NASA Releases Sector 33 Air Traffic Control Educational App

Sector 33 iTunes logoNASA has released a new educational game with an air traffic control theme for Apple iPhone and iPad devices. Sector 33 is designed to challenge students in middle school and above to use basic math and problem-solving skills.

This is a great companion app for the popular Distance-Rate-Time: Smart Skies lesson, available on the NES Virtual Campus.

An Android version of the app is in development and will be made available in the Android Marketplace in the coming months.

Visit Sector 33 for more information or to download the application free of charge.

NASA Releases First Multi-player Facebook Game

Space Race Blastoff logoNASA has launched its first multi-player online game totest players’ knowledge of the space program. Who was the firstAmerican to walk in space? Who launched the first liquid-fueledrocket? These are only a few of the questions players can answer inSpace Race Blastoff. 

Available on Facebook, Space Race Blastoff tests players’ knowledge ofNASA history, technology, science and pop culture. Players whocorrectly answer questions earn virtual badges depicting NASAastronauts, spacecraft and celestial objects. Players also earnpoints they can use to obtain additional badges to complete sets andearn premium badges. 

“Space Race Blastoff opens NASA’s history and research to a wide newaudience of people accustomed to using social media,” said DavidWeaver, NASA’s associate administrator for communications. “Spaceexperts and novices will learn new things about how explorationcontinues to impact our world.” 

NASA chose to make the game available through Facebook to takeadvantage of the social media site’s large audience and enableplayers to compete against others. Individuals also can play sologames. 

Once in the game, players choose an avatar and answer 10multiple-choice questions. Each correct answer earns 100 points, witha 20-point bonus to the player who answers first. The winner advancesto the bonus round to answer one additional question for more points. 

Correctly answering the bonus question earns the player a badge. 

Space Race Blastoff was developed by Scott Hanger, Todd Powell andJamie Noguchi of NASA’s Internet Services Group in the Office ofCommunications. Play the game now at

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Message from the Administrator: Day of Remembrance – Jan. 26, 2012

Letterhead of NASA Administrator

Day of Remembrance – Jan. 26, 2012


This last week of January, as we do every year, the NASA family honors those who have lost their lives carrying out our missions and pays tribute to their lives and memories.


In the face of our greatest accomplishments, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that each time men and women board a spacecraft, their actions carry great risk along with the opportunity for great discoveries and the chance to push the envelope of our human achievement.


So on this Day of Remembrance, we honor the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, as well as other members of the NASA family who died supporting NASA’s mission of exploration. We thank them and their families for their extraordinary sacrifices in the service of our nation.


As a family, we truly pull together, and our recovery from each of these tragedies has been heartbreaking and inspiring.  I thank all of you for the inspiration you provide to each other and me as we open the next great chapter of exploration.


Today, I lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery for these fallen heroes, and many of you, as in past years, join me in reflection on their lives and the greater purpose we all serve to reach new heights through our actions.  Across the country, all flags at NASA Headquarters and the NASA centers will be flown at half-mast in memory of our colleagues lost in the cause of exploration.


In memory of our colleagues, I ask all of you in the NASA family once again to always make your opinions known and be unafraid to speak up to those in authority, so that SAFETY CAN ALWAYS BE OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLE, and the sacrifices of our friends and colleagues will not be in vain.


We cherish the memories of our lost colleagues and friends and work hard every day to preserve and build on their legacies.  Their lives and work are inspiring each of us every day to carry out the missions of tomorrow and increase our capabilities to do more, learn more, and discover more.  There is no greater tribute we can pay!  Please join me in working to fulfill the dreams of these men and women for the future.


May God’s richest blessings be on the memory of our fallen comrades and on all of us on this solemn day of remembrance!


Charlie B.

NASA Now: Life Science — Human Life Support on the ISS

NASA Now logoFind out from Environmental and Thermal Operating System, or ETHOS, operator Tess Caswell about the role of chemistry in making sure the astronauts aboard the space station have oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and a comfortable temperature in which to live and work. This NASA Now program is available on the NES Virtual Campus beginning Jan 25, 2012.

Program Preview

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Professional Development Seminar for Educators

Weather and Climate: Satellite Meteorology

Audience: 7-12 and Informal Educators
Event Date: Jan. 23, 2012

False color image of EarthAs part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute professional development web seminar for educators on Jan. 23, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Learn to use data from NASA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, or GOES, and Polar Operational Environmental Satellites, or POES, in your meteorology lessons. This web seminar features “Monitoring the Global Environment,” one of eight modules within the Satellite Meteorology course. You will locate and download satellite data, then use these data to create graphs. 

For more information and to register for tonight’s session, visit URL

NASA's Orion Spacecraft to Visit Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama

Pad abort vehicle stackingA test version of NASA’s Orion spacecraft soon will make a cross-country journey, giving residents in three states the chance to see a full-scale test version of the vehicle that will take humans into deep space.

The crew module will make stops during a trip from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The planned stops include Jan. 24-25 at Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City; Jan. 27-29 at Victory Park and the American Airlines Center in Dallas; and, Feb. 1-2 at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Engineers, program officials, astronauts and NASA spokespeople will be available to speak with the media and the public.

The full-scale test vehicle was used by ground crews in advance of the launch abort system flight test that took place in New Mexico in 2010. Orion will serve as the vehicle that takes astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, and the first orbital flight test is scheduled for 2014.

For more information on the each of the sites, visit
   •  Science Museum Oklahoma →
   •  American Airlines Center →

    What Happened to all the Snow?

    Winter seems to have been on hold this year in some parts of the United States. Snowfall has been scarce in places that were overwhelmed with the white stuff at the same time last year. In this ScienceCast, JPL climatologist Bill Patzert explains what’s going on.

    Related NES Lessons:
       •  Weather and Climate: Satellite Meteorology
       •  Temperature and Earth Climate: Modeling Hot and Cold Planets

    Rovers, Rovers, Everywhere

    Artist concept of Curiosity rover on surface of MarsMelody Shaw gave 700 fourth- and fifth-grade students an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of NASA engineers. Shaw is a science lab teacher at Grenada Upper Elementary School in Grenada, Miss.

    After learning about rovers and NASA’s newest robotic rover, Curiosity, Shaw’s students had a chance to build their own. Using resources from NASA’s On the Moon Educator Guide, students completed the challenge “Roving on the Moon,” where they designed, built and tested their very own lunar rovers. Shaw noted that this activity covered several areas of the state-required science and mathematics curriculum and that the testing and redesign steps required her students to think like engineers.

    One exciting part of the experience was the community support and family involvement during the lesson. A Grenada business donated two large rolls of corrugated cardboard and straws, which made it possible for all 700 students to design and make their own rovers. After hearing about the activity, some parents requested to help out by cutting the cardboard into squares for each student. Many students said building the project was their favorite activity of the year, and it turned out to be a successful, exciting event for everyone involved.

    NES National Student Symposium

    The NES Virtual Student Symposium provides the opportunity for up to two teams of two students to share the results of an investigation or NASA design challenge with NASA scientists, engineers, technicians and educators. Participation in the Virtual Student Symposium is a prerequisite for getting invited to the all-expenses-paid NES National Student Symposium to be held at a NASA field center on May 2-5, 2012. The investigation or design challenge may be conducted as a classroom activity or done by students on their own, based on their own interests. The investigation or design challenge must relate to a NASA Explorer Schools teaching module or NASA Now episode on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.

    For more information about this exciting student opportunity, log into the NES Virtual Campus and visit the Student Recognition page.