NES National Student Symposium

The NES Virtual Student Symposium provides the opportunity for up to two teams of two students to share the results of an investigation or NASA design challenge with NASA scientists, engineers, technicians and educators. Participation in the Virtual Student Symposium is a prerequisite for getting invited to the all-expenses-paid NES National Student Symposium to be held at a NASA field center on May 2-5, 2012. The investigation or design challenge may be conducted as a classroom activity or done by students on their own, based on their own interests. The investigation or design challenge must relate to a NASA Explorer Schools teaching module or NASA Now episode on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.


For more information about this exciting student opportunity, log into the NES Virtual Campus and visit the Student Recognition page.



2011 OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award Video Contest

Optimus PrimeNASA has opened registration for the 2011 OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award Contest. Featuring OPTIMUS PRIME, the leader of the popular TRANSFORMERS brand, the contest highlights spinoffs from NASA technologies that are used on Earth. The goal is to help students understand the benefits of NASA technology to their daily lives. Last year’s contest was open to students in grades 3-8 and resulted in 76 video submissions from over 190 students in 31 states.


For 2011, the OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award Contest has been expanded to include students in grades 3-12. Each student, or group of students, will submit a three- to five-minute video on a selected NASA spinoff technology listed in NASA’s 2010 “Spinoff” publication. Videos must demonstrate an understanding of the NASA spinoff technology and the associated NASA mission, as well as the commercial application and public benefit associated with the spinoff technology.

Participants must register for the contest by Jan. 3, 2012.

Video entries are due Jan. 17, 2012.Video entries will be posted on the NASA YouTube channel, and the public will be responsible for the first round of judging. The top five submissions from each of the three grade groups (Elementary [3rd-5th], Middle [6th-8th] and High School [9th-12th]) will advance for final judging. A NASA panel will select a winning entry from each group. Among other prizes, a crystal OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award Trophy will be given to winners at a special awards ceremony being held in Florida in April 2012. The innovators associated with the NASA technology highlighted in the winning videos also will receive trophies, as will their commercial partners.

For more information, visit the OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award website.

Questions about this contest should be directed to Darryl Mitchell at Darryl.R.Mitchell@nasa.gov.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.


Team America Rocketry Challenge

Team America Rocketry Challenge logoRegistration is open for Team America Rocketry Challenge 2012, a national model rocket competition for U.S. students in grades 7-12. Thousands of students compete each year, making TARC the world’s largest model rocket contest. Cash prizes are awarded to the top finishers. Participation is limited to the first 1,000 teams who register by Nov. 30, 2011.

For more information and to register visit the competition website.



NASA Announces two National Student Science Competitions

a dimeNASA is offering students the opportunity to compete in two microgravity challenges: “Dropping In a Microgravity Environment,” or DIME, and “What If No Gravity?” or WING.

DIME is a team competition for high school students in the ninth through 12th grades. WING is a competition for student teams from the fifth through eighth grades. Both are project-oriented activities that last throughout the school year for the selected teams.

DIME and WING are open to student teams from all 50 states, Washington, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each team must have an adult supervisor, such as a teacher, parent or technical consultant. Teams may be from any type of organization or club, such as a science class, a group of friends, a scout troop or youth group.

Proposals are due by Nov. 1. A panel of NASA scientists and engineers will evaluate and select the top-ranked proposals by Dec. 1. The winning teams will design and build the experiments that will be conducted in the 2.2-Second Drop Tower at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

The 79-foot tower gets its name because when an experiment is “dropped” into it, the package experiences weightlessness, or microgravity, for 2.2 seconds. Researchers from around the world use this tower to study the effects of microgravity on physical phenomena, such as combustion and fluid dynamics, and to develop new technology for future space missions.

The top four DIME teams will receive an expense-paid trip to Glenn in March 2012 to conduct their experiments, review the results with NASA personnel and tour the center’s facilities. All DIME participants visiting NASA must be U.S. citizens.

Four additional DIME teams, and up to 30 WING teams, will be selected to build their experiments and ship them to Glenn for NASA testing. These experiments and the resulting data will be returned to the teams, so they can prepare reports about their findings.

If you have questions or are looking for more information about entering DIME and WING student team competitions, visit http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/DIME.html

Link to the NES Virtual Campus.

YouTube Lab-What will you do?

Space helmet and book bag.If you’re 14 to 18 years old, come up with a science experiment for space and upload a video explaining it to YouTube. If your idea wins, it will be performed on the International Space Station and live streamed on YouTube to the world. And you’ll get some out-of-this-world prizes, too.

Can plants survive beyond the Earth? Could proteins in space reveal the mysteries of life? Science in micro gravity can help unlock the answers. The countdown’s begun.

For more information about this opportunity visit https://www.youtube.com/SpaceLab.


YouTube Space Lab

International Observe the Moon Night on October 8

Rising moon with tree in silhouetteYou’re invited to join people from all over the world to celebrate the second annual International Observe the Moon Night on Oct. 8, 2011. 

For more information and resources for planning your own International Observe the Moon Night event, visit: http://observethemoonnight.org/. The website features activities, educational materials, multimedia and much more!

This event is a great extension to NASA Explorer Schools featured lessons, Engineering Design Process: On the Moon. To access these lessons, visit the Teaching Materials section (requires log in) of the Virtual Campus.


NASA Invites Students to Name Moon-Bound Spacecraft

Artist concept of GRAIL twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon.NASA has a class assignment for U.S. students: help the agency give the twin GRAIL mission spacecraft headed to orbit around the moon new names.

The naming contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade at schools in the United States. Entries must be submitted by teachers using an online entry form. Length of submissions can range from a short paragraph to a 500-word essay. The entry deadline is Nov. 11.


For contest rules and more information, visit: http://grail.nasa.gov/contest

Email questions to: grailcontest@jpl.nasa.gov

For more information about GRAIL, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/grail

Live Video Chat on September 27: ARGOS

Human test participant in ARGOS harness with Larry Dungan (in hard hat)NASA Explorer Schools invites students in grades 9-12 from across the U.S. and Departments of Defense and State schools to participate in a special live video web chat with Larry Dungan, project manager and electrical engineer designer for the Active Response Gravity Offload System. Dungan will answer student questions about ARGOS, a computer-controlled overhead crane system that allows a human test subject to move in a simulated reduced-gravity environment, such as the moon, Mars or space.

This hourlong video webchat begins at 2 p.m. EDT on Sept 27, 2011.

You do not need to be a participant of the NASA Explorer Schools project to participate in the chat.

For background information about ARGOS, visit the ARGOS website

To learn more about NES, visit the NASA Explorer Schools website.

For more information or to participate in this NES live video chat, visit the chat website.

If you have any questions about the video chat, contact NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

Live Chat With NASA Astronaut Michael J. Foreman

NASA Explorer Schools would like to extend an invitation to K-12 students across the United States to participate in a webchat with astronaut and veteran spacewalker Mike Foreman. The event will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. EST on Nov. 22, 2010. Foreman will answer questions about his spacewalking experiences, living and working in the microgravity environment of space, and his unique career path from high school through astronaut training.


For more information go to the information page on the NES Virtual Campus.

NASA Features Earth Day Video Contest!

Everyone knows NASA as the space exploration agency. It’s easy to forget that exploring Earth is exploring a celestial body. It is, in fact, the only planet we’ve ever been to — our Home Frontier. To continue the celebration of Earth Day, NASA is giving you an opportunity to produce a short video about what you find inspiring and important about our unique view of Earth and understanding about how our planet works. After the contest ends on May 27, 2011, the feature selected as the best entry — chosen by a panel of NASA scientists and communicators — will be posted on the NASA home page.

Read the article in NEON for instructions and an overview of the video submission process.

Be sure to log into the NES Virtual Campus and check out our related Earth Day edition of NASA Now: Earth Day – Smog Bloggers at http://explorerschools.nasa.gov to see how we are monitoring air quality daily.