NASA Education Express Message — March 17, 2011

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

NASA Launches Women@NASA Website
Audience: All Educators and Students

NASA Webchat — Data Mining Digs up Clues for Aviation Safety
Audience: 9-Higher Education Educators and Students
Event Date: March 23, 2011

Free Webcasts — Physics Phundamentals
Audience: 5-12 Educators and Students
Event Date: March 24, 2011

Free Exploring Space Lecture Series — Attend in Person or View Online
Audience: All Educators and 9-Higher Education Students
Event Dates: Monthly March 24 – June 9, 2011

2011 Heliophysics Educator Ambassador Program
Audience: 6-8 Educators
Application Deadline: March 25, 2011

Center for Astronomy Education Teaching Excellence Workshops
Audience: Higher Education Educators and Students
Event Dates: Multiple Dates March 26 – July 17, 2011

NASA Seeks Partners To Manage Night Rover, Nano-Sat Launcher Challenges
Audience: U.S. Non-Profit Organizations

Night Rover Challenge Proposal Deadline: April 22, 2011
Nano-Satellite Launcher Challenge Proposal Deadline: May 6, 2011

Airborne Research Experiences for Educators and Students
Audience: 6-9 Educators

Application Deadline: April 29, 2011


NASA Launches Women@NASA Website

To celebrate Women’s History Month, NASA recently unveiled a new website that features women in NASA careers telling their stories in their own words. The website has 32 video interviews with women of diverse backgrounds who represent different aspects of the agency’s work. Subjects include NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, astronauts, engineers and scientists. They discuss their accomplishments and offer encouragement to women and girls considering technical careers so they can become the trailblazers of tomorrow. The site also provides information about NASA internships and career opportunities.

To watch the interviews and learn more, visit


NASA Webchat — Data Mining Digs up Clues for Aviation Safety

When an airplane flies through the air, hundreds of data streams — pilot reports, incident reports, control positions, instrument positions and warning modes — fly from it every second. There’s so much data, it has been difficult for airlines to do anything other than search for the cause of something that has already happened.

Enter the data mining detectives from NASA. Data mining involves analyzing mountains of data and summarizing it into useful information. (Popular search engines do this every second.) NASA’s is using data mining to search for clues that could predict safety issues.

On March 23, 2011, at 2 p.m. EDT, join a live webchat with NASA data mining expert Ashok Srivastava and Southwest Airlines’ Flight Safety Director Jeff Hamlett to find out what makes data mining so hard and how airlines are using data mining “gold” to make flying safer.

To learn more about the chat and how to participate visit

(NOTE: Both chat guests will also talk about data mining on “The Leading Edge,” which streams live on NASA TV at on March 23, from 11 a.m.-noon EDT. To read more about “The Leading Edge,” visit


Free Webcasts — Physics Phundamentals

Join educators Rachel Power and Joshua Santora from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as they explore what happens when physics and fun collide. Become a virtual member of the audience at Busch Gardens Tampa during this full velocity Physics Phundamentals show, which is offered exclusively to Physics Day students.

Each 30-minute show is designed to show students how physics is something that is encountered constantly. Topics such as action/reaction (Newton’s Third Law), combustion/propulsion, kinetic/potential energy, states of matter/phase change, inelastic collisions and sound waves will be covered in each show.

Four webcasts will take place on March 24, 2011. Shows will begin at 9:30 a.m. EDT, 10:30 a.m. EDT, 11:30 a.m. EDT, and 12:30 p.m. EDT.

For more information and to watch the webcasts, visit

Questions about the Physics Phundamentals webcasts should be e-mailed to Rachel Power at


Free Exploring Space Lecture Series — Attend in Person or View Online

The 2011 Exploring Space Lectures will feature world-class scholars discussing the incredibly diverse worlds that make up our solar system. The lectures will be held at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and are free to attend. Tickets are required. The lectures will be webcast live for free viewing online. Lecture videos will be archived.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory: The Sun Up Close and Personal
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is designed to help us better understand how the sun works and how it influences our lives. Project Scientist Dean Pesnell will discuss how SDO will change how we see the sun inside and out in this lecture illustrated with spectacular images and video.

The lecture will take place on March 24, 2011, at 8 p.m. Come early to see a free film and to meet the lecturer.

For more information, visit

Mars: A Dynamic World
A camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures images of Mars in greater detail than ever before and records the effects of active processes shaping the surface. Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona
will discuss the dynamic activity on Mars and its implications for possible life, including visitors from Earth.

The lecture will take place on April 7, 2011, at 8 p.m. Come early to see a free film and to meet the lecturer.

For more information, visit

Exploring Mercury by Spacecraft: The MESSENGER Mission
Until recently, Mercury was the least explored of the terrestrial planets, visited only by Mariner 10 in the 1970s. In March 2011, the MESSENGER spacecraft goes into orbit around Mercury. Principal Investigator Sean Solomon will guide attendees through the latest images and mission results.

The lecture will take place on May 12, 2011, at 8 p.m. Come early to see a free film and to meet the lecturer.

For more information, visit

The Early Solar System: Dawn at Vesta
In July 2011, the Dawn spacecraft will begin to orbit Vesta, the second most massive object in the asteroid belt. Just weeks before the spacecraft arrives at this previously unseen world, join Co-Investigator Carle Pieters as she discusses the Dawn spacecraft and how we will study the surface of Vesta.

The lecture will take place on June 9, 2011, at 8 p.m. Come early to see a free film and to meet the lecturer.

For more information, visit


2011 Heliophysics Educator Ambassador Program

The 2011 NASA Heliophysics Educator Ambassador Program is currently accepting applications. The program kicks off with a weeklong teacher professional development workshop July 18-22, 2011, at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Ill.

The workshop will focus on in-depth learning experiences in Earth, space and physical science topics for educators teaching in middle school grades. The goal of this program is for participants to gain a better understanding of these content areas and develop the capacity to train other teachers on NASA Heliophysics science and educational resources.

Lodging support for out-of-town participants and stipends for all participants are available.

Applications are due March 25, 2011.

For more information about the Heliophysics Educator Ambassador Program and how to apply, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to


Center for Astronomy Education Teaching Excellence Workshops

The Center for Astronomy Education announces a series of educator workshops for astronomy educators. Advanced workshops are available for participants who have taken part in previous CAE workshops.

The overarching goal of these workshops is for participants to become familiar with research-validated active engagement teaching strategies and assessment materials, as well as how to implement them in their college courses, through role-playing, modeling, practice, and more! To accomplish this goal, participants will learn how to create productive learning environments beginning with a brief review of research on the nature of teaching and learning. Most workshop time will be spent with participants playing the roles of student, instructor, and critical friend to practice implementing active engagement strategies such as interactive lectures, Think-Pair-Share, interactive demonstrations and videos, collaborative groups, Lecture-Tutorials and Ranking Tasks.

One-day Regional Teaching Exchanges are also available. The Regional Exchanges bring past workshop participants, as well as those local to a particular region who were not able to participate in a past workshop, the opportunity to network with their local community of instructors.

March 26, 2011 — New Palz, N.Y.
NASA CAE Northeast Regional Teaching Exchange

April 15-16, 2011 — El Paso, Texas
Improving the College Introductory Courses Through Active Engagement
: A Tier I (Introductory) Workshop

April 16, 2011 — Seattle, Wash.
NASA CAE Northwest Regional Teaching Exchange

May 21-22, 2011 — Boston, Mass.
Improving the College Introductory Astronomy Survey Course for Non-Science Majors Through Active Engagement: A Tier I (Introductory) Workshop

May 22, 2011 — Boston, Mass.
NASA CAE Tier II (Advanced) Special Topics Workshop: Using Technology in the Classroom

July 16-17, 2011 — Hilo, Hawai’i

Effective Implementation of Interactive Instructional Strategies to Improve Learning in Earth and Space Science Introductory Classrooms: A Tier I (Introductory) Workshop

For more information and to register for workshops online, visit

Inquiries about this series of workshops should be directed to
Gina Brissenden at


NASA Seeks Partners To Manage Night Rover, Nano-Sat Launcher Challenges

NASA is seeking partner organizations to manage the agency’s upcoming Night Rover and Nano-Satellite Launcher Centennial Challenges.

NASA’s Centennial Challenges are prize competitions for technological achievements by independent teams who work without government funding. The challenges are extended to individuals, groups and companies working outside the traditional aerospace industry. Unlike most contracts or grants, awards only are made after solutions are successfully demonstrated.

Teams competing in the Night Rover Challenge will need to demonstrate a solar-powered exploration vehicle that can operate in darkness, using its own stored energy. NASA is offering a prize purse of $1.5 million for the rover challenge. The Nano-Satellite Launcher Challenge is to place a small satellite into Earth orbit, twice in one week, with a prize purse of $2 million.

The objective of the Night Rover Challenge is to stimulate innovations in energy storage technologies of value in extreme space environments, such as the surface of the moon, or for electric vehicles and renewable energy systems on Earth. Currently, the solar-powered Mars rovers “go to sleep” during the Martian night. NASA hopes the Night Rover Challenge will generate new ideas that will allow planetary rovers the ability to take on a night shift, and possibly create new energy storage technologies for applications on our home planet.

The Nano-Satellite Launcher Challenge goal is to stimulate innovations in low-cost launch technology for frequent access to Earth orbit while encouraging creation of commercial nano-satellite delivery services. Decreasing the cost of reliably sending small payloads to Earth orbit in a timely manner could create entire new markets for U.S. businesses and provide opportunities for students and researchers to harness the environment of space for technology development and innovative problem solving.

Centennial Challenge events typically include media and public audiences, and may be televised on NASA Television or streamed online. NASA’s agency website also covers the competitions. The competitions provide high-visibility opportunities to partner organizations and sponsors for public outreach.

NASA will choose U.S. non-profit organizations to manage the contests from proposals in response to agency opportunity notices available at and

The organizations that will manage the challenges also will seek sponsors and teams, and conduct publicity and administration of the actual contests. Once selected, the allied organizations will collaborate with NASA to announce challenge rules and details on how teams may enter.

Allied organizations generally seek sponsorships of all monetary sizes and in-kind contributions while providing public recognition to competition sponsors. Arrangements for competition sponsorships will be negotiated directly between the allied organizations and the sponsors and may include competition naming rights for significant contributors.

NASA also is seeking private and corporate sponsors for the Strong Tether, Power Beaming, Green Flight and Sample Return Robot Challenges. NASA is looking for companies, organizations or individuals interested in sponsoring the non-profit allied organizations that manage the prize competitions.

Potential sponsors include for-profit companies and corporations, universities and other non-profit or educational organizations, professional or public organizations, and individuals. Those interested in discussing sponsorship opportunities should respond to a Request for Information at

For more information about NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program, visit

For more information about NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, visit


Airborne Research Experiences for Educators and Students

The NASA Airborne Research Experiences for Educators and Students, or AREES, program is recruiting science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or STEM, and language arts pre-service and in-service educators of students in grades 6-9 to participate in a three-day experiential workshop in Palmdale, Calif. Workshops will be offered July 13-15 and July 27-29, 2011. Participants will learn how NASA conducts airborne science and flight research via NASA interactive, technology-rich learning module for teachers and students.

The workshop is designed to:
1.  Increase educators’ core scientific and research knowledge bases.
2.  Model and promote use of scientific inquiry through problem-based learning.
3.  Provide STEM teachers with a variety of alternative instructional strategies.
4.  Increase commitment and competency to teaching interactive, technology-rich curricula.
5.  Foster use of interdisciplinary teams.

The AREES workshop anchors pre-service and in-service educators in a community of scientific practice through interactions with NASA engineers and scientists. Attendees also visit NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., and NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. Further, educators will learn how to participate in an innovative, emergent teacher-student design challenge: Plan a Flight Mission — Improving Earthquake Monitoring. Select teams and individuals who participate in the challenge may be able to participate in a real airborne research experience in 2012!

Applications will be accepted through April 29, 2011, or until workshops are filled. Applications received after that date will receive consideration as space permits. Teams of two to four teachers are encouraged to apply.

For more information, visit Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Shaun Smith at

The AREES program is offered through the Aerospace, Education, Research and Operations Institute in Palmdale, Calif., and California State University, Fullerton, in partnership with NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center and the Teaching From Space program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.


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: