NASA Education Express — Aug. 25, 2011

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

Meteorology: How Clouds Form Webinar
Audience: 5-8 and Informal Educators
Event Date: Aug. 30, 2011

High Power Microscopes: The Virtual Lab Webinar
Audience: 9-12 and Informal Educators
Event Date: Aug. 31, 2011


DEADLINE APPROACHING: 2011 SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge
Audience: 9-12 Educators and Students
Registration Deadline: Sept. 5, 2011

Teaching From Space Office Seeks Educators to Experience Microgravity
Audience: K-12 Educators
Proposal Deadline: Sept. 21, 2011

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Meteorology: How Clouds Form Webinar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute webinar on Aug. 30, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Learn about the relationships between air pressure, temperature, volume and cloud formation. The presenter will provide an overview of the necessary conditions for cloud formation and then show how to apply them to making a cloud in a bottle. Information will be provided about an extension activity, the S’COOL Project, which involves student participation in authentic science.

For more information and to register online, visit URL http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/symposia_seminars/NES2/webseminar2.aspx.

To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit http://explorerschools.nasa.gov.

E-mail any questions about this opportunity to John Entwistle at NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

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High Power Microscopes: The Virtual Lab Webinar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute webinar on Aug. 31, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Learn to use a computer program simulating three high-power virtual microscopes: an atomic force microscope, a scanning electron microscope and a fluorescence light microscope. Viewing specimens include one-celled organisms, human tissue, computer chips, insects, and fungi. Participants will get an overview of the software, watch videos of students exploring specimens and learn how to use the Virtual Lab website and software.

For more information and to register online, visit URL http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/symposia_seminars/NES2/webseminar3.aspx.

To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit http://explorerschools.nasa.gov.

E-mail any questions about this opportunity to John Entwistle at NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

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DEADLINE APPROACHING: 2011 SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge

NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory are offering high school students the opportunity to design experiments that will be tested in space.

The 2011 Zero Robotics challenge is a continuation and expansion of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education program using bowling ball-sized spherical satellites aboard the International Space Station.

The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites that make up SPHERES fly in formation inside the station’s cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment. Test results support satellite servicing, vehicle assembly and spacecraft that fly in formation.

The SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge requires high school student teams to write their own algorithm to fly the satellites in the station. Teams must register before Sept. 5, 2011, at
http://zerorobotics.mit.edu/.

Entries will be evaluated using simulations. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., will host a ground test 2D competition in October. Two elimination rounds in the 3D online simulation will be held in November. The top 27 teams will have their code sent to the station, where an astronaut will program the SPHERES satellites to run their tests.

The Zero Robotics challenge, facilitated by MIT, TopCoder and Aurora Flight Sciences, continues the STEM focus of the SPHERES program. The 2011 challenge expands on a pilot program performed in 2009 and 2010. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to high school students, Zero Robotics is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students will have the opportunity to push their limits and develop skills in STEM. This program builds critical engineering skills for students such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, team work and presentation skills.

MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory developed SPHERES in 2006 to provide DARPA, NASA and other researchers with a long-term test bed for validating technologies critical to the operation of future satellites, docking missions and satellite autonomous maneuvers. The satellites provide opportunities to test a wide range of hardware and software at an affordable cost.

For additional information about NASA and MIT’s Zero Robotics program, visit
http://go.nasa.gov/zero-robotics.

For additional information about DARPA, visit
http://www.darpa.mil.

Please e-mail any questions about this opportunity to Jason Crusan at
Jason.Crusan@nasa.gov.

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Teaching From Space Office Seeks Educators to Experience Microgravity

Teaching From Space, a NASA Education office, in partnership with the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program announces the opportunity for students and educators across the country to collaborate on an experiment to be tested aboard a microgravity aircraft. This incredible opportunity is open to any current K-12 classroom educator in the United States. Educators must also be U.S. citizens.

The Microgravity Experience begins with students and educators developing and proposing a reduced gravity experiment. Selected educator teams will then be engaged in a suite of activities that include online professional development on classroom resources for microgravity, collaboration with a NASA mentor and a reduced-gravity flight. With combined input from their students and mentor, educator teams will design and fabricate their experiments to be tested and evaluated aboard an aircraft that flies approximately 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips to produce periods of micro and hyper gravity, ranging from zero gravity to 2 g.

Seven teams of four to five educators will be selected from this application process to travel to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Educators will participate in Reduced Gravity Flight Week Feb. 6-11, 2012, and fly their own experiments aboard NASA’s Reduced Gravity Aircraft (Note: This opportunity is contingent upon the NASA Education budget).

Educator teams interested in participating in this unique Microgravity Experience need to submit a proposal no later than Sept. 21, 2011. For more information, check out http://microgravityuniversity.jsc.nasa.gov/tfs or send an e-mail to jsc-rgeducator@nasa.gov.

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Don’t miss out on education-related opportunities available from NASA. For a full list of Current Opportunities, visit https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/current-opps-index.html.

Visit NASA Education on the Web:
For Educators: https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/index.html
For Students: https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/index.html
NASA Kids’ Club: https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub

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