NASA Education Express Message -- July 2, 2015

Status Report From: NASA Education Office
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015

This update is issued weekly by the NASA Education Office. To subscribe to this weekly update by email go to the NASA Education EXPRESS mailing list at follow the instructions.

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Cast Your Vote in the Ceres "Bright Spot" Mystery Poll

On March 6, 2015, NASA's Dawn spacecraft began orbiting Ceres, the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even before the spacecraft arrived at the dwarf planet, images revealed mysterious bright spots that captivated scientists and observers alike.

Can you guess what's creating those unusual bright spots on Ceres? Until Dawn gets a closer look over the next few months, it's anyone's guess what those spots could be.To learn more and to cast your vote, visit more information about the Dawn mission, visit

Visit NASA Education at Thursday Night on the Square Events in Palmdale, California
NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center's Office of Education and its partner the AERO Institute are taking part in the weekly summertime Thursday Night on the Square activities sponsored by the City of Palmdale, California.Located adjacent to the AERO Institute buildings in the Palmdale Civic Center, Thursday Night on the Square is an eight-week series of outdoor festivals involving entertainment, arts and crafts, special presentations, and informal education activities. Each week focuses on a different theme. This year's series begins on June 25 and concludes Aug. 13.The NASA Armstrong Aerospace Education Gallery will be open for the public, and visitors will have the opportunity to visit various exhibits on display in the Gallery. An educational presentation and hands-on activities will be conducted in the Educator Resource Center, also located at the AERO Institute. Teacher packs will be available to educators and handouts to the public to give them additional information on the hands-on activity and the presentation they viewed.For more information, visit you have any questions about the events, please email the Sondra Geddes

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 that bring NASA into your classroom. Registration is required to participate. Simply click on the link provided beneath the webinar description to register.Exploring Strange New Worlds Series: Exploring Ice in the Solar System
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades K-5Event Date:July 6, 2015, at 12 p.m. EDTIn this webinar, we will look at a multitude of activities from the Messenger mission education module highlighting the importance of ice in comparative planetology. Classroom adaptations and accommodations also will be discussed. Register online to participate. 2 Racecars: Session 1 -- Introduction to SpinoffsAudience:Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 3-9Event Date:July 8, 2015, at 4 p.m. EDTGet your students revved up about science, technology, engineering and mathematics with NASA's Rockets 2 Racecars STEM Education four-part webinar series! Join us for an introduction to R2R, where educators discover information and useful resources about NASA research and technologies that have contributed to the future of NASCAR and the automobile industry as a whole. Educators also will have the opportunity to help their students discover where NASA research has played a role in their community. Come discover how space is all around you! Register online to participate. a full schedule of upcoming NASA Educator Professional Development webinars, visit direct questions about this series of webinars to Steve Culivan

NASA's Journey to Mars Challenge
As NASA embarks on an ambitious journey to Mars, the agency is looking for your innovative and creative ideas to help make the journey possible! The public is invited to share their ideas, in detail, for developing the elements of space pioneering necessary to establish a continuous human presence on the Red Planet. These ideas could include shelter, food, water, breathable air, communication, exercise, social interactions and medicine, but NASA encourages participants to consider elements beyond these examples.NASA's efforts for sending humans to Mars are well underway, with rovers exploring the planet's surface and spacecraft monitoring Mars from orbit. The International Space Station is testing systems and serving as a lab to learn more about the health impacts of extended space travel. NASA is testing and developing its next generation of launch and crew vehicles -- the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crewed spacecraft.Given spacecraft limitations on weight and volume -- and a minimum 500 days between resupply opportunities -- a mission to Mars that is not dependent on Earth for resources requires innovative solutions.NASA seeks technical submissions that describe the development of capabilities and operations necessary, in both the near- and long-term, to advance this bold journey. Submissions may consist of proposed approaches, capabilities, systems, or a set of integrated systems that enable or enhance a sustained human presence on Mars. Solutions should include the assumptions, analysis and data that justify their value. Submissions should include a process to develop, test, implement, and operate the system or capability.NASA will judge submissions on relevance, creativity, simplicity, resource efficiency, feasibility, comprehensiveness and scalability. NASA expects to make up to three awards at a minimum of $5,000 each from a total award pool of $15,000.Entries are dueJuly 6, 2015.For more information about the challenge, visit


Sun-Earth Days 2015: Small Worlds Week

Join the NASA Sun-Earth Days team in celebrating the smaller members of our solar system during Small Worlds Week! FromMonday, July 6, through Friday, July 10, NASA will hold a celebration of the more than 200,000 small worlds -- comets, asteroids, icy moons and dwarf planets -- that make up the majority of objects in our solar system.Each day, Monday-Thursday, will highlight a different type of solar system body, including resources that were developed for classroom use.July 6 -- CometsJuly 7 -- AsteroidsJuly 8 -- Icy MoonsJuly 9 -- Dwarf PlanetsThen, on Friday, July 10, a cadre of planetary scientists from across the country will stand by to answer your questions via Facebook and Twitter. So get those questions ready! Why is Pluto not a planet? Did comets bring life to Earth? Are we in danger from Near Earth Asteroids? Can life exist in the cold, dark outer solar system?For more information, educational resources and social media connections, visit email questions about this weeklong event

Teacher Professional Development Programs at the NASTAR Center
The National AeroSpace Training and Research, or NASTAR, Center is hosting a series of teacher professional development programs throughout the month of July. Here's your chance to experience acceleration in a centrifuge, pilot an airplane simulator, or explore the gas laws in an altitude chamber. Each one-day workshop is worth eight hours of continuing education.One-day workshops are planned for multiple dates in July. To see a full list of workshop dates, visit more information about the workshops and to download a registration packet, visit NASTAR Center is located in Southampton, Pennsylvania, a northern suburb of Philadelphia. The center is an Affiliate Member of the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium. Funding from the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium supports these programs, so they are offered at no cost to teachers.Questions about this series of workshops should be directed to Greg Kennedy


"Where Over the World Is Astronaut Scott Kelly?" Geography From Space Trivia ContestDuring his year-long stay on the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly wants to test your knowledge of the world through a geography trivia game on Twitter. Traveling more than 220 miles above Earth, and at 17,500 miles per hour, he circumnavigates the globe more than a dozen times a day. This gives Kelly the opportunity to see and photograph various geographical locations on Earth. In fact, part of his job while in space is to capture images of Earth for scientific observations.Follow@StationCDRKellyon Twitter. Each Wednesday, Kelly will tweet a picture and ask the public to identify the place depicted in the photo. The first person to identify the place correctly will win an autographed copy of the picture. Kelly plans to continue posting weekly contest photos until he returns from the space station in March 2016.For more information, visit learn more about the One-Year Mission, visit

NASA's Mars Student Imaging Project Educator Training -- In-person or Online
Arizona State University's Mars Education Program is hosting three training opportunities for educators interested in learning how to facilitate NASA's Mars Student Imaging Project. Help your students learn about science by being the scientists and conducting research on another planet -- Mars! The Mars Student Imaging Project is designed specifically for the Next Generation Science Standards and embeds 21st Century Skills.Learn how you can facilitate this project in your classroom. You don't need any background in planets or geology to participate. This is project-based learning, and your students will learn how science works by formulating research questions, collecting and analyzing data, and reporting their findings to NASA scientists. Students' work will be driven by their own interests about Mars!The Mars Student Imaging Project is appropriate for grades 5-12.A live training session will take place at the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Arizona,July 8-9, 2015. The training fee is $10, and participants will earn eight hours of professional development credit. For more information and to register to attend, visit in-depth, virtual training sessions also will be offered. These sessions are free, and participants will earn eight hours of professional development credit.Session #1 will take placeJuly 14-16, 2015. For more information and to register to attend, visit #2 will take placeJuly 21-23, 2015. For more information and to register to attend, visit direct questions about the workshop


NASA's Digital Learning Network Event -- Pluto Flyby: The Final Countdown
New Horizons, the fastest spacecraft ever launched, rocketed atop an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station more than nine years ago. Now days away from the Pluto Flyby, Chuck Tatro, Launch Site Integration branch chief for NASA's Launch Services Program, joins NASA Education for a special live-streamed event from the Digital Learning Network. With Pluto on the horizon, join us for a look back at where the journey began and count down to the historic first close-up view of the dwarf planet. Submit questions via Twitter using #askDLN or via email 90-minute event will be webcast on the NASA DLiNfo Channel onJuly 9, 2015, at 1 p.m. EDT.For more information and to view the webcast, visit direct questions about this event to the Kennedy Space Center DLN


Call for Proposals --
Early Stage Innovations NASA Research Announcement
NASA is seeking proposals from universities for early-stage technology development that will support the agency's long-term plans for human exploration of Mars and scientific study of our solar system and beyond. The Early Stage Innovations NASA Research Announcement calls for innovative space technology proposals that could benefit NASA's space program, other government agencies and the greater aerospace community.The proposals may cover transformative space technologies in different fields, including planetary exploration capabilities, such as payload technologies for assistive free-flyers and robotic mobility technologies for the surfaces of icy moons. They also may cover material science, such as discrete cellular materials assembly, repair and reconfiguration, and computationally guided structural nanomaterials design.Other topics could include optical communication for space using integrated photonics, atmospheric entry modeling development using data from the first flight test of NASA's Orion spacecraft in December 2014, and high-voltage power management and distribution electronics for space applications.The agency expects to make approximately 12 awards this fall, with total award amounts of as much as $500,000. Research and development efforts will take place over two to three years.Only accredited U.S. universities may submit proposals under this solicitation. The deadline for submitting final proposals isJuly 10, 2015.For more information, visit about the Early Stage Innovations NASA Research Announcement should be directed to Claudia Meyer


Free Tours of Facilities at NASA's Glenn Research Center
NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, is offering tours that take visitors behind the scenes and inside certain research facilities. Glenn scientists and engineers serve as guides. Tours will be offered each month through October 2015. Tours are free of charge for groups and individuals on an advance reservation basis. Visitor parking is also available free of charge.A tour bus departs from Glenn's main gate every hour beginning at 10 a.m. The last tour departs at 1 p.m. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and is followed by a stop at Glenn's Gift Shop.Glenn's 2015 Tour Schedule
July 11, 2015 -- Breeze by a Wind Tunnel: Tour the Abe Silverstein Supersonic Wind Tunnel. This facility has conducted supersonic propulsion testing on aircraft components such as inlets, nozzles and engines. It is ideally suited for launch vehicle tests and other fuel-burning applications.Aug. 1, 2015 -- See Things a Different Way: Check out Glenn's Graphics and Visualization, or GVIS, and the Reconfigurable User-interface and Virtual Reality Exploration, or GRUVE, Laboratories. The GVIS Lab uses advanced computer input and output devices paired with a variety of natural user interface devices and 3-D displays. The GRUVE lab is used to analyze data obtained either by computer simulation or from research test facilities.Sept. 12, 2015 -- Go to the Extreme: Join us on a tour through Glenn's Extreme Environments Rig, or GEER. As NASA ventures through the solar system and beyond, spacecraft will experience hostile environments of Venus and other planetary bodies. Temperatures can reach hundreds of degrees. Air pressure is crushing, and the toxic atmosphere is thick. GEER is designed to simulate those temperatures and pressure extremes and accurately reproduce the atmospheric compositions of bodies in the solar system. GEER is currently in its commissioning phase for operations simulating Venus' surface temperature, pressure and chemistry.Oct. 3, 2015 -- Explore Locomotion on Planets: Come explore the Simulated Lunar Operations facility, which is home to a 60-foot-long, 20-foot-wide sandpit filled with simulated lunar soil and a lunar rover test bed. Other areas simulate Martian soil conditions. Research in this facility will help NASA develop the components of rovers capable of traveling long distances and investigating planetary surfaces during future human and robotic missions to keep NASA's journey to Mars moving forward.Tours are open to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. To guarantee admission, reservations are required. For more information on tours and how to make reservations, visit about the tours should be directed to Sheila Reese
3-D Printed Habitat Challenge -- Design Competition
NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, known as America Makes, are holding a new $2.25 million competition to design and build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency's journey to Mars. The multi-phase 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge, part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, is designed to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.The first phase of the competition, a design competition, calls on participants to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3-D printing offers. The top 30 submissions will be judged, and a prize purse of $50,000 will be awarded at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.The deadline to submit a registration packet for the design competition phase isJuly 15, 2015.The second phase of the competition is divided into two levels. The Structural Member Competition (Level 1) focuses on the fabrication technologies needed to manufacture structural components from a combination of indigenous materials and recyclables, or indigenous materials alone. The On-Site Habitat Competition (Level 2) challenges competitors to fabricate full-scale habitats using indigenous materials or indigenous materials combined with recyclables. Both levels open for registration Sept. 26, and each carries a $1.1 million prize.For more information, rules and to register for the 3-D-Printed Habitat Challenge, visit about the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge should be directed to project manager John Wilczynski


DEADLINE EXTENDED: Call for Abstracts:
31st American Society for Gravitational and Space Research Conference
A call for abstracts has been released for the 31st annual American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, or ASGSR, Conference taking place Nov. 11-14, 2015, in Alexandria, Virginia.Applicants must submit abstracts electronically no later thanJuly 15, 2015, using the abstract submittal form and instructions posted on the ASGSR website. All submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed by the conference organizing committee.All accepted abstracts from students will be presented as posters or orally in competitions. The student poster competition will be judged by society members, and monetary awards will be given during the banquet scheduled for Nov. 14, 2015. Students must be present at the banquet to receive the monetary award. Student competition winners will be encouraged to submit an extended abstract or a communication article to the ASGSR journal "Gravitational and Space Research." All students should coordinate with their advisors when submitting an abstract for the conference.Student travel assistance of up to $500 is available on a limited basis. Students requesting consideration for travel assistance should check the box on the abstract submittal form.For more information, visit Please direct questions about this opportunity to Ms. Jobi Cook


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 about this opportunity should be directed

2015 von Krmn Lecture Series -- Attend in Person or View Online

The Theodore von Krmn Lecture Series, named after the founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and presented by JPL's Office of Communication and Education, share the excitement of the space program's missions, instruments and other technologies.Lectures take place twice per month, on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays. The Thursday lectures take place in JPL's Theodore von Krmn Auditorium, and Friday lectures take place at Pasadena City College's Vosloh Forum. Both start at 7 pm. PDT (10 p.m. EDT). Admission and parking are free for all lectures. No reservations are required, but seating is limited. The Thursday evening lectures are also streamed live for viewing online. Archives of past lectures are also available online.The next lecture in the series is:Discovery at Mars
Event Date:
July 16 and July 17, 2015, at 7 pm. PDT (10 p.m. EDT) 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Mariner 4, the first spacecraft to successfully fly by the planet Mars. After a half-century of exploring the Red Planet, scientists continue to be surprised by findings there. Join Blaine Baggett, director of the Office of Communication and Education at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, for an evening to celebrate the past, survey the present and ponder the future possibilities of discovery at Mars.For more information about the Theodore von Krmn Lecture Series, including a complete list of upcoming lectures, visit about this series should be directed to the


Future Engineers: 3-D Space Container Challenge
NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation are challenging K-12 students to create a model of a container for space using 3-D modeling software. Astronauts need containers of all kinds -- from advanced containers for studying fruit flies to simple containers for collecting Mars rocks or storing an astronaut's food. The ability to 3-D print containers in space -- on demand -- will let humans venture farther into space. That's why we are challenging students to start designing for space now.Design entries could be for a container designed for microgravity on the International Space Station or a container designed for future astronauts on Mars! Space is a big place, but your imagination is even bigger. Multiple prizes, based on age groups, are available.Entries must be submitted byAug. 2, 2015.The Design a Space Tool Challenge is the second in a series of challenges where students in grades K-12 create and submit a digital 3-D model of a container 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 that parents and educators can use to get kids designing today.For more information about the challenge and to watch an introductory video, visit you have any questions about the 3-D Space Container Challenge, please


Center for Astronomy Education Teaching Excellence Workshops -- Spring/Summer 2015

NASA's Center for Astronomy Education, or CAE, announces a series of educator workshops for astronomy and space science educators.These workshops provide participants with experiences needed to create effective and productive active-learning classroom environments. Workshop leaders model best practices in implementing many different classroom-tested instructional strategies. But more importantly, workshop participants will gain first-hand experience implementing these proven strategies. During many microteaching events, you will have the opportunity to role-play the parts of student and instructor. You will assess and critique each other's implementation in real time as part of a supportive learning community. You will have the opportunity to use unfamiliar teaching techniques in collaboration with mentors before using them with your students. CAE is funded through NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Exoplanet Exploration Program.August 4-6, 2015 --Honolulu Convention Center in Honolulu, HawaiiCAE Teaching Excellence Short-Courses on Active Learning in the STEM ClassroomAugust 15, 2015 -- American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York
CAE Northeast Regional Teaching ExchangeFor more information and to register for workshops online, visit about this series of workshops should be directed to Gina Brissenden


NOAA's Climate Education Regional Workshop -- Silver Spring, Maryland

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Stewards Education Project is hosting a free climate-science workshop for formal and informal educators onAug. 5, 2015, at the NOAA Science Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Participants will hear from and interact with climate science, education and communication experts.The workshop will focus on an introduction to global climate models exploring the subject of climate change in the same way that research scientists do. Simulations and activities for modeling regional and/or topical impacts of climate change will be shared with a goal of connecting educators and their students/audiences to the best-available, science-based information and resources about climate change.Attendance is limited and availability will be on a first come, first serve basis, so register early. Participation is free, but attendees are responsible for arranging their own transportation, lodging and meals unless otherwise indicated in workshop details.All attendees will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation in the workshop as well as the number of professional development hours they have engaged in.For more information and to register to attend, visit more information about NOAA's Climate Stewards Project, visit about this workshop should be directed to Peg Steffen


International Observe the Moon Night
OnSept. 19, 2015, the whole world has the chance to admire and celebrate our moon on International Observe the Moon Night. And you can join in the fun!Check the map of registered observation events athttp://observethemoonnight.orgto see if an event is being held near you. If not, please consider registering and hosting one and inviting your community.You don't know where to start?
This link walks you through the process of planning an event of any size. See how to host an event in six easy steps: you need suggestions for hands-on activities?
Visit ideas.Are you worried about cloudy weather obscuring your view of the moon?
The "Moon as Art" collection, chosen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, team, gives the public the opportunity to see the moon as others have seen it for centuries -- as an inspirational muse. But this time, also see the moon from the perspective of being in orbit with a series of eyes that see different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Learn more at beautiful, high-resolution images of the moon's surface taken by LRO's cameras are available at about this opportunity should be directed

Center for Astronomy Education Teaching Excellence Workshops -- Fall/Winter 2015-16

NASA's Center for Astronomy Education, or CAE, announces a series of educator workshops for astronomy and space science educators.These workshops provide participants with experiences needed to create effective and productive active-learning classroom environments. Workshop leaders model best practices in implementing many different classroom-tested instructional strategies. But more importantly, workshop participants will gain first-hand experience implementing these proven strategies. During many microteaching events, you will have the opportunity to role-play the parts of student and instructor. You will assess and critique each other's implementation in real time as part of a supportive learning community. You will have the opportunity to use unfamiliar teaching techniques in collaboration with mentors before using them with your students. CAE is funded through NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Exoplanet Exploration Program.Sept. 26-27, 2015 --University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
CAE Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop for Current and Future Astronomy and Space Science Instructors

Oct. 3, 2015 -- Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina
CAE Southeast Regional Teaching Exchange
Oct. 17, 2015-- Everett Community College in Everett, Washington
CAE Northwest Regional Teaching Exchange

November 2015 -- American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland
New Faculty Workshop for Physics and Astronomy

Jan. 3-4, 2016-- Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida
CAE Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop for Current and Future Astronomy and Space Science InstructorsFor more information and to register for workshops online, visit about this series of workshops should be directed to Gina Brissenden


Celebrate World Space Week 2015

Join educators and space enthusiasts around the world to celebrate World Space Week,Oct. 4-10, 2015. This international event commemorates the beginning of the Space Age with the launch of Sputnik 1 on Oct. 4, 1957.World Space Week is the largest public space event in the world, with celebrations in more than 60 nations. During World Space Week, teachers are encouraged to use space-themed activities.To learn more about World Space Week, search for events in your area, and find educational materials, visit


Earth Science Week 2015 ContestsThe American Geosciences Institute is sponsoring a series of contests to celebrate Earth Science Week 2015. This year's celebration takes place Oct. 11-17, 2015.Earth Science Week 2015 Photography Contest -- Open to All Ages study our planet's geosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (living things). These spheres -- or Earth systems -- continually affect and influence one another. With a camera, you can capture evidence of the dynamic impact of change processes in your home, neighborhood, school, workplace or local public spaces. In a photo, show at least one Earth system affecting another Earth system in your community.Earth Science Week 2015 Visual Arts Contest -- Open to Students in Grades K-5 science is the study of Earth systems -- land, water, air and living things. Scientists pay special attention to the ways these things affect each other, such as the way wind shapes the landscape or falling rain nourishes plants. Use artwork to show how land, water, air and living things interact in the world around you.Earth Science Week 2015 Essay Contest -- Open to Students in Grades 6-9 the earliest hand-drawn maps and diagrams, "visualization" has been an important way of explaining and understanding the interactions of land, water, air and living things. Earth scientists today use more sophisticated technology to monitor and represent these Earth systems -- the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. In an original essay no more than 300 words in length, explain one way that geoscientists' use of cutting-edge visualization is advancing Earth science today.The entry deadline for all three contests isOct. 16, 2015. Visit the contest websites for full details.If you have any questions about these contests, please email the Earth Science Week staff

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