In-Flight Education Downlinks

Call for Proposals

NASA's C-9 Reduced Gravity AircraftNASA is seeking formal and informal education organizations, individually or working together, to host a live, in-flight education downlink during Expeditions 33 and 34 (approximately September 2012 to March 2013). To maximize these downlink opportunities, NASA is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the downlink into a well-developed education plan. The deadline to submit a proposal is June 1, 2012.

About the Opportunity

During Expeditions 33 and 34, crewmembers aboard the International Space Station, or ISS, will participate in downlinks. Downlinks are approximately 20 minutes in length and allow students and educators to interact with astronauts through a question and answer session. Downlinks afford educational audiences the opportunity to learn first-hand from space explorers what it is like to live and work in space. Downlinks are broadcast live on NASA TV and streamed on the NASA website.

Who Can Host a Downlink?

Members of the U.S. formal and informal education communities are eligible to host a downlink. Examples include museums, science centers, school districts, national and regional education organizations, and local, state and U.S. government agencies.

What Technology Do You Need to Host a Downlink?

Your organization needs to be able to access NASA TV via NASA’s Live Interactive Media Service, or LIMS, channel and have two dedicated phone lines. Please note that LIMS is a special satellite feed and is not the “regular” NASA TV seen through your local satellite or cable provider. You can learn more about LIMS at or by contacting Teaching From Space at the email address provided below.

Process and Deadline

This unique educational opportunity is made available through Teaching From Space, a NASA Education office. The deadline to submit a proposal is June 1, 2012. Proposals must be submitted electronically to on or before the deadline. A committee will review proposals and notify organizations of their status. Teaching From Space education specialists will work with selected organizations to plan their downlink.

Interested organizations should contact Teaching From Space to obtain information related to expectations, content, online informational sessions, guidelines and forms by sending an email to

Note: This opportunity is not affiliated with the NASA Explorer Schools project
and is open to any formal or informal educational organization meeting the criteria.

Arctic Runoff Not Affecting Ocean Conveyor Belt

A new study by NASA and University of Washington allays concerns that melting Arctic sea ice could be increasing the amount of fresh water in the Arctic enough to have an impact on the global “ocean conveyor belt” that redistributes heat around our planet.

Lead author and oceanographer Jamie Morison of the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle and his team detected a previously unknown redistribution of fresh water during the past decade from the Eurasian half of the Arctic Ocean to the Canadian half. Yet despite the redistribution, they found no change in the net amount of fresh water in the Arctic that might signal a change in the conveyor belt.

This study ties into the NASA Now: Aquarius program (preview below) on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus. View this episode before discussing the article with your students.

Share your students’ thoughts on this episode and article on our NASA Now Facebook page.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Preview of NASA Now: Aquarius

Students Apply Engineering Design Process to Construction of a Robotic Hand

NASA Explorer Schools educator Joan Labay-Marquez from Curington Elementary had her fourth-grade students construct a robotlike hand out of cardboard to apply what they have learned about the engineering design process. This activity fit the school district’s curriculum of teaching about inventors, inventions and the engineering design process.

As an extension activity, the students will design and build a “mock” wing of the International Space Station laboratory in their classroom. To demonstrate what they have learned about the engineering design process and how NASA uses robotics in space, the students will include a model robotic hand in the lab.

Watch the video of NASA’s Robonaut at

Find the hand activity at

For more exciting engineering design challenges, visit the Lesson Library on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus website.

Robonaut2 Demonstrates Hand Dexterity

 Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.