Daily Archives: October 30, 2008

The NASA Moon Tasks Student Design Challenge asks students to design tools and instrumentation packages for the next generation manned moon rover. These tools or instruments should help astronauts perform tasks on the Moon. Students are free to select a task from the list below and to check back in October to see if additional choices have been added.

  • Navigation in the darkness around the Moon’s south pole
  • Power supplies for rovers in the dark
  • Sample retrieval and on-site analysis
  • Radiation detection and avoidance
  • Communication with lunar outpost, with orbiters, and with Earth
  • Video capture of sorties for transmission back to Earth
  • Astronaut recovery and transport back to outpost
  • Lunar regolith mitigation strategies for rover and space suits

Quick Facts:

  • Contest is open to any full time student enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution including universities, colleges, trade schools, community colleges, professional schools, etc.
  • Contest is limited to US institutions only.
  • Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged, across departments and institutions.

We plan provide travel stipends for winning teams to attend the next set of lunar technology mission tests in the summer or fall of 2009. More details will be posted as they become available. As with all NASA contests, prizes are subject to available funds.

Important Dates:
Notice of intent by December 15, 2008
Final entry is due on or before May 15, 2009

For more information regarding the challenge and the registration process, please visit

Send Your Name Into Space on the NASA Glory Mission – Deadline November 1, 2008

NASA invites you to submit your name to be included on a microchip that will be rocketed into space as part of NASA’s Glory Mission, scheduled to launch in June 2009. Glory is the first mission dedicated to understanding the effects of particles in the atmosphere and the sun’s variability on Earth’s climate.

The “Send Your Name Around the Earth” Web site enables anyone to take part in the science mission and place his or her name in orbit for years to come. Participants will receive a printable certificate from NASA.

The deadline for submitting names is Nov. 1, 2008.
To submit names, visit http://polls.nasa.gov/utilities/sendtospace/jsp/sendName.jsp
To learn more about the Glory mission, visit http://glory.gsfc.nasa.gov/

LCROSS: Exploration Through Navigation Challenge – Deadline November 24, 2008

NASA Quest presents its Fall 2008 Challenge, LCROSS: Exploration Through Navigation. During this challenge, students will chart a course from the Big Island of Hawai’i to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) by using ocean navigation skills that were used in early Polynesian exploration. In Part II of the challenge, students will chart a course from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., to one of the lunar poles by using navigation skills appropriate for space.

For both tasks, each participating classroom will submit its navigation plan to NASA for experts to review. At the end of the challenge, students will be asked to compare and contrast methods of navigating on Earth (at sea) and in space. For both parts of the challenge, the essential question that will keep students on task will be “How will you stay on course?”

Background materials are available to help prepare for the challenge. An educator’s guide aligned to national education standards is available for those who register.

Registration is open now, and student projects are due Nov. 24, 2008.

Join NASA QUEST on Nov. 3, 2008, for an informative webcast designed to help participants design their navigation plans. Meet Kälepa Baybayan, Polynesian Captain and Navigator of Hawaiian deep-sea voyaging canoes, and learn more about this art that lives on. Participants will be able to ask questions relating to polynesian navigation and receive encouragement in the design process.

For more information about the challenge and to register online, visit http://quest.nasa.gov/challenges/lcross2/index.html

This challenge is a part of the educational programming for the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission, also known as LCROSS. This mission will be navigating an impactor to look for water ice in the polar region of the moon.

To learn more about the LCROSS mission and read news as it breaks, visit the main LCROSS site at http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov


Win Your NASA Dream Experience – Application Deadline December 15, 2008

Your NASA Dream Experience: A nationwide contest as seen in Seventeen Magazine is open for applicants until midnight December 15, 2008. A team of 2 students (ages 16-20) and an educator/sponsor will earn the opportunity to spend 3 days at either Johnson Space Center or Kennedy Space Center on a job shadow and behind the scenes experience during the spring of 2009.

Contest details for Your NASA Dream Experience are detailed at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/education/seventeen.html

NASA INSPIRE Program – Application Deadline December 31, 2008

The Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience, or INSPIRE, is a multi-tiered project for students and their parents or legal guardians.

Applications from students in grades 9-12 are now being accepted for INSPIRE’s online community through Dec. 31, 2008. NASA’s mission provides the content for the online community. Resources, activities and educational modules add relevancy to courses being taught in high school. Activities include participation in video teleconferences with NASA scientists, design competitions and learning modules. The online community allows students to interact with other students with similar interests, to ask questions and to share knowledge, thus building a “Community of Practice.” The online community will also offer support for parents to help them better champion their students’ goals. Once selected for the online community in January 2009, students will then be invited to compete for the unique grade-appropriate summer experiences ranging from a one-day VIP tour and workshops, a two-week on-campus collegiate experience, to paid summer internships. The dates of the summer experiences and the location of the two-week on-campus collegiate experience will be announced in January, and students will be notified of selections in February.

INSPIRE provides grade-appropriate NASA-related resources and experiences to encourage and reinforce students’ aspirations to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education and careers. The project also offers resources and information for parents to help them better champion their students’ goals. INSPIRE provides participants a rich online community, as well as opportunities to compete to participate in NASA/STEM Experiences.

For more information about this opportunity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/programs/INSPIRE_Project.html

2009 Team America Rocketry Challenge – Registration Deadline December 1, 2008

Registration is open for the Team America Rocketry Challenge 2009, a national model rocket competition for U.S. students in grades 7 through 12. Thousands of students compete each year in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, the world’s largest model rocket contest. Cash prizes are awarded to the top finishers.

Teams of three to ten students design, build and fly a model rocket to carry one raw egg for a precise flight duration of 45 seconds and to an exact altitude of 750 feet. The team whose rocket comes the closest to both, and brings the egg back unbroken, wins.

To be eligible for the national fly-off, teams must fly a qualifying flight observed by an adult member of the National Association of Rocketry. The top-scoring 100 teams in the country will be invited to participate in the final fly-off to be held in May 2009.

Participation is limited to the first 750 teams who register by Dec. 1, 2008. For more information, visit http://www.rocketcontest.org/


NASA Life and Work on the Moon Art and Design Contest – Deadline March 15, 2009

NASA invites high school and college students from the arts, including industrial design, architecture, computer design and the fine arts, to submit their work on the theme “Life and Work on the Moon.” Artists are encouraged to collaborate with science and engineering students. Such collaboration is not required but would help to ensure that the art is valid for the moon’s harsh environment.

Entries will be accepted in three categories: two-dimensional, three-dimensional and digital, including video. Entries will be evaluated not only on their artistic qualities, but also on whether they depict a valid scenario.

Prizes include awards and exhibit opportunities. International students are encouraged to participate, but they are not eligible for cash prizes or student internships.

Entries are due no later than March 15, 2009.

For more information about the contest and to register online, visit http://artcontest.larc.nasa.gov


NASA Name That Habitat – Deadline November 20, 2008

NASA and the Challenger Center for Space Education have partnered to engage students in ongoing activities for one of NASA’s concepts for astronaut housing on the moon through a contest to name a habitat in Antarctica. NASA currently is conducting a test of a lightweight, durable, inflatable habitat on the cold, harsh landscape of the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station.

The Challenger Center is organizing and conducting the “Name That Habitat” competition for students in grades 6-10. The Challenger Center will recruit subject matter experts to serve as judges for the contest and will provide prizes and other items for the winner and participants. The winning name will be selected later this year and announced by scientists in Antarctica in January 2009. Student, teachers and the public will be able to follow the progress of the inflatable habitat activities throughout the project.

The habitat was funded through NASA’s Innovative Partnership Program’s Seed Fund initiative, with in-kind resource contributions by the National Science Foundation and ILC Dover of Frederica, Del., the manufacturer of the structure. An inflatable habitat is one of several concepts being considered for astronaut housing on the moon.

The structure looks somewhat like an inflatable backyard “bounce house” for children, but it is far more sophisticated. It is insulated, heated and pressurized, and has power. It offers 384 square feet of living space and has, at its highest point, an 8-foot ceiling. During the test period, sensors will allow engineers to monitor the habitat’s performance.

The contest helps NASA fulfill its mission to promote an interest in NASA missions. The contest, for example, asks students to nominate a name that has not been used in previous NASA missions, spacecraft, ships, or robotics, which they can only do successfully by conducting some research.

The Challenger Center is an international, nonprofit educational organization founded in 1986 by the families of the astronauts lost during the last flight of the space shuttle Challenger. The goal of the organization is to foster student interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The deadline for entries for the contest is Nov. 20, 2008.

For more information about entering the Name That Habitat contest, visit http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/oct/HQ_08267_Habitat_Naming_Contest.html

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