Dec. 10 — Total Eclipse of the Moon

The action begins around 4:45 a.m. Pacific Standard Time when the red shadow of Earth first falls across the lunar disk.  By 6:05 a.m. Pacific Time, the moon will be fully engulfed in red light. This event—the last total lunar eclipse until 2014—is visible from the Pacific side of North America, across the entire Pacific Ocean to Asia and Eastern Europe.

Learn more about lunar eclipses by viewing the video below.

Special 'Arthur Christmas' Segment Featuring NASA Spinoff

Sony Pictures Animation team created a special one-minute segment from the film to help bring attention to the many high tech gadgets and everyday items that come from NASA technology. The educational segment premiered on the Smithsonian Channel during primetime on Tuesday, Nov. 22. It also can be downloaded for use by educators and media.

Video — Arthur Christmas: Elf 6409EF Discusses NASA Technology

Mars Rover Curiosity Takes Off

United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, including the new rover, Curiosity, lifting off on time on the first opportunity at 10:02 a.m. EST on Nov. 26.NASA began a historic voyage to Mars with the Nov. 26 launch of the Mars Science Laboratory, which carries a car-sized rover named Curiosity. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas V rocket occurred at 10:02 a.m. EST (7:02 a.m. PST).

The mission will pioneer precision landing technology and a sky-crane touchdown to place Curiosity near the foot of a mountain inside Gale Crater on Aug. 6, 2012. During a nearly two-year prime mission after landing, the rover will investigate whether the region has ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life.

For more information visit

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Now: Orbital Mechanics – Earth Observing Satellites

NASA Now logoDr. James Gleason, project scientist for NPP, explains what it takes for a satellite to stay in orbit, why there are different types of orbits, and why satellites orbit Earth at different altitudes depending on their purpose.

This program is available on the Virtual Campus beginning Nov. 2.

NASA Now Preview

Giant-sized Webb Space Telescope Model to 'Land' in Baltimore

James Webb Space Telescope in GermanyBaltimore’s Maryland Science Center is going to be the “landing site” for the full-scale model of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, and it’s free for all to see. 

The life-sized model of the Webb telescope is as big as a tennis court, and it’s coming to the Maryland Science Center at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from Oct. 14-26, 2011. It’s a chance for young and old to get a close-up look at the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope in the same size it will be launched into space.

On May 17, NASA Explorer Schools hosted a live interactive video webchat with Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather. Mather, Senior Project Scientist for James Webb Space Telescope, answered questions from students across the country. To watch a video archive of the chat, visit

To read more about this amazing opportunity to see a full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope, visit

U.S. Postal Service Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Manned Spaceflight With Commemorative Stamps

Commemorative StampsThe 50th anniversary of America’s first manned spaceflight is being commemorated with the issuance of two stamps. The stamps went on sale May 4, 2011.

One stamp salutes NASA’s Project Mercury, America’s first manned spaceflight program, and NASA astronaut Alan Shepard’s historic flight on May 5, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Freedom 7.

The other stamp draws attention to NASA’s unmanned MESSENGER mission, a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. On March 18, 2011, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to enter into orbit around Mercury.

These two historic missions frame a remarkable fifty-year period in which America has advanced space exploration through more than 1,500 manned and unmanned flights.

Donato Giancola of Brooklyn, N.Y., who based the stamps on NASA photos and images, designed both stamps.

The release of the MESSENGER stamp is related to the NASA Explorer Schools content module, MESSENGER: Cooling with Sunshades. To learn more about the MESSENGER stamp, go to the article in NEON.

To use the MESSENGER: Cooling With Sunshades lesson and activity in your classroom, log into the NES Virtual Campus and click on the Teaching Materials button in the left column. The activity is an engaging, hands-on lesson covering physics concepts including temperature, latent heat, state of matter and transfer of energy.

Unique Space Image of Alabama Tornado Tracks

An ASTER visible-IR image of tornado damage near Tuscaloosa, AlabamaNASA has released a unique satellite image tracing the damage of a monster EF-4 tornado that tore through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on April 27th. It combines visible and infrared data to reveal damage unseen in conventional photographs.

“This is the first time we’ve used the ASTER instrument to track the wake of a super-outbreak of tornadoes,” says NASA meteorologist Gary Jedlovec of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.

For more information and additional images, read the full article.

NASA Prepares to Orbit Mercury

Artist concept: Messenger orbiting MercuryToday, Mar 17, NASA’s MESSENGER probe will become the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. It’s a seminal moment in planetary exploration. Researchers can finally take a good long look at a rocky world that is both akin to Earth and shockingly alien.

The sun blazes up to 11 times brighter there than at Earth, and surface temperatures at Mercury’s equator can reach 450 degrees Celsius (840 degrees Fahrenheit). The small planet’s hot dayside radiates much of that thermal energy back into space at a rate four times that at Earth.

Researchers are anxious for new discoveries at Mercury. It’s a planet of many mysteries: the most active planetary exosphere in the whole solar system, a surprisingly “live” magnetic field that has puzzled scientists for years, a core that makes up 60% of the planet’s mass and is at least partially liquid, an intriguing landscape pitted with an interesting variety of craters and volcanic vents and marked by towering scarps that snake hundreds of miles across the planet’s face. And that’s just for starters.

MESSENGER is bristling with scientific instruments – high resolution imagers, lasers, and magnetometers – designed to solve these mysteries once and for all.

NASA Explorer Schools educators can check out these related Resources on the Virtual Campus:
• Teaching Module – MESSENGER: Cooling with Sunshades
• Teaching Module -MESSENGER: My Angle on Cooling-Effects of Distance and Inclination
• NASA Now: MESSENGER in Orbit

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Link to register for the NASA Explorer Schools project.

Sun-Earth Day 2011: Ancient Mysteries — Future Discoveries

Join NASA in celebrating Sun-Earth Day on March 19, 2011.

Sun-Earth day banner

Sun-Earth Day comprises a series of programs and events that occur throughout the year, culminating with a celebration on or near the spring equinox. This year’s theme, “Ancient Mysteries — Future Discoveries,” opens the door to a much deeper understanding of the sun and its impact across the ages.

Over the past 10 years, the NASA Sun-Earth Day team has sponsored and coordinated education and public outreach events to highlight NASA heliophysics research and discoveries. The SED team’s strategy involves using celestial events, such as total solar eclipses and the transit of Venus, as well as Sun-Earth Day during the March equinox, to engage K-12 schools and the public in space science activities, demonstrations and interactions with space scientists.

On March 19, 2011, join the Sun-Earth Day team for a live Sun-Earth Day webcast. For this webcast, the team will combine forces with the award-winning NASA EDGE team known for their offbeat, funny and informative look behind the NASA curtain. The webcast will focus on sites in the United States and Mexico that present unique opportunities to develop cultural connections to Native Americans, highlighting the importance of the sun across the ages.

You can participate in this year’s celebration through Twitter! Over 100 participants will be attending a tweetup at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Everyone talking about the webcast and tweetup will add #SED2011 or #NASATweetup to the end of their tweet. Don’t miss out on a variety of very lively conversations! To learn how to host your own tweetup, visit

For more information, educational resources and social media connections, visit the Sun-Earth Day website at 

Questions about Sun-Earth Day events should be e-mailed to