Tornado Tracks in Mississippi and Alabama

Artist Concept: Aqua satellite above EarthFor current events in your class, use the Earth Observatory website for NASA satellite images showing the path of exposed ground left in the wake of recent tornadoes. You will find images taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite on April 28, 2011.

To find more information about tornado images on the Earth Observatory website, refer to the Earth Observatory article in NEON

One Month Left to Re-enroll in NES

NASA Explorer Schools logoOnly one month is left for current NASA Explorer Schools participants to submit their online enrollment forms for the 2011-2012 school year before NES closes for summer recess. You don’t want to miss out on engaging classroom resources from NES, including 20 new classroom modules, student engagement opportunities with NASA scientists and engineers, and exclusive recognition opportunities that NES will offer next year.

NES is asking current participants to complete an enrollment form for next year so that we can maintain an up-to-date record of active project participants. When current participants log on to the Virtual Campus, they will receive a prompt to fill out a brief enrollment form, where they can update their personal, classroom or school information. 

Get ready for another exciting year with the NES project. 

Log on and enroll today.If you have any questions, please contact the NES Help Desk.

NES Monthly Career Video Chat With Zareh Gorjian, NASA Computer Animator

If you are an up-and-coming artist, an avid game player or a programmer, and you are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at NASA’s computer graphics, join NASA Explorer Schools for a live chat with Zareh Gorjian on June 2, 2011, at 9 a.m. PDT.

Gorjian specializes in computer graphics. He implemented all of the Quick View wireframe and high-performance renderers for NASA’s Surveyor mission, as well as the interface used for displaying images. He worked on Surveyor full time until September 1993 and has continued to contribute on a part-time basis while working on other projects. He currently is involved in designing and implementing third-generation animation and rendering software for the Digital Image Animation Lab at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was most recently a part of the team that produced animations for the IMAX movie “Destiny in Space.”

Before working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Gorjian worked at a software development company where he was a part of the team that developed a piano teaching system for a computer gaming platform. He developed the graphics for an artificial intelligence system designed to help people learn to play the piano.
In addition to his academic and professional involvement with computer graphics, he engages in the artistic pursuit of the subject in his spare time. When Gorjian is not transforming polygons, he is transforming coins and other objects as a magician.

NASA's Spirit Rover Completes Mission on Mars

NASA has ended operational planning activities for the Mars rover Spirit and transitioned the Mars Exploration Rover Project to a single-rover operation focused on Spirit’s still-active twin, Opportunity. 

This marks the completion of one of the most successful missions of interplanetary exploration ever launched. 

Artist concept - Spirit on MarsSpirit last communicated on March 22, 2010, as Martian winter approached and the rover’s solar-energy supply declined. The rover operated for more than six years after landing in January 2004 for what was planned as a three-month mission. NASA checked frequently in recent months for possible reawakening of Spirit as solar energy available to the rover increased during Martian spring. A series of additional re-contact attempts ended today, designed for various possible combinations of recoverable conditions.

For more information read the JPL news article or the Project Manager’s blog post, A Heartfelt Goodbye to a Spirited Mars Rover.

Live Chat With NASA Astronaut Michael J. Foreman

NASA Explorer Schools would like to extend an invitation to K-12 students across the United States to participate in a webchat with astronaut and veteran spacewalker Mike Foreman. The event will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. EST on Nov. 22, 2010. Foreman will answer questions about his spacewalking experiences, living and working in the microgravity environment of space, and his unique career path from high school through astronaut training.

For more information go to the information page on the NES Virtual Campus.

NASA Explorer Schools Enrollment for the 2011-2012 Year is Now Open!

NASA Explorer SchoolsIf you are an NES participant in the 2010-2011 school year, you can now register for the upcoming school year. When logging onto the Virtual Campus, you will receive a prompt to fill out a brief enrollment form where you can make updates to personal, classroom or school information.

Fill out this form. Click “submit,” and you’ll have full access to exciting NES educational resources to bring your 2011-2012 STEM classroom curriculum alive.

If you have any questions regarding the enrollment process or the 2011-2012 NES school year, contact the Help Desk.

We hope you’ll join us for the next school year. Log on and enroll today!

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Monitoring Atmospheric Changes Activity

Teachers, you may want to consider adding the Monitoring Atmospheric Changes activity to your meteorology lessons. The activity has interactive tools to help students understand the factors contributing to hurricane intensity. This is a unique way for students to explore how sea surface temperatures affect the intensity of hurricanes.

Read more about the activity online in NEON.

Smart Skies at Flagstaff, Ariz., Airport

Educator Kaci Hines sitting in cockpitAs students in NASA Explorer Schools educator Kaci Heins’ class worked through the Smart Skies NES module, she thought it would be amazing if she could take a field trip out to her local airport to see air traffic controllers in action. Heins arranged for her students to go up inside the air traffic control tower, talk to the controllers, and see the planes take off and land. The students learned how the controllers keep the passengers and the planes safe. They also visited the airport fire station where the students saw the trucks, tried on the fire gear, and saw the truck spray water across the tarmac. Heins reports, “It was one of the best field trips I have ever done and the students loved every second of it! It is experiences like these that can make the biggest impact on our students. I hope you can try to work something out like this in your area!”

Read through Heins’ article in NEON to see pictures and learn how her involvement with the Civil Air Patrol was incorporated into the field trip.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Now: Expedition 27

NASA Now logoIn this episode of NASA Now, Camille Alleyne, Assistant Program Scientist for the International Space Station discusses the unique research environment onboard the ISS while sharing information about many of the past, present and planned experiments. To date, more than three hundred experiments have been conducted on the ISS. Through this research, we will better understand the effects of microgravity on the human body, further develop technology, and expand our knowledge about our Earth and about the universe.

Look for this episode on the NES Virtual Campus beginning May 25, 2011.

NASA Now Minute: Expedition 27

What Do Polar Bears, Hummingbirds and Microscopic Marine Plants Have in Common With NASA?

NASA has developed a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Smithsonian Institution to begin new research efforts to bring the overall view of our climate from space satellites down to Earth to benefit our wildlife and key ecosystems.

Observations of our planet’s climate from NASA’s Earth-observing satellites will help us better understand how different species and ecosystems respond to climate changes. These observations will also allow us to further develop tools to manage wildlife and natural resources.

Link to the NES module, Earth Climate Course (requires log-in)