Special 'Arthur Christmas' Segment Featuring NASA Spinoff

Sony Pictures Animation team created a special one-minute segment from the film to help bring attention to the many high tech gadgets and everyday items that come from NASA technology. The educational segment premiered on the Smithsonian Channel during primetime on Tuesday, Nov. 22. It also can be downloaded for use by educators and media.

Video — Arthur Christmas: Elf 6409EF Discusses NASA Technology

Mars Rover Curiosity Takes Off

United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, including the new rover, Curiosity, lifting off on time on the first opportunity at 10:02 a.m. EST on Nov. 26.NASA began a historic voyage to Mars with the Nov. 26 launch of the Mars Science Laboratory, which carries a car-sized rover named Curiosity. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas V rocket occurred at 10:02 a.m. EST (7:02 a.m. PST).

The mission will pioneer precision landing technology and a sky-crane touchdown to place Curiosity near the foot of a mountain inside Gale Crater on Aug. 6, 2012. During a nearly two-year prime mission after landing, the rover will investigate whether the region has ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life.

For more information visit http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/26nov_msllaunch/

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Cris Dewolf Shares Activity from NASA Explorer Schools Summer Opportunity

Eight NASA Explorer Schools educators attended the Solar System Inside and Out research experience at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., during July 2011. The workshop prepared the attendees to implement a variety of activities introduced during their research experience.

Cris Dewolf, an NES educator from Michigan, took the experience a step further and shared the LED “secret message” activity at a workshop at Yerkes Observatory and at the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association Fall Conference.

To become eligible for one of these NASA Explorer Schools research experiences, be sure to complete the surveys associated with resources you are using on the Virtual Campus!

Roosevelt Middle School Holds Annual Rocket Extravaganza

The Sixth Annual Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School’s Rocket Extravaganza Day was conducted this fall. The primary attraction was the launching of the model rockets built during the previous week by all sixth-graders. The launch site was set up so 14 rockets could be launched simultaneously. This was an impressive sight to behold! 

The budding scientists designed and built balsa wood Crew Exploration Vehicles, each carrying four paint ball “astronauts.” The rocket-powered CEVs were launched along a line running straight into a wall. Some paintball astronauts survived intact; others were a bit messy but very colorful! The day’s festivities included eight other activity stations, which were hosted by staff and students from the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Dubuque and local waste management. Nearly 100 parents, community members and media personnel attended and had a great time. For more great rocketry activities, check out the NES Lesson: Center of Mass and Center of Pressure: Engineering a Stable Rocket. 

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

New Crew Launches to Join Expedition 29

Expedition 29 crew members Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and Dan Burbank are on their way to the International Space Station. The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft carrying the new trio launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 11:14 p.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 13. 

The Soyuz TMA-22 will dock to the Poisk mini-research module at 12:33 a.m. Wednesday. Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum and Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Sergei Volkov will welcome their new crewmates a little while later when they open the hatches about 2:55 a.m. Shkaplerov, Ivanishin and Burbank are scheduled to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory until March.

NASA astronaut and Flight Engineer Dan Burbank is making his third visit to the International Space Station. His previous two visits were both aboard space shuttle Atlantis. He helped prepare the station for its first crew during STS-106 and helped install the P3/P4 truss during STS-115.

Shkaplerov and Ivanishin, both flight engineers, are beginning their first mission as cosmonauts.

Expedition 29 will end when Fossum, Furukawa and Volkov undock from the Rassvet mini-research module inside the Soyuz TMA-02M Nov. 21. The outgoing trio will land in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 9:25 p.m. (8:25 a.m. Baikonur time Nov. 22). 

Expedition 30 will officially begin when the Soyuz TMA-02M undocks. Burbank will take over station command in a ceremony scheduled to take place on Nov. 20.

Watch a video of the launch

A Crack in the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf

A crack runs across the floating ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, seen from NASA's DC-8 on Oct. 14, 2011After a series of successful flights over Antarctica and its surrounding waters and sea ice, one of the more interesting things NASA’s Operation IceBridge team has seen this year is a large crack running across the floating ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier. The team observed the crack on the DC-8’s Oct. 14 flight.

For more information about this fascinating discovery, read the mission’s blog post.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.


Team America Rocketry Challenge

Team America Rocketry Challenge logoRegistration is open for Team America Rocketry Challenge 2012, a national model rocket competition for U.S. students in grades 7-12. Thousands of students compete each year, making TARC the world’s largest model rocket contest. Cash prizes are awarded to the top finishers. Participation is limited to the first 1,000 teams who register by Nov. 30, 2011.

For more information and to register visit the competition website.

Gamma Ray Burst Lesson

NASA Explorer Schools educator Joseph Molyson and his students at Houston County High School completed a Gamma Ray Burst Education Unit where students plot high-energy gamma-ray bursts. This is a great activity for 11th- and 12th-graders in astronomy or physics class. The unit may be done as an extension activity for the NES lesson, Electromagnetic Spectrum: Remote Sensing Ices on Mars.

To download a copy of Molyson¹s lesson, go to http://neon.intronetworks.com/#Resources/resource/0/0/11/1145