Monthly Archives: March 2009

Adopt-a-Physicist Program – Spring Registration Begins March 31, 2009

Attention high school physics teachers: Registration is now open for the Spring 2009 session of Adopt-a-Physicist!

This unique (and free) program pairs high school physics classes with physics degree holders in online discussion forums, for a three-week period (April 13–May 1). Through these forums, your students will get the chance to connect to “real” physicists working in fields ranging from radiation therapy to computer programming.

The Adopt-a-Physicist program is open to all high school physics classes, but registration is limited to the first 150 classes, so sign up today!

Visit the Adopt-A-Physicist website at


100 Hours of Astronomy Event – April 5, 2009

(from our friends at OMSI)

100 Hours of Astronomy
Sunday, April 5, 2009 at OMSI
(Oregon Museum of science and Industry in Portland Oregon)

Join OMSI and the Rose City Astronomers with the rest of the world for the celebration of ‘100 Hours of Astronomy’ at OMSI on Sunday, April 5. “100 Hours of Astronomy” is the single largest event taking place during International Year of Astronomy 2009. This will be a worldwide celebration composed of a broad range of activities, aimed at involving the public in astronomy. The global event will take place over four days and nights, from April 2-5 2009. During this period, people from around the globe will share the experience of observing the sky. For many, it will be their first glimpse of the wonders of the heavens through a telescope.

From 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday, April 5, view the Sun, through filtered telescopes for safe viewing, to see solar prominences, sun spots and flares. In addition, planet Venus and the waning crescent moon will be visible.

During the evening of April 5, take a look at the spring night sky, planet Saturn and other celestial sights through telescopes and binoculars of all sizes on OMSI’s east parking lot. From beginners to experts, all ages are invited. As always, night sky viewing will occur, weather permitting.

for more information, please visit OMSI’s website at


Selene Project: Reaching for the Moon Through Gameplay

Would young people learn science better if it were packaged in a videogame?

That’s the question at the heart of the Selene project. Named after the Greek lunar goddess, Selene challenges players to learn the major geologic processes scientists believe formed the modern moon. Players create their own moon and then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava. The game offers a great opportunity for students to learn about lunar geology while helping researchers study some key videogame design principles.

The game is designed for students between the ages of 13-18 and takes about an hour to complete. But more time can be spent checking out Selene’s various resources about the moon. To play, participants must be enrolled by an adult recruiter to ensure parent or guardian consent for participation.

If you’re an adult who’d like to help out, visit the Selene Web site and click on the Recruiter button. Recruiters help find players to play the game and take part in the study. Being a recruiter is simple and does not involve a lot of paperwork. The whole process involves getting oral consent from a parent or guardian, then forwarding Selene registration access to recruited players.

Selene: A Lunar Construction GaME was created through NASA by the Center for Educational Technologies® at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W. Va., and its learning research continues through a National Science Foundation grant.

To learn more about the game and how you can play, visit


New Science On a Sphere Movie “FROZEN” Opens Nationwide on March 27, 2009

In an era when change itself seems to be the subject of attention, NASA presents a spectacular new movie that depicts the changing Earth. Called “Frozen,” this film introduces the idea of our transitioning home planet in ways that have never been seen before.

“Frozen” brings Earth to life, projecting images of the planet onto completely spherical movie screens hanging in the center of darkened theaters. Turning in space, images on the screen become a portal onto a virtual planet, complete with churning, swirling depictions of huge natural forces moving below. “Frozen” showcases the global cryosphere, those places on Earth where temperatures don’t generally rise above water’s freezing point. As one of the most directly observable climate gauges, the changing cryosphere serves as a proxy for larger themes.

“Frozen” opens around the U.S. and in several locations around the world on March 27, 2009.

For more information about the film and a partial list of Science On a Sphere theaters, visit


New Competiton for Educators – Submit Uses of Hubble in Education

For almost 20 years, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has inspired and engaged educators and students of all ages. U.S. formal (K-12, college) and informal educators are invited to submit their best examples of using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope for science, technology, engineering or mathematics education. Those selected as “Top Stars” will receive national recognition and awards.

Entries will be accepted from May 2009 through January 2, 2010.

For more information, visit

Space Shuttle and International Space Station Crews Speak With Reporters And US President

All the crew members aboard space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station gathered in the station’s Harmony module Tuesday morning and spoke to the President of the United States, members of Congress and students. They also fielded questions from reporters during a joint crew news conference in the afternoon.

Watch the webcast of this interview at NASA’s website

2009 NASA eEducation Electronic Professional Development Network Series

NASA’s Digital Learning Network presents a series of videoconferences to assist educators in staying current on NASA education resources and related products.

During each event, product producers, authors and experts will demonstrate their materials designed to optimize awareness and understanding of science concepts. Instructional objectives, accessing the materials and primary contacts for the materials will also be discussed. During the videoconferences, participants will be able to submit questions to the presenter that will be addressed during the presentation.

The following topics will be covered:

Kepler Mission: March 25, 2009, 4-5 p.m. EDT
The Kepler mission will seek evidence for Earth-size planets in orbit around sun-like stars. For the first time NASA will be able to search the galaxy for Earth-size or smaller planets. With this cutting-edge capability, Kepler may help to answer one of the most enduring questions humans have asked throughout history: Are there others like us in the universe?

Meteorology: An Educators Resource Guide for Inquiry-Based Learning: April 29, 2009, 4-5 p.m. EDT
Meteorology is one of the oldest observational sciences in human history and perhaps the most relevant to a broad segment of society. Learn how the first early meteorologists used this knowledge for their success and survival. This educator guide covers weather patterns, climate and measurement tools.

NASA Explores Virtual Worlds: May 27, 2009, 4-5 p.m. EDT
Virtual immersive environments are increasing in popularity in modern America. Explore the virtual world that NASA education is building in Second Life and learn how to become an active citizen of this world.

For more information about these videoconferences and to sign up online, visit

Online Poll for NASA’s Mars Rover Naming Contest Ends March 29, 2009

NASA has posted online nine rover names that are finalists for the agency’s Mars Science Laboratory mission and invite the public to vote for its favorite. The non-binding poll to help NASA select a name will accept votes through March 29, 2009.

More than 9,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grades submitted essays proposing names for the rover in a nationwide contest that ended Jan. 25, 2009. Entries came from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the families of American service personnel overseas. NASA will select the winning name, based on a student’s essay and the public poll, and announce the name in April.

The student who submitted the winning name will be invited to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to sign the rover. Additionally, all 30 student semi-finalists in the naming contest will have an opportunity to place an individually-tailored message on a microchip that will be carried on the car-sized robotic explorer. For worldwide participation beyond the contest, the public has a chance to participate in “Send Your Name to Mars.” The agency will collect names to be recorded on the chip. Names will be collected via the contest Web link beginning today.

Scheduled to launch in 2011 and land on Mars in 2012, the rover will use a set of advanced science instruments to check whether the environment in a selected landing region ever has been favorable for supporting microbial life and preserving evidence of such life. The rover also will search for minerals that formed in the presence of water and look for chemical building blocks of life.

To view the nine finalist names and cast your vote, visit

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