NASA Explorer Schools Announcement

This NASA education service is no longer available. NASA is restructuring its education-related activities in order to streamline and maximize the services it can offer within allocated fiscal resources. As a result, many activities are being restructured or eliminated as they complete their natural period of performance.

NASA remains committed to providing meaningful STEM resources for educators and learners. A wide variety of NASA educational materials, activities, video clips and other related information is available on line. Please visit the NASA Education homepage for more information or to search for such resources:

NES Professional Development Web Seminars: April 9 and 10

Heat, Temperature and Energy: MESSENGER — Cooling with Sunshades
Audience: 6-8 and Informal Educators
Event Date: April 9, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Weather and Climate: Satellite Meteorology
Audience: 6-8 and Informal Educators
Event Date: April 10, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. EDT

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

Get Your Head in the Game

NASA STEM Mania is Coming!


Take part in NASA STEM Mania and discover how sports and NASA have a lot in common. NASA STEM Mania combines the passion of sports with the enthusiasm for learning. During each Web seminar in the series, participants learn how to incorporate sports into various aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Learn NASA content and how topics such as robotics, Newton’s Laws of Motion, the radiation budget and a host of other topics, integrate into your curriculum.

Attend one or more sessions in this unique educator professional development series.

Target Audience: K-12 Educators
Subject Category: Earth Science, Physical Science, Mathematics
Unit Correlation: Exploring Earth, Engineering and Technology, NASA Missions, Space, and Special Programs
Delivery Dates: Feb. 24 – Mar. 20
Delivery Time: 60 – 90 minutes

NES Professional Development Web Seminars the Week of Feb. 10

Engineering Design: Forces and Motion – Balloon Aerodynamics Challenge
Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. EST
Audience: Grades 6-8 educators

Radiation Biology: Ultraviolet Radiation and Yeast
Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. EST
Audience: Grades 9-12 educators

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

Contest: What Would you Send to the ISS?

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization managing research onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, today announced a four-week contest titled “What Would You Send to the ISS?”, which is open to the general public for submissions. Unlike Requests for Proposals CASIS has previously released, submissions for this contest can simply be ideas or concepts, not precise proposals for research. The contest runs through September 16, 2013, just in time to get your students’ creative juices flowing.

To learn more about this contest and how to submit an idea, visit

Be sure to check out all of the ISS-related NASA Now classroom videos and featured lessons on the NES Virtual Campus. Just log into the Virtual Campus and search for “ISS” to see the list of 16 classroom-ready resources to inspire you and your students.

NASA’s IRIS Telescope Offers First Glimpse of Sun’s Mysterious Atmosphere

The moment when a telescope first opens its doors represents the culmination of years of work and planning — while simultaneously laying the groundwork for a wealth of research and answers yet to come. It is a moment of excitement and perhaps even a little uncertainty. On July 17, 2013, the international team of scientists and engineers who supported and built NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, all lived through that moment. As the spacecraft orbited around Earth, the door of the telescope opened to view the mysterious lowest layers of the sun’s atmosphere and the results thus far are nothing short of amazing. The data is crisp and clear, showing unprecedented detail of this little-observed region.

To read more about IRIS and see images of the sun’s atmosphere, visit:

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

Large Coronal Hole Near the Sun’s North Pole

The European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, captured this image of a gigantic coronal hole hovering over the sun’s north pole on July 18, 2013, at 9:06 a.m. EDT. Coronal holes are dark, low-density regions of the sun’s outermost atmosphere, the corona. They contain little solar material, have lower temperatures, and therefore, appear much darker than their surroundings.

To read more about this discovery and view an image of this coronal hole, visit:

This article is a great extension to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Geometry: Space Math Problems—Solar Storms. This lesson can be found on the NES Virtual Campus.

Perseid Meteor Shower

New research by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office shows that one annual meteor shower produces more fireballs than any other–the Perseids. This year’s Perseid peak is just around the corner on August 12-13.



NASA Scientists Search for Habitable Planets

There is only one planet we know of, so far, that is drenched with life. That planet is Earth, as you may have guessed, and it has all the right conditions for critters to thrive on its surface. Do other planets beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, also host life forms?

Astronomers still don’t know the answer, but they search for potentially habitable planets using a handful of criteria. Ideally, they want to find planets just like Earth, since we know without a doubt that life took root here. The hunt is on for planets about the size of Earth that orbit at just the right distance from their star – in a region termed the habitable zone.

NASA’s Kepler mission is helping scientists in the quest to find these worlds, sometimes called Goldilocks planets after the fairy tale because they orbit where conditions are “just right” for life. Kepler and other telescopes have confirmed a handful so far, all of which are a bit larger than Earth — the Super Earths. The search for Earth’s twin, a habitable-zone planet as small as Earth, is ongoing.

To read more about the search for life in the universe, visit .

If you think your students would be interested in searching for habitable planets, check out the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Algeraic Equations: Transit Tracks—Finding Habitable Planets. Students use algebra and Kepler’s 3rd Law to find habitable planets in other solar systems. To access this activity, visit the NES Virtual Campus.