NASA'S Orion Lands Safely on Two of Three Parachutes in Test

NASA engineers have demonstrated the agency’s Orion spacecraft can land safely if one of its three main parachutes fails to inflate during deployment.

The test was conducted Feb. 12 in Yuma, Ariz., when the test capsule was dropped from an airplane 7.62 kilometers, or 25,000 feet, above the Arizona desert. Engineers rigged the parachutes so only two would inflate, leaving the third to flag behind.

To watch a video of the parachute testing, visit https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv/chutetest_041812.html.

As NASA prepares Orion to take astronauts farther into space, take a look back at the recently ended shuttle program, and have your students track the linear regression of a space shuttle launch! Check out the launch video of shuttle mission STS-121, and then have them create a scatter plot from real launch data. “Linear Regression: Exploring Space Through Math — Space Shuttle Ascent” is a featured lesson on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.

Celebrate Pi Day with Calculator Controlled Robots Mission

March 14 is Pi day! That is, 3/14, and the NES lesson, Calculator Controlled Robots, has a mission devoted to circles and Pi.

In mission 4, students create three different size circles using three different robot wheel movements. They can attach a marker at different positions as well as use different turn commands to create larger or smaller circles. For each circle, students measure the diameter with a length of string and determine how many string-lengths it takes to go around the outside of the circle.

This helps them discover that the distance around each circle, no matter what size is a little more than three lengths of string, or the diameter, for each circle of different diameter. The discovery of Pi leads to the circumference formula as well as the area formula.

You can find the Calculator Controlled Robots lesson after logging in to the NES Virtual Campus.

Fly Your Face in Space (EXPIRED)

NASA wants to launch a picture of you on the final space shuttle mission.

After registering at the Face in Space website, you’ll be able to upload an image that will be put on a disc and flown aboard the shuttle Atlantis. After launch, participants will be able to print a commemorative certificate signed by the mission commander. From the Face in Space website you can also check on the mission status, find NASA educational resources, and follow the crew on Twitter or Facebook.

Professional Development Web Seminar: Meteorology–How Clouds Form

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a free 90-minute Web seminar on March 14, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Learn about the relationships between air pressure, temperature, volume and cloud formation. Get an overview of the necessary conditions for cloud formation and then see how to make a cloud in a bottle. Information will be provided about an extension activity, the S’COOL Project, which involves student participation in authentic science.

This is the last time this seminar will be offered during the current school year.

For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

Professional Development Web Seminar: Algebraic Equations — Calculator Controlled Robots

As 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 Web seminar on March 13, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Discover a unique way of integrating robotic technology into your algebra classes. Robotic missions engage students and provide a unique way of bringing to life the concepts you are teaching. Learn to use programmable Texas Instruments, or TI, calculators and Norland Research Robots to solve problems requiring substituting values for variables in formulas.

This seminar provides an overview of using robotics in algebra so you can make an informed decision about purchasing the robots and other equipment. You do not need to have a Norland Research Robot or programmable TI calculator to participate in this seminar, or know how to program the calculator.

This is the last time this seminar will be offered during the current school year.

For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

Video Chat: Solar Max Storm Warning!

Join us on March 14 from 1 – 2 p.m. EDT when Lou Mayo, a Planetary Scientist, will field student questions about the importance of tracking and understanding the impacts of solar activity on Earth and the increase in solar activity during the upcoming solar maximum period. You do not want your students to miss this solar storm warning and an opportunity to ask May about how Earth will be affected.

15 minutes prior to the start of the video chat, go to the event page and log into the chat window. Questions can be submitted by typing them in the chat window, or through Twitter by tagging the tweet with #NESChat, or by emailing them to NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov. Include the grade and school name. Questions will be answered as time allows.

Professional Development Web Seminar: Chemistry of Water — Is There Water on Mars?

The NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute Web seminar on March 12, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. “Chemistry of Water: Mars Exploration — Is There Water on Mars?” is an inquiry-based lesson on how atmospheric pressure and vapor pressure affect the boiling point of water. See why the boiling point of water is pressure-dependent, rather than temperature-dependent. Then, by extension, you will deduce if there could be liquid water on Mars.

This is the last time this seminar will be offered during the current school year.

For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

NASA Now: Inspiration and Education — Building a Career at NASA

Be sure not to miss the March 6, 2013 episode of NASA Now, introduced by NES educator Erin Warrilow from Dresden Middle School, when three experts who work in very different fields at NASA discuss their jobs, responsibilities and what they enjoy most about their work. They also talk about what inspired them to pursue their careers and offer career advice to students.

Here’s a preview of the program.

NASA Now Minute