NES Project's 1,000th Participant — All About Marty Carmicle

Marty Carmicle

NASA Explorer Schools welcomed the 1000th teacher to the NASA Explorer Schools project this past month: Marty Carmicle. She joins over a thousand NASA Explorer Schools educators from all 50 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and Department of State schools in Turkmenistan and Mexico.

Marty is in her 10th year of teaching at Casey County Middle School in Liberty, Ky., where she currently teaches both 7th- and 8th-grade mathematics classes. 

Marty’s favorite part of teaching is the “Ah ha!” moment when a student finally “gets” the concepts. She also likes working on special projects with her classes.  For example, she completed a project through the University of Kentucky early this year in which her students designed and built a hovercraft.  

Marty has used some NASA educational materials in the past and looks forward to seeing what the NASA Explorer School Virtual Campus has to offer.  

She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lindsey Wilson College, a master’s degree in education from Eastern Kentucky University, and a master’s degree in special education from Campbellsville University.

Welcome, Marty!

NASA Now: Solar Storms

NASA Now logo

Dr. Holly Gilbert discusses what a solar storm is and how it occurs. She explains how solar storms affect objects that aren’t protected by our atmosphere such as astronauts on the International Space Station.

Every day our Earth experiences storms of all kinds including thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. One type of storm we often don’t realize we are experiencing is a solar storm. Thanks to our protective atmosphere and magnetic field called the magnetosphere, we’re safe from the dangers of solar storms.

NASA Now Minute: Solar Storms

Puffy Heads and Bird Legs

cartoon drawing show student in position for this activity.NASA Explorer Schools educator Holley Sykes, a resource teacher from Briarwood Elementary, just finished an activity called Fluid Shift. Students are challenged to simulate the bodily fluid shift seen in astronauts while in space. After taking a baseline heart rate and baseline ankle measurement, students lie on the floor and point their legs upward against the wall. Every minute their lab partner takes an ankle measurement and every two minutes a new heart rate. After 10 minutes, students compare their ankle measurements and heart rates. 

See additional activities at Register, log in, join the NES group, and navigate to Other NASA-related Activities I’ve Done forum and look for the Astronauts in Space entry.

If you do this, or another NASA-related activity, with your students be sure to get credit toward NES recognition by adding it to your activities profile on the NES Virtual Campus.

Build a Solar Oven

Cartoon drawing-sun and solar panelsHere is a great idea for the Messenger: Staying Cool — My Angle on Cooling Effects of Distance and Inclination module. Your students can create solar “cookers.” One of the variables is choosing how the sun enters the cooker, either directly or at an angle. Share with us on NEON your students/ results.

Read more about the activity Build a Solar Oven in NEON. Register, log in, join the NASA Explorer Schools group and find Messenger: Staying Cool — My Angle on Cooling Effects of Distance and Inclination forum. The solar oven lesson is available in that forum.

Spacesuits Protect STS-133 Astronauts

STS-133 astronaut conducting a spacewalk outside the ISSAstronauts aboard STS-133 are wrapping up a series of scheduled spacewalks, or extravehicular activities. When astronauts venture outside of their spacecraft, they need spacesuits to protect them from the solar radiation, the cold temperatures of space and fast-moving particles called micrometeoroids.

Check out a great activity called Potato Astronaut: Spacesuit. Students investigate the effects of high-speed simulated micrometeoroid impacts and penetration depth. They also learn how layered materials protect astronauts. You will find the activity in the Lunar Nautics: Designing a Mission to Live and Work on the Moon Educator Guide on Page 133.

See additional activities in NEON. Register, log in, join the NASA Explorer Schools group, and find Lunar Nautics: Designing a Mission to Live and Work on the Moon. The activity is available in that forum.

Researchers Crack the Case of the Missing Sunspots

Image of the sun taken on March 2008In 2008-2009, sunspots almost completely disappeared for two years. Solar activity dropped to hundred-year lows;  Earth’s upper atmosphere cooled and collapsed; the sun’s magnetic field weakened, allowing cosmic rays to penetrate the Solar System in record numbers. It was a big event, and solar physicists openly wondered, where have all the sunspots gone?  

Now they know. An answer is being published in the March 3rd edition of Nature, but you can read about it here.

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips

Credit: Science@NASA

Project Update — Update your Virtual Campus E-mail Address

Mail iconYoucan now change your NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus log-in to a differente-mail address. If you would like to update your contact information, please useyour preferred account to send an e-mail to In the body of thee-mail, state your name, current Virtual Campus log-in e-mail address and yournew e-mail address. The following business day, you will be able to log intothe Virtual Campus using your new e-mail address. All future NES communicationswill be sent to you at the new e-mail address. Remember to add the domains to your e-mail account’s safe senders list.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Glory and Global Warming Experiment

Glory is NASA’s newest member of a fleet of Earth-observing satellites known as the Afternoon Constellation, or “A-Train.” The satellites together offer a more cohesive and detailed picture of the Earth’s biosphere and climate. Glory will measure the affects of particles suspended in the atmosphere or aerosols. Aerosols can absorb sunlight, or they can reflect the sun’s energy back into space. 

Challenge your students using the NES-supported Satellite Meteorology module. Have your students measure the effect of excess carbon dioxide on the temperature of gas inside soda bottles and see what the effects of aerosols are on the heating of the gas.

Read more about the activity in NEON. Register, log in and join the NASA Explorer Schools group. The Glory and Global Warming Experiment activity is located in the Satellite Meteorology forum.