Monthly Archives: August 2011

New DIY Podcast Module: Rocket Science

Launch into the new school year with a new Do-It-Yourself Podcast topic module: Rocket Science.

NASA Launch Vehicle Systems Analyst (rocket scientist) Tristan Curry provides expert sound bites for students to build podcast episodes about the laws of physics that govern building and launching rockets. Education specialist Fred Kepner explains the stability of a rocket and how to achieve it.

Whether you’re building a film canister rocket or a launch vehicle to travel beyond Earth, the science behind rockets is the same. The topic module includes 33 video clips with Curry, Kepner, historical footage of rockets and shuttle launches, and animations. Sixteen audio clips also are included in the module. Students may download these NASA multimedia materials and integrate them into their own recordings and narration to create a podcast.

Other DIY Podcast topic modules are:
— Fitness.
— Lab Safety.
— Newton’s Laws.
— Robots.
— Solar Arrays.
— Spacesuits.
— Sports Demo.

Students can build their own multimedia projects, while teachers meet national education standards. A companion blog offers tips and suggestions for incorporating the DIY Podcast into the classroom.

To learn more and to start building podcasts, visit


2012 NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program – Deadline Oct 26, 2011

NASA is offering undergraduate students an opportunity to test experiments in microgravity aboard NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft.

The opportunity is part of NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, which gives aspiring explorers a chance to propose, design and fabricate a reduced-gravity experiment. Selected teams will test and evaluate their experiment aboard NASA’s reduced-gravity airplane. The aircraft flies about 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips during experiment flights to produce periods of weightlessness and hypergravity ranging from 0 g to 2 g.

Proposals are due Oct. 26, 2011.

Interested students also should submit a letter of intent by Sept. 14, 2011. This step is optional but serves as an introductory notice that a team plans to submit a proposal for the upcoming competition.

NASA will announce selected teams Dec. 7, 2011. The teams will fly in the summer of 2012. Once selected, teams also may invite a full-time, accredited journalist to fly with them and document the team’s experiment and experiences. All applicants must be full-time undergraduate students, U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old.

To learn more about this opportunity, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be e-mailed to

2011 SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge – Registration Deadline Sept 5, 2011

NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory are offering high school students the opportunity to design experiments that will be tested in space.

The 2011 Zero Robotics challenge is a continuation and expansion of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education program using bowling ball-sized spherical satellites aboard the International Space Station.

The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites that make up SPHERES fly in formation inside the station’s cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment. Test results support satellite servicing, vehicle assembly and spacecraft that fly in formation.

The SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge requires high school student teams to write their own algorithm to fly the satellites in the station. Teams must register before Sept. 5, 2011, at

Entries will be evaluated using simulations. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., will host a ground test 2D competition in October. Two elimination rounds in the 3D online simulation will be held in November. The top 27 teams will have their code sent to the station, where an astronaut will program the SPHERES satellites to run their tests.

The Zero Robotics challenge, facilitated by MIT, TopCoder and Aurora Flight Sciences, continues the STEM focus of the SPHERES program. The 2011 challenge expands on a pilot program performed in 2009 and 2010. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to high school students, Zero Robotics is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students will have the opportunity to push their limits and develop skills in STEM. This program builds critical engineering skills for students such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, team work and presentation skills.

MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory developed SPHERES in 2006 to provide DARPA, NASA and other researchers with a long-term test bed for validating technologies critical to the operation of future satellites, docking missions and satellite autonomous maneuvers. The satellites provide opportunities to test a wide range of hardware and software at an affordable cost.

For additional information about NASA and MIT’s Zero Robotics program, visit

For additional information about DARPA, visit

Please e-mail any questions about this opportunity to Jason Crusan at

NASA Explorer Schools Live Video Chat: How Clouds Affect Our Weather and Climate

NASA Explorer Schools, or NES, invites educators and students in grades 8-12 from across the U.S. and Departments of Defense and State schools to participate in a special live video webchat. This chat will feature Lin Chambers, a physical scientist with the Climate Science Branch at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. Chambers will answer student questions about clouds, how they form, why they are important to our atmosphere and how they affect our weather and climate.

This one-hour video webchat starts at 2 p.m. EDT on Aug. 24, 2011. You do not need to be a participant of the NASA Explorer Schools project to participate in the chat.

To learn more about NES, please visit the website.

For more information about this NES live video chat, visit

Public Invitation for Potential Members to Serve on NASA Federal Advisory Committees

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Public Law 92-463, as amended, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and in accordance with the Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies signed on December 17, 2010, signed by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Executive Office of the President, NASA announces an invitation for the public to nominate individuals and also submit self-nominations for consideration as potential members of NASA’s Federal advisory committees. NASA’s Federal advisory committees have member vacancies from time to time throughout the year, and NASA will consider nominations and self-nominations to fill such intermittent vacancies. NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its Federal advisory committees based on their expertise, knowledge, and contribution to the relevant subject area.

Deadline: September 20, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Nominations and self-nominations from interested individuals must be sent to NASA in letter form, be signed, and must include the name of the specific NASA Federal advisory committee of interest for consideration. Such letters must be accompanied by the following additional information: (1) Resume and/or curriculum vitae; (2) professional biography (one page maximum). Letters may be submitted electronically, in hard-copy, or both. Please send all letters and accompanying information to: Ms. Susan Burch, Advisory Committee Management Division, Office of International and Interagency Relations, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546; or electronically to:

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NASA’s currently chartered Federal advisory committees are as follows:

NASA Advisory Council []–The NASA Advisory Council provides advice and recommendations to the NASA Administrator on Agency programs, policies, plans, financial controls, and other matters pertinent to the Agency’s responsibilities. The Council’s areas of emphasis are: Aeronautics; audit, finance and analysis; commercial space; education and public outreach; human exploration and operations; information technology infrastructure; science; and technology and innovation.

Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel []–The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel provides advice and recommendations to the NASA Administrator and the Congress on matters related to safety, and perform such other duties as the NASA Administrator may request.

International Space Station (ISS) Advisory Committee–The ISS Advisory Committee provides advice and recommendations to the NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations on all aspects related to the safety and operational readiness of the ISS. It addresses additional issues and/or areas of interest identified by the NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations.

International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory Advisory Committee–The ISS National Laboratory Advisory Committee monitors, assesses, and makes recommendations to the NASA Administrator regarding effective utilization of the ISS as a national laboratory and platform for research, and such other duties as the NASA Administrator may request.

National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board [ ]–The National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board provides advice to the PNT Executive Committee (comprised of nine stakeholder Federal agencies, of which NASA is a member) on U.S. space-based PNT policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles in relation to the current state of national and international space-based PNT services.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To view charters for each of the above-listed NASA Federal advisory committees, and for additional information, please visit the NASA Advisory Committee Management Division website [], or contact Ms. Susan Burch, Advisory Committee Specialist, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, (202) 358-0550, or

ROSES-11 Amendment – Delay of due dates for A.10 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team

ROSES-11 Amendment 19: Delay of due dates for A.10 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team and revision of research themes.

The goals of the OSTST are to provide the scientific underpinning for production of the best possible satellite-derived ocean surface topography data sets and to demonstrate the Earth science and applications arising from analyses of the ocean surface topography data. Specifically, this announcement seeks proposals to utilize the growing time series of multiple satellite altimeters.

This amendment delays the due dates for Appendix A.10, Ocean Surface Topography Science Team (OSTST), and clarifies and expands the scope of the science themes in order to allow for improved coordination of the review time frame and the revised research themes with our European partners. In addition, the second research theme has been expanded to include the analysis of data from future altimetry missions, and an eighth research theme is added to enhance preparation for future altimetry missions. In addition, the Jason-3 launch date has been revised to 2014.

The due date for Notices of Intents has been changed to Friday, January 20, 2012. The due date for proposals has been changed to Friday, March 23, 2012. Tables 2 and 3 of the Summary of Solicitation for this NRA have been updated to reflect this change.

On or about August 16, 2011, this Amendment to the NASA Research Announcement “Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2011” (NNH11ZDA001N) will be posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at (select “Solicitations” then “Open Solicitations” then “NNH11ZDA001N”). You can now track amendments, clarifications and corrections to ROSES and subscribe to an RSS feed at:

ROSES 11 Ammendment – Revised text for Appendix A.2, Land-Cover Land-Use Change (LCLUC)

Amendment 20 presents revised text for Appendix A.2, Land-Cover Land-Use Change (LCLUC), which, for this year, is now entitled Land-Cover Land-Use Change for Early Career Scientists.

The NASA LCLUC program supports research at the intersection of physical and social science involving the use of remotely sensed data. The program encourages the development of early career scientists that excel in this area of research. There is a growing community within academia, including students, that is engaging in interdisciplinary research of societal relevance.

This amendment extends the period for the eligibility to apply; those who received their Ph.D. no earlier than 2005 are eligible to propose. Step-1 proposals still due by December 1, 2011, and Step-2 proposals due by June 1, 2012.

On or about August 19, 2011, this Amendment to the NASA Research Announcement “Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2011” (NNH11ZDA001N) will be posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at (select “Solicitations” then “Open Solicitations” then “NNH11ZDA001N”). You can now track amendments, clarifications, and corrections to ROSES and subscribe to an RSS feed at:

2012 FAA Airport Design Competition – Deadline April 27, 2012

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is again sponsoring a national FAA Design Competition for Universities that engages undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. colleges in addressing issues relating to airports for the 2011 – 2012 academic year. This competition opens on August 30, 2011 and closes on April 27, 2012.

Students can address technical challenges regarding the safety, capacity and efficiency of the nation’s airports, offer innovative solutions, and win cash for outstanding proposals. The FAA hopes that the Competition challenges will provide a meaningful educational experience for individual students or students working in teams either as part of a class assignment, independent study or a project undertaken by a student professional society. Challenges are interdisciplinary in nature, encouraging participation from many engineering, technology and science disciplines. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is managing the program for the FAA.

Technical Design Challenges are offered in four broad categories:

  • Airport Operation and Maintenance
  • Runway Safety/Runway Incursions
  • Airport Environmental Interactions
  • Airport Management and Planning

For more information, please visit the competition website at

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