Middle school students are doing research on the International Space Station? You better believe it!
“Insulin’s Molecular Structure in Microgravity” and “Hepatocyte Development in Bioscaffolds Infused with TGFB3 in Microgravity” are both titles of experiments developed by students from Johnston Middle School, in Houston, Texas.
For proof of the inspirational impact of the International Space Station, you need only speak to the educators of the students participating in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, or SSEP. The program offered 41,200 students from around the nation the chance to propose and design a microgravity experiment with the chance of having their experiment flown aboard the space station.
You may read more about this story at www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/SSEP.html.
See how you can inspire your students by getting them involved in a simulated International Space Station experience. Log in to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus website and check out the featured lesson Engineering Design Challenge: Lunar Plant Growth Chamber and the NASA Now program Exercise Physiology: Countermeasures.
NASA has released a new educational game with an air traffic control theme for Apple iPhone and iPad devices. Sector 33 is designed to challenge students in middle school and above to use basic math and problem-solving skills.
An Android version of the app is in development and will be made available in the Android Marketplace in the coming months.
Visit Sector 33 for more information or to download the application free of charge.
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.
This year, the winter solstice takes place on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 12:30 a.m. EST. The winter solstice marks the day when winter officially starts in the Northern Hemisphere and when days start to become incrementally longer. Do you understand why this happens? Find out at the Chandra website and then incorporate the information into the NES lessons Heat Transfer: MESSENGER — My Angle on Cooling (grades 5-8), Analyzing Solar Energy Graphs: MY NASA DATA (grades 9-12), and Temperature and Earth Climate: Modeling Hot and Cold Planets (grades 7-9).
Surprising but true: Every day, on average, more than 40 tons of meteoroids strike our planet. Most are tiny specks of comet dust that disintegrate harmlessly high up in Earth’s atmosphere, producing a slow drizzle of meteors in the night sky. Bigger chunks of asteroid and comet debris yield dozens of nightly fireballs around the globe. Some are large enough to pepper the ground with actual meteorites.
With so much “stuff” zeroing in on our planet, NASA could use some help keeping track of it all.
Enter the Meteor Counter–a new iPhone app designed to harness the power of citizen scientists to keep track of meteoroids.The app is available free of charge in Apple’s app store. Just click on the link in the previous sentence or search for Meteor Counter in the app store, and let the observing begin.
NASA Now — Exploring Asteroids: An Analog Mission is available on the NES Virtual Campus beginning Dec 14, 2011.
NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, project lead Bill Todd describes this analog mission and how aquanauts living and working in an undersea habitat are helping NASA prepare for future asteroid exploration. NASA Now Minutes are excerpts from a weekly current events program available for classroom use at the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.
Preview the program below
NASA 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.
Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.
Did you know there are approximately 19,000 man-made objects orbiting Earth that serve no useful purpose? And those are just the objects having a diameter of 10 centimeters (4 inches) or larger. The estimated population of objects between 1 and 10 cm in diameter is closer to 500,000! Now, think about launching new spacecraft or satellite into space without hitting any of these objects and you can appreciate the kind of work Danielle Margiotta does as an engineer for NASA. Join us at noon EST on Dec. 13, 2011, to ask Danielle questions about the ins and outs of contamination engineering, or how to help a spacecraft and satellites navigate and manage their inevitable encounters with space junk.
Get a real tree this holiday season. Buy it or cut it yourself at a tree farm. Either way, you will be helping the environment.
Surprised? Most people think it’s bad to cut a live holiday tree. Instead, they buy an artificial tree made of plastic or other synthetic material. Because they reuse this artificial tree year after year, they think they are saving real trees. Farmers plant Christmas trees in rows just as if they were corn.
But not so. Farmers grow trees especially for the holidays. They plant huge tracts of land in beautiful noble pines, Douglas firs, blue spruce, and other favorites. It may take 8 to 12 years to grow a good sized tree. But during that time, the tree is taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. It is cleaning the air and helping global warming. If people didn’t buy the cut trees, the farmers wouldn’t plant them.
When you are done with your holiday tree, you can recycle it. Most cities have programs to pick up your holiday tree and grind it up into mulch. Then it is spread back onto the land to help grow something else-or more trees.
No matter how many years you reuse an artificial tree, someday it will get thrown away and end up in a landfill for the next 1000 years!
So, help save Earth. Chop down a tree!
Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.