NASA Optimus Prime Spinoff Award Contest Open

Optimus Prime
Did you know that space technology is all around you? For example, the heart defibrillator and purified water are technologies developed by NASA engineers, scientists and innovators. NASA is required to share its technologies with the public. The public then can take these technologies and make them into something that you can use around your house, at school or even on the road. These are known as spinoffs.

NASA is collaborating with Hasbro using the correlation between the popular Transformers brand and spinoffs from NASA technologies. The OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award promotes NASA spinoffs, recognizes innovation through technology transfer and promotes innovative communication of spinoff stories to the public through video. The OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award serves to acknowledge the contribution of both NASA innovators and the companies that spun-off NASA technology for commercial applications, as well as to educate America’s youth about the benefits of NASA spinoff technology.

This is a video contest for students from third to eighth grade. Each student, or group of students, will submit a three- to five-minute video on a selected NASA spinoff technology listed in the 2009 Spinoff publication. Videos must demonstrate an understanding of the NASA spinoff technology and the associated NASA mission, as well as the commercial application and public benefit associated with the “transformed” technology. Video entries are due by December 31.

For more information about NASA Spinoffs check out the Spinoff Spotlight.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus website. 

Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School featured on NBC Nightly News

Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School (Columbia, South Carolina), a NASA Explorer Schools project participant since 2006, was featured on the “NBC Nightly News” on Oct. 1 as part of a week-long series on trends and innovation in education. The team at Forest Lake has won numerous accolades for turning the school’s performance around by using innovative teaching methods. The staff credits the NES project as one of their main catalysts.

View the video clip.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus website.

NASA Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project: K-12 Educator Fellowships

As part of NASA’s commitment to the effective preparation of science teachers, educators are invited to apply to become a NASA Endeavor Fellow. Each fellow is fully funded to complete five graduate courses in an innovative, online format. In these courses, participants learn to apply research-based pedagogical strategies and cutting-edge STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) content to their classroom. Applications for Cohort 3 will be accepted through Oct. 15, 2010.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus website.

NASA Now: Robonaut 2

NASA and partner General Motors are preparing to launch the first humanlike robot into space. Scheduled for launch aboard STS-133 in early November 2010, Robonaut 2 is a dexterous humanoid robot built and designed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The 300-pound Robonaut 2, nicknamed R2, will be the first permanent resident of the International Space Station.

This NASA Now event, available on the NES Virtual campus beginning Oct. 6, 2010, features Josh Mehling, Lead Mechanical Engineer on the Robonaut 2 project at NASA Johnson Space Center. Mehling presents information about the challenges of engineering, designing and building Robonaut 2 and provides the latest information about the robot’s assigned tasks onboard the International Space Station.

For more information about Robonaut 2, visit

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Education Blog, Taking Up Space, Is Going to the International Space Station

NASA Educational Technology Services announces a new blog for high school and college students called  “Taking Up Space.” The purpose of the blog is to tell stories and happenings with engineers, scientists, astronauts and many others who work at NASA. Sometimes the stories will just be about cool things going on at NASA and how to get involved with what’s going on. 
An exciting blog entry, posted on Sept. 29, 2010, describes an upcoming event occurring during space shuttle mission STS-133 early in November. NASA writer Heather Smith will talk with an astronaut via an International Space Station educational downlink and is inviting students to visit her “Taking Up Space” social media sites to help her decide which questions to ask. Visit the following sites for more information and to vote for favorite topics and questions.
Social media sites and promotions:

The deadline for participating is Tuesday, Oct. 12.