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

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

YouTube Space Lab

NASA Now: Phase Change and Forces of Flight: Aircraft Icing Research

Join NES in the Icing Research Tunnel at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, when aeromechanical engineer and icing specialist Judith VanZante gives a tour and explains how engineers apply simple concepts in physical science to create windy, cold and wet conditions for aircraft testing.

As you tour the IRT, you will learn how the speed of the wind is increased, how the extreme temperatures in the warm summer months are achieved, what forces act on an aircraft and how a pilot would deal with these forces in icing conditions.

Link to this NASA Now program (requires login to the NES Virtual Campus).

NASA Now Preview

NASA Releasing First Ever Spacecraft Orbital Views of Mercury

Artist Concept: MESSENGER in orbit over MercuryNASA will host a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 16, to reveal new images and science findings from the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. The event will be held in the NASA Headquarters. NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast the event.

NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or MESSENGER spacecraft conducted more than a dozen laps through the inner solar system for six years prior to achieving the historic orbit insertion on March 17.

This news conference connects the NASA MESSENGER mission to the MESSENGER content modules on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus. 

Be sure to watch this exciting news conference and see the new information the MESSENGER satellite is bringing us.

To read more about this amazing mission, visit:

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Now: STS-134 – The Search for Antimatter

NASA Now logoIn this episode of NASA Now, Trent Martin, project manager for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment at Johnson Space Center in Houston, explains how NASA will try to answer one of the fundamental questions in modern physics: “What happened to the primordial antimatter?”
Students will learn what problem scientists hope to solve with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a space-based particle detector, but also why basic research is important to modern physics and all fields of science.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Now Minute: STS-134 – The Search For Antimatter

NES National Student Symposium Showcases Student Research

Students from across the nation will gather at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida May 4-7 for the NASA Explorer Schools National Student Symposium. Future leaders in science, technology, education and math, or STEM, will present their work to NASA scientists, engineers, fellow students and educators.

The competitively selected group of fourth through 12th-graders consists of 58 students and their teachers. The various student research projects were designed to improve learning and bolster interest in STEM disciplines.

The students were required to complete an original investigation focused on existing NASA missions or research interests. Students presented their work to experts at virtual regional symposia held January through March at NASA centers using the agency’s Digital Learning Network.

In addition to presenting their work at the national symposium, participants also will learn more about NASA’s research activities and exploration missions. Students will tour a variety of operational facilities at Kennedy, including the space shuttle launch complex, and participate in a webcase of a career panel featuring NASA scientists, engineers and specialists.

Congratulations to the students and schools attending the National Student Symposium:

School Name



Orleans Elementary School


Hot Air Balloon

Forest Heights Elementary School


When They Build It, We Will Come

Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School


Hand Sanitizer-Friend or Foe?

Franke Park Elementary School


The Insulation Properties of Snow

Johnson Magnet for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


NASA Lunar Plant Growth Chamber

Kate Waller Barrett Elementary School


Save the Earth

Kenneth J Carberry Intermediate School


Growing Crystals

Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School


It’s Just Right

Oceanair Elementary School


What is the Effect of Temperature on the Survival Rate of Yeast?




Harding Middle School


Testing the Effects of Altering Viscosities of Nutritions Supplements

Hobgood Elementary School


One if By Sea, Two if By Land

Lebanon Middle School


Growing plants on the Moon

Northeast Nodaway R-V


The Effect of the Number of Straws on the Distance the Rocket  Racer Travels

Dr. Albert Einstein Academy


Lunar Plant Growth Chamber

Edward Harris Jr. Middle School


Dirty, Stinky Water

Ellen Ochoa Learning Center


Moldilocks and the FunGuy (Fungi)

Island City Research Academy


Life on the Moon

Broughal Middle School


Quasar or Black Hole

Ferndale Middle School


Planting the Future

Hudson Middle School


Water Filtration Challenge

Johnston Middle School


Microbes in Space

Key Peninsula Middle School


Waste Water Recycling System

Shelburne Community School


NASA On Target Challenge

Two Rivers Magnet Middle School


Life on Europa

Middle School at Parkside

7, 8

Mission to Phoebe




Albertville High School


Engineering Design Challenge: Water Filtration 

Central Florida Aerospace Academy of Kathleen High School


The Effect of Sodiium Hypochlorite on the Efficiencies of Carbon Filters

Covenant Christian High School


Parabolar in Sapce and Time

Newnan High School


Lunar Surface Instrumentation

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 to see how we are monitoring air quality daily.

Opportunity for High School Students and Their Teachers to Participate in a Two-Semester Lunar Research Program for the 2011-2012 Academic Year

Lunar and Planetary Institute banner
The Center for Lunar Science and Exploration at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston are looking for teams of highly motivated and dedicated high school students and their teachers to participate in a two-semester lunar research program for the 2011-2012 academic year. Under the mentorship of a lunar scientist, students work alongside their teachers as they undertake a national standards-based research project that engages them in the process of science and supports the science goals of the NASA Lunar Science Institute, or NLSI. At the end of the semester, students present their research results to a panel of lunar scientists in a competition with other teams for a chance to present their work at the NLSI Forum held in July 2012.

Contact Andy Shaner at 281-486-2163 or by e-mail for more information. You can also visit the program’s website or FAQ page.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

High School Students of Registered NES Teachers Invited to Submit Questions to Nobel Prize Winner

This is anexclusive invitation just for participating NASA Explorer Schools high schoolteachers.

Dr. John C. Mather

Are your students boggled by the big bang theory? Are they captivated by cosmic background radiation? Are they fascinated by the formation of planets, stars and galaxies? Then May’s NES online video chat is their chance to have their questions answered. Dr. John C. Mather, Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope and 2006 Nobel Prize winner in physics for his work on the big bang theory, will be answering student questions during a live video chat.

Thehour-long chat will be on Tuesday, May 17, beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Teachersare invited to send up to 10 student questions to Mather through either digitalvideo or email. Video questions will be given priority.

Submitting a Question (The deadlinefor submitting questions is May 1):

 Allquestions must include:

  1. The student’s FIRST NAME only
  2. Grade/subject
  3. School name
  4. The question

For example, “My name is Sara and I’m a 10th-grade astronomystudent at Johnson High School. My question is…”

Video questions:

  1. Request a blank media release form from A completed NES media release form must be submitted for each student featured in a video. Media release forms must be faxed to 216-433-5924 or scanned and sent to with the subject “Media Release for Dr. Mather Chat.”
  2. One student question per file and 10 questions per teacher may be submitted.
  3. To improve the chances of your video being selected, review the “Camera Techniques” list at the bottom of this message.
  4. All submitted video files will be destroyed at the conclusion of the video chat. Questions asked during the chat will be part of the video archive, which will be available on the NES Virtual Campus website.

Email questions: Student questions may be sent bythe teacher to, with the subject, “Dr.Mather Chat.” Teachers may submit up to 10 student questions as text in thebody of a single email and only one email per teacher can be accepted.

Onlyquestions following these guidelines will be considered. Selected questionswill be included in the May 17 chat with Dr. Mather.

Watchthe video chat at on the Virtual Campus.

Camera Techniques for StudentQuestions:

  1. Be sure your camera is set to the highest quality video settings.
  2. Position the camera on a tripod at eye level with the student.
  3. Only the student asking the question should be seen in the video.
  4. Record in a well-lit area, with no bright lights or windows visible in the picture behind the student.
  5. The student should be at least six feet from a wall or background.
  6. The student should be no more than four feet from the camera.
  7. Frame the student from waist up or mid-chest up.
  8. Record in an area free from loud noises or HVAC units.
  9. If possible, for best audio quality, use an external hand-held or lavaliere microphone.
  10. When recording, make sure the student speaks clearly in a full voice and doesn’t rush through the question.
  11. Contact for uploading instructions.

 Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.