Category Archives: Cool Science

ATTENTION EDUCATORS: SIGN UP TODAY for NASA DIGITAL WORKSHOPS!

NASA STEM Spanish Immersion  Educator Professional Development Workshop SeriesFree Virtual Professional Development Workshop Series: NASA STEM Spanish Immersion. Participants who register and complete all four workshops are eligible to receive five workshop hours towards continuing education units.

NASA’s Digital Learning Network and the Aerospace Education Services Project are presenting a series of professional development workshops tailored to elementary Spanish immersion educators. These free workshops are designed to enhance curriculum activities with NASA-inspired lessons. These professional development workshops will provide hands-on, interactive and engaging activities in Spanish.

Sign up today to join the free four-day workshop series on July 15, July 17, July 23 and July 25, 2013. Each session is 75 minutes long.

For more information, visit https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GsOzqrJP0veopQRkZbb54jSDBbG02OZ6n9w6hKHumhE/pub.

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Marilé Colon Robles at marile.colonrobles@nasa.gov.

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International Space Station NASA Education Project: Proposals Due February 20, 2013

ISSAttention College and University Students!

Conduct research in space and make new discoveries! The adventure begins in 2013. The ISS NASA Education Projects Office is now accepting proposals from higher education institutions or consortia of organizations serving higher education that are interested in conducting research in space and have concepts for flight experiments or demonstrations that utilize a microgravity environment and can be conducted in a ‘1 unit’ (1U) NanoRacks NanoLab.

Proposal requirements:

· Must align with space station program research priorities in technology, biology, biotechnology, and physical sciences

· Must address innovative, meaningful, and enduring research and technology development activities with STEM –based context

White papers must be submitted on January 23, 2013 by 4 p.m. (CST). Full proposals must be submitted on February 20, 2013 by midnight (CST).

For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/9wnhgj9

About us: The ISS NASA Education Projects Office acts as a gateway to the space station for students, educators, and institutions of learning and helps to strengthen the connection between space station and STEM education.

Contact:
Janejit T. Gensler
NASA Johnson Space Center
2101 NASA Parkway
Houston, TX 77058
281.244.1024
Janejit.t.gensler@nasa.gov

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Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Sixth Flight Opportunity, Mission 4 to the International Space Station inquiries due Dec 31, 2012.

ssep-banner-smallSSEP Mission 4 is an opportunity for schools and districts to engage their 5-12 grade students in VERY REAL Microgravity Experiment Design for Flight to the International Space Station (ISS). YOUR Students are invited to be real researchers, and your community to be part of America’s space program!

MILESTONE DATES:
9-Week Experiment Design Phase in Your Community: February 25 to April 29, 2013
Selection of Your Community’s Flight Experiment: May 30, 2013
Ferry Flight to ISS: mid-October 2013
Ferry Flight Return to Earth: mid-November 2013
National Conference in Washington, DC: early July 2013, and 2014

TIME CRITICAL:
ALL INTERESTED COMMUNITIES ARE ASKED TO READ THIS CAREFULLY AND INQUIRE BY DECEMBER 31, 2012; schools and districts need to assess interest with their staff and, if appropriate, move forward with an Implementation Plan.

DEADLINE FOR COMMUNITIES TO BE ABOARD (approved Implementation Plan and funded):
February 18, 2013. To meet this deadline, the Center needs to begin working with interested communities as soon as possible.

CONTACT:
Dr. Jeff Goldstein: 301-395-0770 or ssep@ncesse.org

BACKGROUND:
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally, invite communities across the U.S. and Canada to participate in SSEP Mission 4 to the International Space Station (ISS). SSEP immerses a community of students in real scientific research of their own design, using a highly captivating spaceflight opportunity on the International Space Station – America’s newest National Laboratory, and which will garner the community significant media attention for STEM education.

Each participating community will be provided all launch services to fly a real microgravity research mini-laboratory on ISS from mid-October to mid-November 2013, and a kit for assembly and loading of their mini-lab. A 9-week experiment design competition in your community, held Winter/Spring 2013, will allow grade 5-12 student teams to design microgravity experiments vying for the community’s reserved mini-lab slot on ISS. Your student teams write very real but grade level appropriate research proposals, go through a formal proposal review process, and one experiment is selected to fly for your community. This is a true science immersion program where students are asked to be real scientists and go through the exact same process as professional researchers vying for research resources and research opportunities.

In fact two NASA feature articles on the SSEP program at NASA.gov appeared on the International Space Station RESEARCH page, not education page. NASA considers these students TO BE RESEARCHERS. The program is changing the way students view both science and their ability to do science. It is also changing the way teachers teach science. SSEP is a true STEM education program. It addresses a wide range of biological and physical science disciplines (thus appropriate for all teachers of science), including: seed germination, crystal growth, physiology and life cycles of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria), cell biology and growth, food studies, and studies of micro-aquatic life. Students design experiments to the technology and engineering constraints imposed by a real research mini-lab and flight operations to and from Earth orbit.

SSEP is about a commitment to the joys of learning; to student ownership in exploration through immersive and REAL science experiences; to science as journey; to rich experiences for teachers in real science; and to science as an interdisciplinary tapestry that extends to vital written and oral communication skills.

HERITAGE:
SSEP has had 5 flight opportunities to date:

Through SSEP on the final two flights of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program (STS-134 and STS-135), 977 student team proposals were
 received, and 27 experiments have flown – one for each of the participating communities (16 on STS-134 and 11 on STS-135).

SSEP Missions 1, 2, and 3 to the International Space Station engaged 32 communities, providing 69,100 students in grades 5-14 the opportunity to participate, 3,370 student team proposals were received, and thus far 39 experiments were flown to space station on the SpaceX Dragon vehicle, heralding in a new era in human spaceflight. Student flight teams were at Kennedy Space Center for the launch and were interviewed by NASA TV.

The Mission 3 payload of 17 experiments is expected to fly to the space station in April 2013.

The initiative was also highlighted last year at the 2nd Annual White House Science Fair event.

SOME SSEP BASICS:
1. Typically a minimum of 300 grade 5-12 students across a participating community are engaged in experiment design. The school district is free to determine the participating grade levels. SSEP is not designed for a single class or a small number of students. A team of science teachers partnering across a school or a district is a recipe for success.

2. Implementation is straightforward and well defined; all needed curricular materials are fully developed; and we provide ongoing, proactive support for your educator implementation team.

3. Well-designed content resources for teachers and students support foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design.

4. SSEP is flexible enough to be tailored to your community’s strategic needs in STEM education.

5. A suite of SSEP program elements – the Community Program – leverages the flight experiment design competition to engage the entire community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education. Elements include flying up to 2 Mission Patches resulting from an art and design competition across your community.

6. Students can take part in their own research conference where they can report on experiment design and results. The conference is normally held in Washington, DC, in early July, at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, the site of the 2011 and 2012 conference – the most visited Museum on the planet.

NEXT STEPS – WE ARE ON A FAST TRACK:
1. CAREFULLY read the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program home page (link below), which includes links to all aspects of the program, including program operations, how to participate, profiles of the 51 communities participating to date, and summaries of all selected flight experiments. Also below are the links to extensive media coverage, and program testimonials from community leadership.

2. Contact us via the SSEP home page, or call me directly at: 301-395-0770

SSEP HOMEPAGE: http://ssep.ncesse.org

MEDIA COVERAGE: http://ssep.ncesse.org/communities/in-the-news/

TESTIMONIALS: http://ssep.ncesse.org/communities/in-our-own-words/

Be part of history by making history

Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Center Director and SSEP Program Creator
Cell: 301-395-0770
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) http://ncesse.org
PO Box 3806
Capitol Heights, Maryland 20791

KEY SSEP PARTNERS:
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education
NanoRacks, LLC
Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)

This on-orbit, real research opportunity for students is enabled through NanoRacks LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

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Oregon State University Moon Tree Dedication October 10, 2012

CELEBRATE THE PAST AND INSPIRE THE FUTURE

Join the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium and the Oregon State University (OSU) College of Forestry Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at Peavy Hall on the OSU campus for the Moon Tree Dedication, a celebration of Astronaut Stuart Roosa and the Apollo 14 Lunar Mission.

Apollo 14 launched on January 31, 1971 on what was to be NASA’s third trip to the lunar surface. Five days later, Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell walked on the Moon while Stuart Roosa, a former Oregon US Forest Service smoke jumper, orbited above in the command module. Packed in Roosa’s personal belongings during the mission were about 500 tree seeds, part of a joint NASA/USFS project. Upon return to Earth, the seeds were germinated by the Forest Service. Known as the “Moon Trees”, the resulting seedlings were planted throughout the United States and the World. They stand as a tribute to astronaut Roosa and the Apollo Program.

Of the 500 seeds flown on Apollo 14, only about 50 trees still stand today. OSU is proud to be home to one of the existing trees, now a 40 foot tall Douglas Fir. This tree stands as a symbol of both our past achievements in space science and exploration and as an inspiration to future generations of explorers.

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 10, 2012
PEAVY HALL RICHARDSON 107
FREE AND OPEN TO ALL

2:00-2:30 Dedication and unveiling of plaque
2:30-3:15 Speaker Presentation
3:15-5:00 Reception

For more information about the Moon Trees go to http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/moon_tree.html.
Contact the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium at 541-737-2414 with questions regarding the dedication or go online for more information: http://spacegrant.oregonstate.edu/osu-moon-tree-dedication.

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Celebrate World Space Week October 4-10, 2012

World Space Week 2012Join educators and space enthusiasts around the world to celebrate World Space Week, Oct. 4-10, 2012. 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 50 nations. During World Space Week, teachers are encouraged to use space-themed activities. The theme for 2012, “Space for Human Safety and Security,” has been chosen to celebrate the many ways in which mankind’s activities in space improve our daily lives.

To find NASA educational resources that can be used during World Space Week, visit the Educational Materials Finder: http://search.nasa.gov/search/edFilterSearch.jsp?empty=true.

To learn more about World Space Week, search for events in your area and find educational materials related to the event, visit www.worldspaceweek.org.

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Enter by December 2, 2012 to Name that Asteroid!

OSIRIS-REx mission

OSIRIS-REx mission spacecraft

OSIRIS-REx is going to fly to an asteroid and bring back some pieces. Right now, the asteroid’s name is 1999 RQ36, but we think students can do better! The Planetary Society, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, and the University of Arizona are asking students around the world to suggest better names for the asteroid.

Enter by December 2, 2012 to have a chance to name a piece of the solar system!

The contest is open to kids under the age of 18. To enter, parents or teachers must fill out an online entry form with the proposed name and a short explanation of why that name is a good choice.

Asteroids can’t be named just anything, of course. The International Astronomical Union governs the naming of big and small objects in the solar system, and they have guidelines on how to name near-Earth objects like 1999 RQ36.

http://planetary.org/get-involved/contests/osirisrex/

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The Blue Moon – August 31, 2012

Blue Moon

The Blue Moon – August 31, 2012

(From our friends at OMSI)

A blue moon is usually explained as a full moon, which occurs twice in the same month. In August 2012, it is on the 1st (8:27 p.m. PDT) and 31st (6:58 a.m. PDT). A blue moon occurs every 3 to 4 years, when the date for one full moon falls on or near the beginning of a calendar month so that the following full moon comes before the end of the same month.

There are several different meanings for the term ‘blue moon. ‘ The phrase ‘blue moon’ has been around over 400 years, but during that time its meaning has shifted around a lot. The earliest reference was cited in The Maine Farmers’ Almanac, 1937. The almanac states that when there were two full moons in a calendar month, calendars would put the first in red, the second in blue.”

In astronomy, as stated above, a ’blue moon’ is the second full moon to appear in a single month. However, in meteorology, the correct definition of a blue moon is the physical explanation of why, on rare occasions, the moon appears blue. The scattering of moonlight causes a “blue moon” by smoke particulate. The red end of the spectrum is scattered more than the blue end of the spectrum, which causes light seen from the moon to look more blue: hence, a blue moon.

Despite the differences in meaning, in general terms, the rarity of seeing a moon that looks blue and/or the rarity of two full moons appearing in one month prompted the well-known saying “once in a blue moon,” which means something that happens very rarely.

Happy Blue Moon!

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Fourth Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition – Registration Ends at 50 Applications!

Registration Open for NASA’s Fourth Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition

NASA is challenging U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate student teams to design and build a telerobotic or autonomous excavator, called a Lunabot, that could be used on the moon. The Lunabot must be able to mine and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of lunar simulant in 10 minutes. The scoring for the Mining Category requires teams to consider a number of design and operation factors such as dust tolerance and projection, communications, vehicle mass, energy/power required and autonomy.

Design teams must include one faculty advisor from a college or university and at least two undergraduate or graduate students. Universities may work in collaboration and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. Selected teams will compete in the Lunabotics Mining Competition at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 20-24, 2013. Registration is limited to the first 50 approved teams. Registration is limited to one team per university campus. Internationally, registration is limited to 5 teams per country. Registration will end when NASA approves 50 applications.

The NASA EDGE video from NASA’s Third Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mp4/670179main_NE00072112_39_Lunabotics_2012.mp4

For more information and to apply online, visit NASA’s Lunabotics Mining Competition on the Web at http://www.nasa.gov/lunabotics.

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