NASA Now: A-Train: Monitoring the Earth System

Check out part 2 of the NASA Now: A-Train series and learn how NASA uses a constellation of satellites called the A-Train to monitor the Earth system. Five NASA satellites comprise the A-Train. They fly over the same location on Earth within 15 minutes of each other collecting data about the current state of the components of the Earth system.

Link to this NASA Now episode (must be logged into the NES Virtual Campus)

NASA Now: A-Train: Clouds

During this episode of NASA Now, you’ll meet NASA physical scientist Lin Chambers, learn about the role of clouds in the Earth’s energy and water cycles, and find out how NASA collects cloud data. Understanding the impact of clouds is an important key to predicting how Earth’s climate may change in the future. Currently, five Earth observing satellites, known as the “A-Train” orbit the Earth. These satellites orbit in formation, following each other and barrel across the equator at about 1:30 p.m. local time each day. This behavior gives the constellation of satellites its name: The “A” stands for afternoon. By combining different sets of nearly simultaneous observations from these satellites, scientists are able to study important parameters related to climate.

Link to the NASA Now video page. (must be logged into the NES Virtual Campus)

Link to the NES Virtual Campus.

NASA Now: Inflatable Structures

NASA Now logoDuring this installment of NASA Now, NASA senior research engineer Judith Watson describes the project she’s currently working on. She’s one of a team of engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center who are studying inflatable structures that might one day be used to establish an outpost on the moon or Mars.

NASA Now — Path of an Astronaut

NASA Now logoDuring this unique episode of NASA Now, astronaut and veteran spacewalker Mike Foreman describes his experiences from liftoff to living and working in space. He was selected to be an astronaut in 1998. He flew on space shuttle Endeavour in March 2008, and he returned to the station on space shuttle Atlantis in November 2009. Foreman has logged over 637 hours in space, with over 32 of those hours in a spacesuit during five spacewalks.

Watch this episode of NASA Now beginning on Nov. 3 by visiting the NES Virtual Campus website.

NASA Now — The Search for Life

NASA now logoWatch this week’s episode of NASA Now and learn about a mission proposal to send a satellite to Jupiter and its moons Europa and Ganymede. The mission will map the Jovian magnetosphere and its interactions with the Galilean satellites. The mission will characterize water oceans beneath the ice shells of Europa and Ganymede, as we search for signs of life elsewhere in the universe.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus.

NASA Now: Earth Science Week–Exploring Energy

NASA Now logoThe goal of Earth Science Week is to encourage students, educators and the public to explore the natural world and learn about geosciences.


During this installment of NASA Now, you’ll see some of the ways NASA studies Earth. You’ll meet Eric Brown de Colstoun, a physical scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. He describes his work on a NASA project called the Earth Observing System. The EOS consists of a number of satellites measuring the properties of Earth. The remotely sensed electromagnetic data from these satellites are used to examine physical and chemical processes of the Earth system. This allows for a better understanding of climate and climate change, weather patterns, fresh water availability, and other global and local concerns.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus website

NASA Now: Robonaut 2

NASA and partner General Motors are preparing to launch the first humanlike robot into space. Scheduled for launch aboard STS-133 in early November 2010, Robonaut 2 is a dexterous humanoid robot built and designed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The 300-pound Robonaut 2, nicknamed R2, will be the first permanent resident of the International Space Station.

This NASA Now event, available on the NES Virtual campus beginning Oct. 6, 2010, features Josh Mehling, Lead Mechanical Engineer on the Robonaut 2 project at NASA Johnson Space Center. Mehling presents information about the challenges of engineering, designing and building Robonaut 2 and provides the latest information about the robot’s assigned tasks onboard the International Space Station.

For more information about Robonaut 2, visit

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Now: Flight Testing

NASA Now logo
As in the early days of the manned space program, much of NASA’s flight testing still is conducted in the high desert of California, at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center located at Edwards Air Force Base. The desert’s wide open spaces, good weather and long, flat runway at Dryden make it NASA’s premier location for conducting atmospheric flight research and operations, as well as a backup landing spot for the space shuttle.

This NASA Now event, available on the NES Virtual campus beginning Sept. 29, 2010, features Albion Bowers, project manager of the Environmentally Responsible Aviation Project at Dryden. Bowers presents the latest information about some of NASA’s current flight test projects. 

For more information about current NASA flight research projects, visit

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus home page.


The NASA Now program series highlights a current NASA mission,area of research, or career within the agency.

In this, our first program of the 2010-2011 school year, introduce your science or technology classes toone of the many complex problems associated with living and working on the moonor another planetary body. In this NASA Now episode, students get a glimpse at theresearch conducted at NASA’s Lunar SLOPE facility, where scientists andengineers design, build and test wheels for the next generation rover vehicle. Studentssee how the SLOPE scientists and engineers test their prototype wheels on anartificial lunar surface developed especially for this project. Students will geta feel for how the unique properties of the lunar soil shape the design of thewheels.

The event is available atthe NES Virtual Campus’s NASA Now page beginning Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010.

Visit the NASA Explorer Schools home page and click on NASA Now!

Related competitions: 

     Earth Science Week 2010 Photography Contest — Open to All Ages. Deadline for submissions is Oct. 15. 2010.
     Microgravity Competition — High School. Deadline for proposals is Nov 1. 2010.