant competition are expected to educate the public about marine debris through activities including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Encouraging changes in behavior to address marine debris.

2. Developing, using, and disseminating tools, products and campaigns to improve efforts to address marine debris.

3. Engaging the public in active, personal participation (e.g., a small-scale shoreline cleanup with students or other hands-on activities, etc.).

While the anticipated range of federal funding available per award is approximately $20,000 to $100,000, projects typically receive between $30,000 and $60,000. Eligible applicants include: U.S. institutions of higher education; nonprofit organizations; commercial (for-profit) organizations; and state, local and tribal governments. Applications from federal agencies or employees of federal agencies will not be considered. International organizations are not eligible.

To download the official Federal Funding Opportunity along with complete eligibility requirements, please visit Grants Online at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=270188.

The deadline for applications to this funding opportunity is 11:59:59 p.m. EST on Jan. 15, 2015. Applications must be submitted online via www.grants.gov.

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Alison Hammer Weingast at Alison.Hammer@noaa.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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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.

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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DEADLINE EXTENDED: 2014 NASA EONS Solicitation New Appendix

NASA's Office of Education is accepting new proposals under the Education Opportunities in NASA STEM, or EONS, 2014 NASA Research Announcement for the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, Institutional Research Opportunity, or MIRO appendix. This effort was previously titled as the NASA University Research Centers Project, and has now been consolidated into the MUREP Program within the NASA Office of Education.

Through the EONS omnibus solicitation, the opportunity MIRO has been released. Through MIRO awards, NASA aims to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM literacy and to enhance and sustain the capability of minority serving institutions to perform NASA-related research and education, which directly support NASA's four mission directorates -- Aeronautics Research, Human Exploration and Space Operations, Science, and Space Technology. 

The deadline for proposals has been extended to Jan. 30, 2015.

For more information regarding the MIRO solicitation, please visit the NASA EONS page on the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Proposal System, or NSPIRES, website at: http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId=%7bB6C61D04-5793-EF52-3497-1AA57FA424A5%7d&path=open .

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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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