RealWorld-InWorld NASA Engineering Design Challenge to Solve Real NASA-Related Problems

RealWorld-InWorld logoHere’s an exciting opportunity to involve your students in the unique RealWorld-InWorld NASA Engineering Design Challenge to solve real NASA-related problems.

There are two phases to the RealWorld-InWorld challenge.

The challenge begins in the RealWorld where students in grades 8-12 use the engineering design process to solve one of two problems related to the James Webb Space Telescope. Educator and student RealWorld resources will be available on September 1.

Upon completion of RealWorld registration, teachers and others guiding students through the RealWorld design phase may register to use PTC Creo professional engineering software along with free online training valued at more than $900,000.

Twenty selected RealWorld teams are mentored by college engineering students, InWorld, in a virtual world setting. Team leader registration and InWorld resources will be available on September 1.

The InWorld phase begins January 31, 2013 following the completion of the RealWorld phase.

For more information about this exciting challenge, visit the RealWorld-InWorld website.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

A Primer on Curiosity

NASA’s new Mars rover Curiosity is resting safely on the surface of Red Planet after a daredevil landing that had the nation holding its breath. Now, mission scientists are anxious to start moving. Curiosity is bristling with instruments custom-made to look for the chemical building blocks of life.

Credit: Science@NASA

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Expands Network for Measurement of Tiny Airborne Particles

Scientists at NASA have added yet another instrument to an expanding climate research hub at NASA’s Langley Research Center, putting Hampton, Va., on the map in a worldwide network of atmospheric measurements.

The network of instruments exists under the AErosol RObotic NETwork, or AERONET, program, which is dedicated to studying tiny particles in the atmosphere, known as aerosols. Despite their small size, aerosols have a major impact on air quality and human health and also affect Earth’s climate.

To read more about this advancement in climate studies, visit:

This story is a great extension for NASA Now: Climate Change: Sea Level Rise. To gain access to this classroom video, visit the NES Virtual Campus.

Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Perseids

Escape the heat of the waning days of summer for an evening of sky watching. The Perseid meteor shower peaks on the night of August 11 through the morning of August 12. Perseid rates can get as high as 100 per hour, with many fireballs visible in the night sky. A waning crescent moon will interfere slightly with this year’s show, but viewing should definitely be worth a look!

Cloud covering the night sky in your area? Not a problem. On the night of Aug. 11-12, astronomer Bill Cooke and his team from the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about the 2012 Perseid meteor shower via an “Up All Night” live chat. To join the chat, simply head over to this page and log in. The chat experts will be available to answer questions between the hours of 11 p.m. – 3 a.m. EDT, beginning the evening of Aug. 11 and continuing into the morning of Aug. 12.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program Making Progress on Future of American Human Spaceflight

Shuttle clearing the launch towerThrough innovative partnerships with commercial rocket and spacecraft developers, NASA is making great strides to advance America’s next human space transportation systems.

In 2010, President Barack Obama set the agency on a course to provide new transportation into space for its astronauts, while expanding human presence beyond low Earth orbit and enabling new missions of exploration across the solar system.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program was formed to facilitate the development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low Earth orbit.

To read more about the progress of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, visit the Commercial Crew Program Feature page.This article is tied to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Linear Regression: Exploring Space Through Math — Space Shuttle Ascent. To gain access to this lesson, visit the NES Virtual Campus at

A Taste of Solar Maximum

Forecasters say Solar Max is due in the year 2013. When it arrives, the peak of 11-year sunspot cycle will bring more solar flares, more coronal mass ejections, more geomagnetic storms and more auroras than we have experienced in quite some time.

On the weekend of July 14, 2012, sky watchers around the world got a taste of things to come.It was mid-Saturday in North America when a coronal mass ejection or “CME” crashed into Earth’s magnetic field and triggered the most sustained display of auroras in years. For more than 36 hours, magnetic storms circled Earth’s poles. Northern Lights spilled across the Canadian border into the United States as far south as California, Colorado, Kansas, and Arkansas. In the southern hemisphere, skies turned red over Tasmania and New Zealand, while the aurora australis pirouetted around the South Pole.

This lesson is a great extension to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Geometry: Space Math Problems—Solar Storms. To access this lesson, visit: the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus website.

To continue reading this story, visit:

What to Expect When Curiosity Starts Snapping Pictures

Graphic showing location of cameras on Curiosity rover

This graphic shows the locations of the cameras on NASA’s Curiosity rover. The rover’s mast features seven cameras: the Remote Micro Imager, part of the Chemistry and Camera suite; four black-and-white Navigation Cameras (two on the left and two on the right) and two color Mast Cameras, or Mastcams.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA Lands Rover Beside Martian Mountain

Hi-Res image of Mars sent by CuriosityNASA’s most advanced Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet at 10:32 p.m. Aug. 5, PDT, (1:32 a.m. EDT Aug. 6) near the foot of a mountain three miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside Gale Crater. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation.

For more information about this spectacular feat, visit