NASA Now: Microbes@NASA: Early Earth Ecosystems

What may look like green slime growing on a pond is what scientists call a microbial mat. Microbial mats are living examples of the most ancient biological communities on Earth. As Earth’s earliest ecosystems, they are important to understanding the history of life on our planet and are useful models for the search for life elsewhere.

During this episode of NASA Now students will learn about microbial mats and see how research into these mats is helping NASA scientists understand how microbes impact Earth, and how this information is used in the search for life elsewhere.

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

Link to other NASA Now events (must be logged into the NES Virtual Campus)

NASA Now: Operation IceBridge

During this week’s NASA Now program, you’ll meet Michael Studinger, Project Scientist for Operation IceBridge. He’ll describe the purpose of the IceBridge campaign and how the campaign objectives will be met. He also explains why studying Earth’s ice is important for understanding climate changes and how they related to humans.

IceBridge uses airborne instruments to map Arctic and Antarctic areas once a year. The first IceBridge flights were conducted in March/May 2009 over Greenland and in October/November 2009 over Antarctica. Other smaller airborne surveys around the world are also part of the IceBridge campaign.

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

Link to other NASA Now events (must be logged into the NES Virtual Campus)

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.

Operation IceBridge Web Chat with Project Scientists

Sun setting over the Antarctic

On Thursday, Nov. 18, IceBridge scientists will be on hand from the field to answer your questions about the mission. Joining the chat is easy. Simply visit this page on Thursday, Nov. 18, from 1 to 2 p.m. EST. The chat window will open at the bottom of this page starting at 12:30 p.m. EST. You can log in and be ready to ask questions at 1 p.m. The time and date is subject to change due to changes in the flight schedule to meet requirements for good weather over science targets.

Link to the IceBridge Mission page.

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.

Spaced Out Sports Contest for Students

Spaced out sports logoSpaced Out Sports is a national student design challenge for students in grades 5-8.  The purpose is for students to apply Newton’s Laws of Motion to designing or redesigning a game for International Space Station astronauts to play in space.  As students design a new sport, they learn about Newton’s Laws of Motion and the effect of gravity on an object.  They predict the difference between a game or activity played on Earth and in the microgravity environment of the ISS. 
Participating student teams submit game demonstrations via a playbook and a video.  Winning teams will be selected regionally and nationally by NASA Stennis Space Center’s Education Office.  

Entries must be postmarked by February 1, 2011.

For more information head on over to the Spaced Out Sports website.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus website.

Want to Go to Mars? Here's Your Chance.

Artist concept of the mars science laboratory rover on MarsSomeday YOU may one of the people to walk around on Mars. That’s some day in the future — way in the future. But here’s your chance to have a presence on Mars soon! Send your name to Mars! Your name will be included with others on a microchip attached to the rover, Curiosity. Launch is scheduled for between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011, with a Martian arrival date of August 2012.

How cool is that?

To send your name to Mars, sign-up at the registration website.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus website.

STS-133 Prelaunch Webcast for Students (date & time update 11-3-10)

Mission Webcast logo shown on TV screen

Date and time to be determined, based on the STS-133 launch schedule: Join hosts Damon Talley and Rachel Power LIVE onthe Web from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the launch of STS-133 and learnabout the mission and crew.

Theshuttle Discovery’s mission will carry Robonaut 2, the Permanent MultipurposeModule, and the Express Logistics Carrier 4 to the International Space Station.STS-133 will be the 35th shuttle mission to the station.

Submitquestions, both leading up to and during the LaunchCast, at Questions will be answered during the live webcast!

Towatch the webcast, go to

To get the latest information about the launch and progress of STS-133, visit the mission website.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus website.

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.