NASA Loans Lunar and Meteorite Samples to Educators

Lunar Sample DiskSmall samples of representative lunar rocks and soils, embedded in rugged acrylic disks suitable for classroom use, are available for short-term loan to qualified school teachers. Each teacher must become a certified user of the disks through a brief training program prior to receiving a disk. Educational sample disks are distributed on a regional basis from NASA field centers located across the United States. For further details, use the contact information below.

Mary K. Luckey
Education Sample Curator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Mail Code KT
2101 NASA Parkway
Houston, TX 77058-3696
Telephone: 281-483-3154
Fax: 281-483-5347

Wanted: Student Questions for Voyager, Humanity's Farthest Journey

Artist concept showing Voyager spacecraft approaching interstellar space.NASA’s Voyager spacecraft are hurtling towards the edge of our solar system, more than 10 billion miles away from our sun. Interstellar space – the medium between stars – is a region no human-made craft has ever been. On Apr. 28, 2011, a live NASA TV program will feature mission scientists discussing the distant areas Voyager 1 and 2 are exploring, 10 billion miles away from our sun. 

NASA is inviting classrooms to submit their single best question about the Voyager mission and interstellar space to the science panel. We are also inviting students to submit their best idea about what they would put on a new Golden Record, if one were ever created. 

How to Submit a Question

Teachers interested in submitting a classroom question should email as soon as possible to hold a spot in our random drawing. Please put “Voyager Question” in the subject line. Due to resources, only the first 20 educators who express interest will have their class’ question and answer posted on the Voyager website. Approximately 5 of these 20 questions will be randomly selected and submitted to our Voyager science panel during the live NASA TV program. (Note: teachers do not need to send the question immediately; they need only send an e-mail stating their interest in submitting a question.) The first 20 respondents will be given a deadline for question submission. 

How to Submit an Idea for the Golden Record: 

Teachers should send their students’ best idea for the Golden Record by Apr. 21, 2011, to Put Golden Record in the subject line. Ideas will be posted in a timely manner on the Voyager website.nclude school name, city and state along with the Golden Record idea. State if you would like teacher name and grade level included when we post the idea. 


There are many websites to help gather information for questions and Golden Record ideas. Here are a few to check: 


  •  Space Weather Media Viewer (go to Videos on the left and use the drop-down menu for videos to select heliosphere) 
  •  Space Place: Voyager (visit the “Sun Zone” once you go inside)

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

Applications Now Available for NASA's INSPIRE Online Learning Community (9th – 12th Grade)

Inspire bannerApplications for membership to the 2011 – 2012 INSPIRE Online Learning Community, or OLC, are now being accepted. The deadline for applying is 12:00 p.m. CDT on June 30, 2011. This opportunity is for current 8th – 11th grade students, interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, who will be enrolled in grades 9 through 12 for the 2011 – 2012 school year.
Using NASA missions of research and discovery as a foundation, members of the OLC have the opportunity to discover new knowledge while exploring their interests through unique activities and challenges; connect with NASA experts through weekly chats and blogs, as well as their peers on an exclusive discussion board; and equip themselves through access to resources designed to help students prepare for their future as well as information about other NASA competitions/opportunities.

Applications for the OLC can be found on the INSPIRE website.

Click here or more information on the INSPIRE project.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Thrill of Discovery — Educator Workshops in Four Locations

Workshop Banner
It’s 2011 — NASA’s Year of the Solar System! Join us on a cosmic road trip to explore solar system mysteries and share in the thrill of discovery at an exciting new workshop for educators of all grade levels. 
NASA’s Discovery and New Frontiers missions are traveling vast distances to find answers to age-old questions. These celestial detectives are revealing how our solar system formed and evolved, doing brilliant science with “way cool” technologies! 

   • See sights never before seen on Mercury: MESSENGER! 
   • Get up close to asteroids and comets: Dawn, Stardust-NExT and EPOXI! 
   • Map the moon’s gravity with twin satellites: GRAIL! 
   • Peer through Jupiter’s clouds: Juno! 
   • Cruise to the outer reaches of the solar system: New Horizons! 

Hear from mission scientists and engineers, discover engaging activities for grades K-12 classrooms and out-of-school time programs, and receive a resource book loaded with activities and links. 

When: Saturday, March 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at each location listed below.
   • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
   • NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.        
   • Jackson Middle School Observatory, Champlin, Minn.
   • Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
Cost:  $25 (lunch and snacks included).

Special Speakers

  • Six years after launch, MESSENGER will enter orbit around Mercury on March 18. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Sean Solomon, MESSENGER’s Principal Investigator, tell us about the mission’s goals, the science findings so far, and the excitement of reaching the orbiting phase of the mission.
  • The Dawn mission uses ion propulsion to visit the two largest objects in the asteroid belt. Launched in September 2007, Dawn will arrive at asteroid Vesta this July for a year-long orbit. Dawn’s Chief Engineer, Dr. Marc Rayman, will share why this mission is so unique and what scientists hope to learn.
  • Juno’s quest is to aid in the understanding of the formation and evolution of Jupiter, which will help us comprehend the origin of the entire solar system. Juno will launch this August. Dr. Ravit Helled from the gravity team tells us how Juno will reveal “the giant planet story.”
Watch the speakers on the free webinar if you can’t be at one of the sites.
Questions? Send e-mail to Shari Asplund at JPL. 

Education Innovation — Google Science Fair

Google science fair logoOn Jan. 11, 2011, Google launched the inaugural Google Science Fair. Google has partnered with CERN, National Geographic, Scientific American and the LEGO Group to create this new STEM competition. This is a global competition open to any student aged 13-18, and students may enter as individuals or as teams of up to three. There is no entry fee. Registrations and submissions will be made online. The Science Fair will culminate in a celebratory event at Google headquarters in California in July 2011, where finalists will compete for internships, scholarships and prizes in front of a panel of celebrity scientist judges, including Nobel Laureates and household names.

Submissions are due by April 4, 2011. To sign up for free resource kits for your classroom or school, please visit the Global Science fair website.

Geography Trivia From Space

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Expedition 26 commander, uses a still camera to photograph the topography of a point on Earth from a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station.Have you ever wondered what various geographic locations on Earth would look like from space? 

Commander Scott Kelly is living aboard the International Space Station for nearly six months for Expeditions 25 and 26. During this time, he will be capturing images of Earth for scientific observation. Through these snapshots, Commander Kelly will share his view from space and engage the public by a virtual journey around the world via a geography trivia game on Twitter.

LCROSS Results — Back-to-School Special

artist concept of LCROSS in spaceIt’s been a year since LCROSS heroically impacted the moon in search of water. The results of analysis of the impact of LCROSS on the moon have been in the news recently. You may have seen pieces on the news or read about water being discovered on the moon.

On Wednesday, Nov. 3, your students will have a front row seat as Principal Investigator Tony Colaprete and Co-Investigator Jen Heldmann reveal their surprising and exciting findings! You’ll have the chance to ask questions and hear these scientists answer them directly during a 50-minute webcast.

There are two scheduled opportunities on Wednesday, Nov. 3 — 

10 a.m. PDT / 1 p.m. EDT and 1 p.m. PDT / 4 p.m. EDT

Don’t be left out of participating in this unique opportunity. Check your ability to connect to the webcast by going to the “how to” page.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus website.

Expedition 27 and 28 Downlink Opportunity

Call for Proposals: NASA is seeking formal and informal education institutions and organizations, individually or working together, to host a live, in-flight education downlink during Expeditions 27 and 28 (approximately from March to September). To maximize these downlink opportunities, NASA is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the downlink into a well-developed education plan. The deadline to submit a proposal is Dec. 3, 2010.

Opportunity: During Expeditions 27 and 28, crew members aboard the International Space Station will participate in downlinks. Downlinks are approximately 20 minutes in length and allow students and educators to interact with the astronauts through a question and answer session. A downlink is a modified video conference in which participants see and hear the crew members live from space, but the crew does not see the audience. Downlinks afford education audiences the opportunity to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to live and work in space. Downlinks are broadcast live on NASA TV and are streamed on the NASA website. Because of the nature of human spaceflight, organizations must demonstrate the flexibility to accommodate changes in downlink dates and times.

Interested parties should contact Teaching From Space to obtain information related to expectations, content, format, audience, application guidelines and forms by sending an e-mail to or calling 281-244-7608.