Desert RATS 2010 Webcast

NASA’s Desert RATS, or Research and Technology Studies, will make its 13th trip to the desert this fall for another round of analog testing.

The Desert RATS tests offer a chance for a NASA-led team of engineers, astronauts and scientists from across the country to come together to conduct technology-development research in the Arizona desert. The location offers a good stand in for destinations for future planetary exploration missions. 

This year’s mission includes a variety of activities geared to inspire students to become space explorers and NASA’s future workforce. On Sept. 1, 2010, at 9:45 a.m. PDT, a 30-minute webcast will highlight the upcoming Desert RATS activities as they kick off the two-week testing period. Students can submit questions to be answered live by actual engineers and scientists that created, built and are testing all of the amazing tools, vehicles and technology. Questions for the NASA field test team can be submitted at

For more information about Desert RATS visit

Check out videos of this year’s mission on YouTube.

Student Opportunity: Mars Exploration Student Data Teams Program for Students in Grades 9 through undergraduate.

Mars Exploration Student DAta Teams logoHave you ever wanted your students to gain real-world science experiences, but you aren’t sure where to go? Then check out the Mars Exploration Student Data Teams, or MESDT, program offered by NASA, Arizona State University’s Mars Education Program, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. In this free program, student teams work with scientists, mission planners and educators on the CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars) team at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory ( The teams research images of Mars using the CRISM instrument, which is currently aboard MRO. CRISM’s primary mission is to search for mineral traces of ancient water as the spectrometer images the planet in up to 544 wavelengths of light.

Student teams are not required to have extensive knowledge of geology, or even Mars, to participate! Students work with real data from the CRISM instrument to assist with future mission landing sites, to find mineral traces associated with certain surface features, and even to submit targeted observations of the surface of Mars!

Visit for more information.

RealWorld-InWorld NASA Engineering Design Challenge

Artist Conception of the James Webb space telescope in space.The RealWorld-InWorld NASA Engineering Design Challenge invites high school students to work cooperatively as engineers and scientists to solve real-world problems related to the James Webb Space Telescope.

In Phase 1 of this education initiative, students explore and design solutions to two real-world problems related to the James Webb Space Telescope. For this phase, participants work in teams of three-to-five students.

Final RealWorld project solutions from this first phase of the challenge are due on Dec. 15, 2010.

Teams who complete Phase 1 are then paired with participating college engineering students to begin Phase 2, the InWorld phase of the challenge. Working in a virtual world setting, each newly formed InWorld team uses 21st-century tools to refine designs and create 3-D models of the Webb telescope.

For more information about the challenge, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to