NASA Now: Forces and Motion: Aerobraking — Entry, Descent, and Landing

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Available beginning Aug. 31, 2011: Jill Prince explains aerobraking, a technique used by NASA to reduce the amount of fuel required to slow down a spacecraft moving at high speed as it approaches a planet. 

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NASA Now: Phase Change and Forces of Flight: Aircraft Icing Research

Join NES in the Icing Research Tunnel at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, when aeromechanical engineer and icing specialist Judith VanZante gives a tour and explains how engineers apply simple concepts in physical science to create windy, cold and wet conditions for aircraft testing.

As you tour the IRT, you will learn how the speed of the wind is increased, how the extreme temperatures in the warm summer months are achieved, what forces act on an aircraft and how a pilot would deal with these forces in icing conditions.

Link to this NASA Now program (requires login to the NES Virtual Campus).

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Herschel Telescope Detects Oxygen Molecules in Space

Artist's concept of a collection of oxygen molecules superimposed over an image of the Orion nebula taken in infrared lightDetectors on the Herschel Space Observatory’s large telescope have provided the first confirmation of oxygen molecules in space. The molecules were detected within the Orion Nebula.

Individual atoms of oxygen are common in space but not molecular oxygen. Astronomers searched for the elusive molecules for decades using balloons, as well as ground- and space-based telescopes. The Swedish Odin telescope spotted the molecule in 2007, but the sighting could not be confirmed.

This information may be used with the NASA Explorer Schools activity, Genesis: What Are We Made Of? The Sun, Earth and You.

For more information about the NES Genesis activity, go to the activity page on the NES Virtual Campus. (requires log-in)

For more information on this topic, visit the Herschel website.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus participant’s home page.

Live Chat With NASA Cloud Scientist

Lin Chambers
NASA Explorer Schools invites all U.S. teachers and students to join us today at 2:00 p.m. EDT for a live video chat with Lin Chambers. Chambers is an atmospheric scientist and the director of the CERES S’COOL Project at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Clouds are an important part of our atmosphere, and scientists are studying how they affect our weather and climate. She will talk about the effect clouds have on the Earth’s climate and will answer student questions about the role of clouds in the Earth’s energy and water cycles, and the benefits of participating in real-world atmospheric research through the S’COOL Project. 

Chambers developed the Students’ Cloud Observations On-Line project, also known as S’COOL. S’COOL involves students in making ground truth observations of clouds for comparison with satellite data. The project is beneficial to both scientists and students. Scientists benefit from the use of student observations to help validate the CERES measurements. Students benefit from their participation in a real-world science experiment.

GAVRT Lesson Idea

Radio telescopeAfter attending the NASA Explorer Schools Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope Summer Experience, educators Kaci Hines, Cheryl May, Nancy Guillory and Donna Rand created a lesson that allows their students to control the GAVRT telescope from their classroom. Their lesson challenges students to determine the temperature of Jupiter by using the telescope. Three major tasks are involved in manipulating the telescope and acquiring accurate data: calibrating, scanning and recording data. Their lesson divides students into three separate groups to let each group learn the different tasks required to operate the telescope.

For more information and images, go to the NES GAVRT event page in Facebook or the GAVRT article in NEON.

The Force Is Strong With NASA's Smartphone-Powered Satellites

SPHERE Satellites on the ISSHow can robots help humans live and work in space?  NASA is studying that right now!
SPHERES are independent spacecraft able to complete tasks for astronauts; these little spacecraft can fly inside and, in the future, outside the space station to help complete essential tasks. NASA connected each SPHERE to a smartphone that gives them SPHERE camera capabilities, sensors to help conduct inspections, a computing unit to make calculations and Wi-Fi.

NES Educators Learn About Our Solar System

Solar System Participants class photoDuring the week of July 18, 2011, eight NASA Explorer Schools educators from across the country attended the Solar System Inside and Out research experience at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.

The opportunity included hands-on activities and incredible presentations, including a look at extreme weather on other planets presented by Dr. Frank Summers. Educators received curriculum support materials related to the activities. The educators are eager to share what they learned with their students. One teacher that attended, Christine Adomeit, commented, “What a wonderful way to incorporate real-world science into lesson plans. I can’t wait to show my students what they can do with logarithmic graphs!”

Although these educators thoroughly enjoyed this experience, their students are the real winners because of the engaging NASA lessons being brought back to their classrooms.

To see photos and information showcasing NASA’s the Solar System Inside and Out, visit the facebook event page.

To earn a chance to participate in an event like this next summer, sign up to participate in the NASA Explorer Schools project.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus participant’s home page.

NASA Earth Ambassador Training Program

NASA Explorer Schools educators, as well as other formal and information educators, are invited to apply to the Earth Ambassador Program, part of NASA Climate Days. The program will hold a two-day training workshop at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md., Oct. 13-14, 2011, with extended training on Oct. 15, for those not attending the Association of Science – Technology Centers Conference.

During the workshop, participants will interact with Earth scientists who are looking at the effect of climate change with respect to their research areas, learn effective ways of communicating global climate change with the public and become familiar with the online resources available to host their own events at their local institutions. 

Transportation, lodging and meal per diem will be covered.
Applications are due Aug. 17, 2011.

For more information and to apply online, visit

If you have any questions about this opportunity, e-mail Heather Weir.

NES Educators Learn About Water Filtration

NES educators conduct water testing during NES recognition opportunity.Ten NASA Explorer Schools educators participated in the project’s Water Filtration Research Summer Opportunity at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The workshop took place from July 20-22, 2011.

During the exciting three-day research experience, the educators learned how water is recycled in nature, in city systems and on the International Space Station. The group toured Marshall and participated in hands-on activities that they can incorporate into their curriculum in the 2011-2012 school year. In addition, the educators traveled to Little River Canyon National Preserve where they met with a limnologist from Jacksonville State University. While at the National Preserve, they analyzed the water in the canyon stream.

To see videos and images from the NES Water Filtration Research Opportunity, visit the event page in facebook.