NASA Education Express — Jan. 20, 2011

Check out the following NASA opportunities for the education community. Full descriptions are listed below.

NES Chat With NASA Scientist Joel Levine
Audience: K-12 Educators
Event Date: Jan. 21, 2011

NASA Web Chat: Taking the “Boom” Out of Booms
Audience: 5-Higher Education Educators and Students
Event Date: Jan. 25, 2011

2011 Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars
Audience: Higher Education Students
Deadline: Feb. 1, 2011

NASA LEARN and NES Offering Webinars
Audience: 5-12 Educators
Event Date: Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Feb. 16 and Feb. 23, 2011

Balloonsat High Altitude Flight Student Competition
Audience: 9-12 Educators and Students
Proposal Deadline: Feb. 11, 2011

2011 Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship
Audience: Higher Education Students
Deadline: March 1, 2011

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Opportunity
Audience: 5-12 Educators and Students


NES Chat With NASA Scientist Joel Levine

NASA Explorer Schools invites you to join a live chat on Jan. 21, 2011, from 2-3 p.m. EST, to ask Dr. Joel S. Levine, Chief Scientist of the ARES Mars Airplane Mission, questions about the development of a robotic, rocket-powered airplane that will fly through the atmosphere of Mars to search for evidence of life by looking for trace gases of biogenic origin.

For more information, visit

If you have any questions about the webcast, please contact John Entwistle at

NASA Web Chat: Taking the “Boom” Out of Booms

Loud sonic booms are a barrier to being able to fly over land at supersonic speeds some day. Noise regulations in most countries would not allow supersonic planes to fly over land because of the sonic booms they would generate. NASA is testing ways to take some of the “boom” out of sonic booms. On Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, at 3 p.m. EST, join a live web chat with NASA’s sonic boom “guru,” Ed Haering.

To ever be able to enjoy the benefits of flying people or cargo over land at super-fast speeds, we have to figure out how to turn down the volume on sonic booms.

NASA has been doing flight tests and simulations and ground experiments — with cool names like “Quiet Spike,” “SonicBOBS,” “SonicBREW,” “LaNCETS,” “House VIBES,” “Low Boom/No Boom” — to help find answers.

For more information about the chat and how to participate, visit

If you have any questions about the webcast, please contact Karen Rugg at


2011 Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars

Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars, or LARSS, is a 10-week summer internship at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. Internships are available for rising undergraduate juniors, seniors and graduate students who are pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, materials science, atmospheric science and other aerospace-related fields that lend support to NASA’s mission. Students with other majors also are invited to apply.

The 10-week internship includes doing a research project under the supervision of a researcher, attending technical lectures by prominent engineers and scientists, and presenting project results at a poster session. Additional elements include tours of Langley wind tunnels, computational facilities and laboratories, as well as several networking activities.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens. Applications are due Feb. 1, 2011.

For more information and to apply online, visit

Please e-mail any questions about this opportunity to Debbie Murray at or Sarah Pauls at


NASA LEARN and NES Offering Webinars

NASA LEARN, or Learning Environments and Research Network, and NASA Explorer Schools have teamed up to offer exciting webinars featuring NASA educational resources for educators. Below are four offerings in February 2011. The webinars are presented from 9-10 p.m. EST to be sure educators on both the East Coast and West Coast can participate. And don’t worry about the technology. We have tech support ready to walk you through viewing and participating in the webinars.

You can register for each of the webinars by clicking on these website links:

Smart Skies — Feb. 2, 2011, 9 p.m. EST
Learn how to use an innovative air traffic control simulator to engage your students as they explore the mathematics involved in being an air traffic controller.

Black Hole Math — Feb. 9, 2011, 9 p.m. EST
This session provides teachers with information about one of the most exciting yet misunderstood space phenomenon — black holes. Learn about black hole structure and behavior, and get information on some common misconceptions about black holes.

Engineering Design Challenge: Lunar Plant Growth Chamber — Feb. 16, 2011, 9 p.m. EST
Plant growth will be an important part of space exploration in the future. This webinar will highlight the science of the lunar environment, basic plant needs, the current focus of NASA’s plant research and the systems that are being developed for future missions.

Engineering Design Challenge: Water Filtration — Feb. 23, 2011, 9 p.m. EST
This webinar will highlight the water recovery and management function of the Environmental Control and Life Support System, or ECLSS, on the International Space Station. Students will design, build, test and measure the performance of a water filtration device, analyze the data collected and use this information to work toward an improved filtration design.


Balloonsat High Altitude Flight Student Competition

NASA is inviting student teams to design and build experiments the agency will fly into the stratosphere, a near-space environment, more than 100,000 feet above Earth.

NASA’s second annual Balloonsat High-Altitude Flight competition is open to student teams in ninth to 12th grades from the United States and its territories. Each team of four or more students must submit an experiment proposal to NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland by Feb. 11, 2011. Student teams may propose experiments on a wide range of topics, from bacteria studies to weather observations.

A panel of NASA engineers and scientists will evaluate the submissions based on mission objectives, technical planning and team organization. The top eight proposals will be announced on March 4, 2011.

The top four teams will receive up to $1,000 to develop their flight experiments and travel to Glenn Research Center May 18-20, 2011. During their visit, they will have an opportunity to tour the center, watch as NASA helium weather balloons carry their experiments to the edge of space, recover the experiments and present their results at Glenn’s Balloonsat Symposium.

The other four teams also will receive up to $1,000 to develop their flight experiments and will participate via the Internet when NASA scientists and engineers launch and recover their payloads during the week of May 23, 2011.

For more Balloonsat information, registration forms and project ideas, visit:

This competition and similar educational programs help NASA attract and retain students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These disciplines are critical to the agency’s future programs and missions.

The Balloonsat High-Altitude Flight competition is sponsored by Glenn’s Educational Programs Office and is funded by the Teaching From Space Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. For information about the TFS education program, visit:

If you have questions about Balloonsat, please contact


2011 Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship

Applications are now being accepted for the Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship. Up to 20 fellows will be selected to receive support for graduate education in NASA-related STEM disciplines. The fellowship is open to women, minority and disabled full-time graduate students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students are selected for fellowships that include financial support and opportunity for hands-on research experience at a NASA center. Fellowship tenure is three years for candidates seeking either a master’s or doctoral degree in NASA-related fields.

Applications for this opportunity are due March 1, 2011.

For more information about the fellowship, visit and

To apply for this fellowship online, visit the OSSI: SOLAR (One Stop Shop Initiative: Student On-Line Application for Recruiting Interns, Fellows and Scholars) website

Please e-mail any questions about this opportunity to Brenda Collins at


Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Opportunity

Student Experiments on Space Shuttle Endeavour Flight Attract National Attention in Bold New STEM Education Program

Private Sector Effort Also Offers Potential New Space Shuttle Atlantis Opportunity for 100,000 Students to Participate

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP,, launched June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE, in partnership with NanoRacks LLC (, has selected 16 grade 5-12 student microgravity science experiments to fly on STS-134, the final flight of Shuttle Endeavour currently set to launch April 2011.

Responding to a national announcement of opportunity by NCESSE in June 2010, 16 communities joined the program. Each community was provided an experiment slot in a private sector microgravity research laboratory flying on Endeavour, and which had also flown on seven past Shuttle missions. An experiment design competition in each community, open to up to 3,200 students, allowed student teams to design real experiments vying for their reserved slot on this historic flight. Additional SSEP programming leverages the flight design competition to engage the community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education.

A total of 20,000 students were given the opportunity to participate for STS-134, with 447 proposals submitted by student teams, 293 put forward to preliminary review boards in each of the communities, and 43 finalists put forward to a National SSEP Review Board. The 16 experiments selected for flight include studies of cell biology, life cycles, seed germination, food preservation, and crystal growth.

SSEP is the first pre-college STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture. SSEP is enabled through NanoRacks LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. “SSEP is immersing students in real science, and inspiring our next generation of scientists and engineers so that America can compete in the 21st century,” says Jeffrey Manber, Managing Director of NanoRacks.

“SSEP is designed to empower the student as scientist, and within the real-world context of science. Student teams design a real experiment, propose for a real flight opportunity, experience a formal proposal review process, go through a flight safety review, and have their own science conference, where they are immersed in their community of researchers,” said Dr. Jeff Goldstein, creator of SSEP and NCESSE Center Director in recent video interview on StemStream TV on the TV Worldwide Network. ”Science is more than a way of thinking and interacting with the natural world. Science is also a complex social landscape filled with challenges, and the need for successful communication with one’s peers. SSEP is about introducing real science to our children.”

The vision for SSEP is to provide routine student access to space via commercial payloads, and to leverage the power of such access into STEM education delivered across an entire school district, and serving a national, even international network of such communities.

Given the interest in this first flight opportunity, the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education is now announcing a Student Spaceflight Experiments Program opportunity for STS-135, the final flight of Atlantis, and the final flight of the U.S. Shuttle program, assuming Congress authorizes this additional mission. The STS-135 opportunity is available to school districts across the U.S. as well as Canada, and has been expanded to include U.S. 2-year community colleges. The Center expects that up to 50 communities will participate, engaging 100,000 grade 5-14 students in this historic adventure.

NCESSE and NanoRacks are now planning the details of a post-shuttle SSEP initiative utilizing the unique hardware of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, with participation open to the ISS partner nations. “The SSEP is a model program for engaging students in the NASA mission in a hands-on manner. The real-world experience these student scientists will gain by developing actual flight experiments will be invaluable to their STEM educational development,” says Mark Severance, NASA Education Projects Manager for the ISS National Laboratory. “We look forward to working with NCESSE and NanoRacks to host future iterations of SSEP on the NanoRacks Platform onboard the International Space Station.”

SSEP Home Page:

SSEP Overview PDF:

SSEP Participating Communities:

Student Proposals Selected for Flight on Shuttle Endeavour:

SSEP In the News:

STEM Learning Community Model:


The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) creates and oversees national initiatives addressing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, with a focus on earth and space. Programs are designed to provide an authentic window on science as a human endeavor. Central objectives of the Center’s programs are to help ensure a scientifically literate public and a next generation of U.S. scientists and engineers—both of which are of national importance in an age of high technology. NCESSE is a Project of the Tides Center.

About NanoRacks
NanoRacks, LLC designed and operates research platforms onboard the ISS U.S. National Laboratory that permits low-cost research using payloads in the CubeSat form factor. The company also is planning space station hardware that will permit low-cost, in-orbit analysis of microgravity research. The company brings together entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers who share a passion for entrepreneurial space including our utilization of low-earth orbit. NanoRacks currently enjoys a backlog of over 60 payloads from research, commercial and educational customers.

If you have questions about this
Student Spaceflight Experiments Program opportunity, please contact Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Center Director, NCESSE, at or 301-395-0770.


Don’t miss out on education-related opportunities available from NASA. For a full list of Current Opportunities, visit

Visit NASA Education on the Web:
For Educators:
For Students:
NASA Kids’ Club:

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