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 JSC-Teaching-From-Space@mail.nasa.gov or calling 281-244-7608.

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 http://robonaut.jsc.nasa.gov/default.asp.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Education Blog, Taking Up Space, Is Going to the International Space Station

NASA Educational Technology Services announces a new blog for high school and college students called  “Taking Up Space.” The purpose of the blog is to tell stories and happenings with engineers, scientists, astronauts and many others who work at NASA. Sometimes the stories will just be about cool things going on at NASA and how to get involved with what’s going on. 
An exciting blog entry, posted on Sept. 29, 2010, describes an upcoming event occurring during space shuttle mission STS-133 early in November. NASA writer Heather Smith will talk with an astronaut via an International Space Station educational downlink and is inviting students to visit her “Taking Up Space” social media sites to help her decide which questions to ask. Visit the following sites for more information and to vote for favorite topics and questions.
Social media sites and promotions:

The deadline for participating is Tuesday, Oct. 12.

DIME and WING Student Competitions

Downward view in a NASA drop tower.Dropping In a Microgravity Environment, or DIME, is a competition for high school student teams. WING — “What If No Gravity?” — is the competition for student teams in sixth through ninth grades. Both competitions challenge student teams from the U.S. and U.S. territories to develop and prepare a microgravity experiment. Each team must have an adult supervisor.

Proposals are due Nov. 1, 2010.

Winning teams will design and build the experiments that will be conducted in the 79-foot drop tower at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. When the experiment is dropped, it experiences weightlessness, or microgravity, for 2.2 seconds.

The top four DIME teams will receive an all-expenses-paid trip in March to conduct their experiments, review the results with NASA personnel and tour Glenn’s facilities. All DIME participants visiting NASA must be U.S. citizens.

Four additional DIME teams and up to 30 WING teams will be selected to build their experiments and ship them to Glenn to be drop-tested by NASA. These experiments and the resulting data will be returned to the teams so they can prepare reports about their findings.

For more information about entering NASA’s DIME and WING student team
competitions, visit http://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/DIME.html

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus home page.

Earth Science Week Contests for 2010

If you have any questions about any of the following contests, e-mail the Earth Science Week staff at info@earthsciweek.org.

Earth Science Week 2010 Photography Contest — Open to All Ages

The American Geological Institute is sponsoring a photography contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2010. Photographs should focus on the topic “We Depend on Energy.” The contest is open to any resident of the United States. Participants should submit a picture that best represents the ways their community uses energy. Entries may be submitted electronically or by mail. Only one entry will be accepted per person. The deadline for submitting photos is Oct. 15, 2010.


Earth Science Week 2010 Visual Arts Contest — Open to Students in Grades K-5

The American Geological Institute is sponsoring a visual arts contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2010. Artwork should focus on the topic “Energy on Earth.” The contest is open to students in grades K-5 who are residents of the United States. Participants should submit an original two-dimensional visual arts project that shows energy’s place in the way our planet works. Entries must be submitted by mail. The deadline for submitting entries is Oct. 15, 2010.


Earth Science Week 2010 Essay Contest — Open to Students in Grades 6-9

The American Geological Institute is sponsoring an essay contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2010. Essays should focus on the theme “How Energy Powers the Planet.” The contest is open to students in grades 6-9 who are residents of the United States. Participants should submit an original essay no more than 300 words in length, typed, and formatted to fit on one page. Entries may be submitted electronically or by mail. The deadline for submitting entries is Oct. 15, 2010.


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 www.arizonadesertrats.com.

For more information about Desert RATS visit https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/analogs/desert_rats.html.

Check out videos of this year’s mission on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/NASAanalogTV

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 (http://crism.jhuapl.edu/). 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 http://mesdt.asu.edu 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 https://www.nasarealworldinworld.org/.

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to RWIW@nianet.org.