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.

Wave at Saturn Photograph

On July 19, 2013, one of the most exciting events of the Cassini mission this year will be when the satellite takes images of the whole Saturn system while it is backlit by the sun. With Saturn covering the harsh light of the sun, mission scientists will be able to gather unique ring science.

Cassini is also going to take images of Earth from the satellite’s location in space, some 1.44 billion kilometers (898 million miles) away. Opportunities to image Earth from the outer solar system are few and far between, and special care must be taken so the satellite’s cameras are not “blinded” by looking in the direction of the sun, where Earth is. There have been only two images of Earth made from the outer solar system in all the time humankind has been exploring space. The first and most distant image was taken 23 years ago by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft from 6 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away, showing Earth as a pale blue dot. The other image was captured by Cassini in 2006 from a distance of 1.49 billion kilometers (926 million miles).

Cassini’s July image is a special opportunity for Earthlings to wave at the “photographer” in the Saturn system. Mission personnel are asking you, or your group, to go outside July 19 and have a photograph taken of you or your group waving, while looking in the general direction of Saturn. You can share your pictures by joining the Flickr group wave at Saturn, adding them to the Wave at Saturn Facebook event page, or tagging pictures on Twitter #waveatsaturn. The mission hopes to make a special collage of all of the images if they receive enough of them.

The Cassini portrait session of Earth will last about 15 minutes from 2:27 to 2:42 p.m. PDT. For more information about Waving at Saturn, visit

EarthKAM Summer 2013 Mission

ISS EarthKAMStudents and educators are invited to join NASA for the Sally Ride EarthKAM Summer 2013 Mission from July 9-12, 2013. Guide your students in hands-on research as they program a camera aboard the International Space Station to take pictures of specific locations on Earth. The optional online curriculum at the Sally Ride EarthKAM website is designed for middle school students, but could easily be adapted for other grade levels. All students and educators are invited to participate, including participants in summer and after-school programs.

For more information and to register for the upcoming mission, visit the Sally Ride EarthKAM home page at

Want to go to Mars? Here's a second chance.

Artist concept of MAVEN spacecraft orbiting MarsIf you missed out on the opportunity to send your name to Mars as part of the Curiosity mission (see the NES Teachers Corner article, Want to go to Mar? Here’s Your Chance) here’s a second opportunity.

NASA is inviting members of the public to submit their names and a personal message online for a DVD to be carried aboard a spacecraft that will study the Martian upper atmosphere.

The DVD will be in NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft, which is scheduled for launch in November, 2013. The DVD is part of the mission’s Going to Mars Campaign coordinated at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

The DVD will carry every name submitted. The public also is encouraged to submit a message in the form of a three-line poem, or haiku. However, only three haikus will be selected. The deadline for all submissions is July 1, 2013. An online public vote to determine the top three messages to be placed on the DVD will begin July 15, 2013.

To read more about this opportunity, visit

This is a fantastic extension to NASA Explorer Schools’ Curiosity Month NASA Now programs. To check out these episodes, visit the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.

Fly Your Face in Space (EXPIRED)

Smiley face against star field backgroundNASA 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.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

UPDATE: Two NASA Explorer Schools to Participate in NASA’s First Google plus Hangout With the International Space Station

NASA will host its first live Google+ Hangout with the International Space Station from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 EST, Friday, Feb. 22. NASA Explorer Schools students in Mr. Nate Raynor’s class at Mescalero Apache High School in Mescalero, N.M, and students in Ms Danielle Miller’s class at University High School in Orlando, Fla., will connect with astronauts living and working aboard the laboratory orbiting 240 miles above Earth and with astronauts on the ground.

Astronauts Kevin Ford and Tom Marshburn of NASA and Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency will answer questions and provide insight about life aboard the station. Crews conduct a variety of science experiments and perform station maintenance during their six-month stay on the outpost. Their life aboard the station in near-weightlessness requires different approaches to everyday activities such as eating, sleeping and exercising.

Participate by using #askAstro to ask real-time questions on Google+, YouTube or Twitter. On the morning of the event, NASA will open a thread on its Facebook page where questions may be posted.

View the hangout live on NASA’s Google+ page or on the NASA Television YouTube channel. To join the hangout, and for opportunities to participate in upcoming hangouts, visit the NASA’s Google+ page.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools home page.

NASA to Broadcast During Asteroid Flyby

On Friday, Feb. 15, NASA Television will provide commentary from 2 – 2:30 p.m. EST during the close, but safe, flyby of the small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. The half-hour broadcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting. The commentary will be available via NASA TV and streamed live online at and

In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid’s flyby, made available to NASA by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about noon EST and continuing through the afternoon at

Also, a Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be streamed for three hours starting at 9 p.m. EST. To view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter, visit

For more information, including graphics and animations showing the flyby of 2012 DA14, visit

Asteroid Flyby on Feb. 15

On Feb. 15th, an asteroid some 50 meters wide, neither very large nor very small, and is probably made of stone, as opposed to metal or ice will fly past Earth closer than many man-made satellites. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet.



Tuskegee Airmen DLN Opportunity

Tuskegee AirmenConnect with NASA’s Digital Learning Network, and let your students explore history and science with NASA and Tuskegee. On Feb. 20, from 2-3 p.m. EST, your students will have a chance to discuss the early frontiers of aviation with a contrail scientist and a pilot who is president of the Howard Baugh Chapter-Tuskegee in Petersburg, Va.

Classes will be selected to participate in this live event by Feb. 11, 2013.

Spots are limited. Email Bonnie Murray if you are interested in having your students participate.

For more information about this event, visit the Digital Learning Network website.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools home page.

NES Teachers Receive National Educator Achievement Award

Congratulations to two NASA Explorer Schools educators, Lanena Berry from the Houston Independent School District, in Houston, Texas, and Joan Labay-Marquez from Curington Elementary School in Boerne, Texas, who are two of seven recipients of the 2013 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation Educator Achievement Award.

The AIAA Foundation presents the Educator Achievement Awards every two years to classroom teachers who have demonstrated exemplary efforts in exciting students in grades K–12 about the study of mathematics, science and related technical studies, and in preparing them to use and contribute to tomorrow’s technologies.

AIAA Executive Director and former NASA astronaut Sandra H. Magnus stated: “The seven educators selected to receive the 2013 AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Award are a testament to how love of a subject coupled with inspiring teaching helps build the next generation of aerospace engineers and scientists. All it takes is a single spark, lit by an engaging teacher, to ignite the curiosity and interest of a student about the wonder and creativity resident in the world of science and engineering.”

Each winner will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., and will be honored at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala on May 8, 2013.

The AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Award has been presented to over 52 educators since 1997 and has become a sought-after honor in the education community.

For more information on the AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Award, please contact Lisa Bacon or call 703-264-7527.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools home page.