NASA Education Express — Jan. 3, 2013

Check out the followingNASA opportunities for the education community. Full descriptions are listedbelow.

Free Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series
Audience: All Educators and 9-Higher EducationStudents
Next Lecture Date: Jan. 5, 2013

Call for Abstracts: 64th International Astronautical Congress
Audience: Full-time Graduate Students
Submission Deadline: Feb. 21, 2013

Call for NEXT GEN Plenary: 64th International Astronautical Congress
Audience: Full-time Graduate Students
Submission Deadline: Jan. 6, 2013

2013 NASA and WorcesterPolytechnic Institute Sample Return Robot Challenge
Audience: Higher Education Educators andStudents
Early Bird Registration Deadline: Jan. 7, 2013

Registration Open forthe 20th Annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race
Audience: 9-12 & Higher Education Educatorsand Students
Registration Deadline for International Teams:Jan. 7, 2013
Registration Deadline for U.S. Teams: Feb. 4,2013

Analyzing Solar Energy Graphs: MY NASADATA Web Seminar
Audience: 9-12 and Informal Educators
Event Date: Jan. 8, 2013

Teaching FromSpace Office Seeks Educators for MicroGravity eXperience
Audience: K-12 Educators
Proposal Deadline: Jan. 9, 2013

Properties ofLiving Things: Searching for Life on Mars Web Seminar
Audience: 4-8 and Informal Educators
Event Date: Jan. 10, 2013

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Womenin STEM High School Aerospace Scholars
Audience: Female High School Juniors
New Deadline: Jan.10, 2013

National Air and Space Museum SuperScience Saturday Events
Audience: All Educators and Students
Event Dates: Monthly through 2013

International Space StationResearch Opportunity for Higher Education Organizations
Audience: Higher Education Community
Deadline to Submit White Papers: Jan. 23, 2013

What’s New at NASA’s Space Place Website
Audience: K-6 Educators


Free Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series

Curious about our nearest star, moon rocks, volcanoesand other wonders of the universe? Come to the Smithsonian’s Stars, a series of10 lectures by Smithsonian researchers who are exploring the sun, the moon,planets, stars, galaxies and the universe. These speakers will sharebehind-the-scenes details about how their research is done and technologiesthat advance new discoveries at the Smithsonian Institution.

Each lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. and is followedby a question-and-answer session. A Discovery Station activity will take placeat 4 p.m. prior to each lecture. Stay after the lecture to visit theobservatory, weather permitting.

Jan. 5, 2013 — Trees in the City
Tree cover is an important element of the urbanenvironment that plays an increasingly larger role in ecosystem processes.Geographer Andrew Johnston will discuss how satellite data is used to makereliable observations about urban tree cover variability, why it matters tourban residents and how these same data are used to map changes in tree cover.

Feb. 2, 2013 — VolcanoBreath
Join Global Volcanism Program Director LizCottrell for a lecture about volcanoes on a global scale. Learn how the gaseouscontents of volcanoes propel their explosions and impact our climate. Hear thelatest about volcanic gas research and explore the latest discoveries about howthe deep Earth is recycling the air we breathe.

Feb. 16, 2013 — Venus:50 Years After Mariner 2
Fifty years ago Mariner 2 flew past Venus, becoming the first space probeto explore another planet. But Venus, our nearest neighbor, still holds manymysteries. Geophysicist Bruce Campbell will discuss what is known about Venus,including how it differs from Earth, and how future explorers may providecrucial clues to understanding this hot, dry world.

For more information about the Smithsonian’sStars Lecture Series and to see a full schedule of upcoming lectures, visit

Questions about this lecture series should bedirected to the visitor service line at 202-633-1000.

The Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series is madepossible by a grant from NASA.


Call for Abstracts: 64th International AstronauticalCongress

NASA announces its intent to participate in the 64th InternationalAstronautical Congress, or IAC, and requests that full-time graduate studentsattending U.S. universities or colleges respond to this call for abstracts. TheIAC, which is organized by the International Astronautical Federation, or IAF,the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute ofSpace Law, is the largest space-related conference worldwide and selects anaverage of 1,000 scientific papers every year.

The upcoming IAC will be held Sept. 23-27, 2013, in Beijing, China. NASA’sparticipation in this event is an ongoing effort to continue to connect NASAwith the international astronautical and space communities.

The IAC has posted a “Call for Abstracts,” with a submission deadlineof Feb. 21, 2013. NASA plans to alsoannounce a “Call for Abstracts” inviting graduate students to submitabstracts (of no more than 400 words) to participate in the 64th InternationalAstronautical Congress. Abstracts must be submitted to NASA and to the IAF.Details on the NASA “Call for Abstracts” will be distributed by mid-January,with the same submission deadline of Feb.21, 2013. The selected NASA-sponsored students must also be selected by theIAF.

Please visit the IAC website ( for additional information about the Congress and toobtain information about the “Call for Abstracts.”

Important IAC Deadlines:

— Abstract submission closes Feb. 21, 2013.
— Paper submission closes Sept. 4, 2013.
— Presentation submission closes Sept. 18, 2013.

Questions about this opportunity should be emailed to Carolyn Knowles at


Call for NEXT GEN Plenary: 64th InternationalAstronautical Congress

Calling students and young professionals! If you could choose humanity’s nextdestination in space, where would you choose? We want to hear what you thinkshould be the next destination for humans to explore and why your destinationis the best. As today’s 21- to 35-year-olds, you will be the senior engineersand mission managers who will be carrying out and leading the next humanmissions to explore space, and we want your input. Why wait 10 years to beheard? We invite you to share your ideas with space leaders in government,industry and academia at the International Astronautical Congress, or IAC, inBeijing, China, on Sept. 23-27, 2013.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to address and possiblyinfluence the international space community. We are proposing a plenary eventto hear concrete ideas from 21- to 35-year-olds on what the next destinationsfor human space exploration should be. If approved, this event will take placethe week of Sept. 23-27, 2013, in Beijing, China at the IAC ( The plenary participants will engage in a paneldiscussion and interact with the audience while sharing their ideas on thepossible future destinations for human space exploration, including discussingthe benefits, risks and challenges of each location. The plenary will bemoderated in a talk-show fashion, interweaving clips from the panelists’audition videos with questions and comments from the moderator, other panelistsand the audience. The video clips will be used to enhance the audience’sunderstanding of the ideas of the plenary participants. This is an excitingopportunity that you do not want to miss!

Thissounds great!  What do I need to do toparticipate?

Round One: 15 Seconds of Fame!
By Jan. 6, 2013, create a 15-secondvideo telling us why you should be chosen to address the IAC, and post it on We will only watch/listen for 15 seconds, so be sureto watch the time of your video! Then complete the application at this link.

Round Two: Three Minutes!
The International Astronautical Federation, or IAF, will select the secondround of candidates from those submitting the 15-second videos and notify allentrants by Jan. 22, 2013. Specific details of Round Two requirements will besent to the candidates in the notification. Selected candidates will be askedto create and post a three-minute video on a specified YouTube site by Feb. 22, 2013.

Video Details:
Please record your video in a high-quality audio and video format. If youare selected as a panelist, segments of your videos will be used to promote andduring the plenary. Please limit special effects, scene changes and music. Thevideo is about you, not your video editing skills.

Final Selection:
The IAF will select the finalists from these entries based on theircreativity, efficacy of messages and relevance to the plenary topics. We willbe looking for concrete ideas on what the next destinations for humans toexplore should be and why these destinations are important, as well as yourexpertise in this area.

The IAF will make the final selection of plenaries for the IAC in Beijing theweek of March 18, 2013, and will notify the finalists of its decision by March31, 2013.

Who Will Sponsor Me to Travel toBeijing?
Plenary participants will be responsible for finding a sponsor or sponsors fortheir travel to and accommodations at the IAC.
In addition to the obvioussources of sponsorship — your employer or school, and industry contacts — wewant to share with you some great programs for students and young professionalsthat occur in conjunction with the 2013 Beijing IAC. The following are alldistinct programs related to the IAC but are not directly related to thisplenary opportunity.

— IAF Emerging Space Leaders Grant Programme (Watch for the announcement thismonth at

— Candidates are encouraged to contact the Space Generation Advisory Committee,or SGAC, concerning the plans for the SGAC event prior to the IAC in Beijingand associated sponsorship opportunities. Visit for more information.

— Students in Europe, Japan and the United States are encouraged to contact theEuropean Space Agency, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and NASArespectively to apply to the space agencies’ student programs at the IAC inBeijing.

Questions about this opportunity should be emailed to Carolyn Knowles at


2013 NASA andWorcester Polytechnic Institute Sample Return Robot Challenge

NASA and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute inWorcester, Mass., are seeking teams to compete in a robot technologydemonstration competition with a potential $1.5 million prize purse.

During the Sample Return Robot Challenge, teamswill compete to demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologicsamples from a wide and varied terrain without human control. The objective ofthe competition is to encourage innovations in automatic navigation and roboticmanipulator technologies. Innovations stemming from this challenge may improveNASA’s capability to explore a variety of destinations in space, as well asenhance the nation’s robotic technology for use in industries and applicationson Earth.

NASA provides the prize money to the winningteam as part of the agency’s Centennial Challenges competitions, which seekunconventional solutions to problems of interest to the agency and the nation.While NASA provides the prize purse, the competitions are managed by nonprofitorganizations that cover the cost of operations through commercial or privatesponsorships. The competition is planned for June 2013 in Worcester and isanticipated to attract hundreds of competitors from industry and academianationwide.

Early bird registration and fees for thecompetition are due by Jan.7, 2013. Teams wishing to register after this date are subjectto approval by the judging committee.

For more information about the Sample ReturnRobot Challenge and to register online for the competition, visit

The Centennial Challenges program is part ofNASA’s Space Technology Program, which is innovating, developing, testing andflying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions. NASA’s Space TechnologyProgram and the Centennial Challenges are creating new technological solutionsfor NASA and our nation’s future. For more information about NASA’s CentennialChallenges and the Space
Technology Program, visit

Questions about the Sample Return Robot Challengeshould be sent to


Registration Openfor the 20th Annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race

Registration is open for the 20th Annual NASAGreat Moonbuggy Race. High school and college students are challenged to designand build a vehicle that addresses a series of engineering problems similar tothose faced by the original lunar-roving vehicle team. Each school may enter upto two teams. International teams are limited to 10 teams per country. The racewill take place April 25-27, 2013, in Huntsville, Ala., at the U.S. Space &Rocket Center.

International teams must register by Jan. 7, 2013. U.S.teams must register by Feb.4, 2013.

For more information about the competition andto register online, visit

International teams with questions about thisevent and registration should email Marilyn Lewis at U.S. teamswith questions should contact Diedra Williams at


Analyzing Solar Energy Graphs: MYNASA DATA Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, theNASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association arehosting a 90-minute Web seminar for educators on Jan 8, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EST.

Become familiar with the MY NASA DATA activity, “Solar Cell EnergyAvailability From Around the Country.” Compare monthly averages ofdownward radiation in locations around the U.S. and analyze areas whereconditions would be conducive to having solar panels. Access data on the NASALive Access Server as you “journey” around the U.S. to determine the amount ofsolar radiation and analyze overlay plots to compare data from NASA satellites.

This seminar is offered again on March 26, 2013.

For more information and to register online,visit

To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit

Email any questions about this opportunity to


Teaching FromSpace Office Seeks Educators for MicroGravity eXperience

NASA’s Teaching From Space Office and the Reduced Gravity Education FlightProgram are seeking applications for teams of K-12 educators to participate inthe MicroGravity eXperience, or Micro GX, project. This project gives studentsand educators across the country the opportunity to work together on anexperiment to be tested aboard a microgravity aircraft. This incredibleopportunity is open to any current K-12 classroom educator in the UnitedStates. Educators must also be U.S. citizens.

Micro GX activities begins with students andeducators developing and proposing a reduced-gravity experiment. Selectededucator teams will receive online professional development on classroomresources for microgravity, collaboration with a NASA mentor and areduced-gravity flight. With combined input from their students and mentor,educator teams will design and fabricate their experiments to be tested andevaluated aboard an aircraft that flies approximately 30 roller-coaster-likeclimbs and dips to produce periods of microgravity and hypergravity, rangingfrom almost zero gravity to 2 g.

Seven teams of four to five educators from asingle school or school district will be selected from this application processto participate in Micro GX. This includes participation in an onlinemicrogravity course, which will begin on Feb. 11, 2013, with a series of Webseminars with NASA personnel to initiate experiment development. The highlightof the online course is to travel to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston,Texas, and participate in the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program duringthe week of July 12-20, 2013. During the flight week, educators will fly andperform custom experiments in a reduced-gravity environment. Selected teamsare responsible for all expenses associated with the travel and stay inHouston. The online course continues with activities beyond the flightexperience through Aug. 26, 2013.

Educator teams interested in participating inMicro GX may submit a proposal no later than Jan. 9, 2013. For more information, visit send an email to


Propertiesof Living Things: Searching for Life on Mars Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, theNASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association arehosting a 90-minute Web seminar for educators on Jan. 10, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EST. This web seminar featurestwo lessons: one on extremophiles and the other on searching for life. Review criteria for determining if something is alive andlearn how students apply the criteria in a hands-on activity. A video will beshown that connects the activity to a NASA mission. Collaborate with otherparticipants about ways of using and adapting the activity. Extensionactivities for students interested in the topic will be provided.

This seminar is offered again on April 18, 2013.

For more information and toregister online, visit

To learn more about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit

Email any questions about this opportunity to the NASA Explorer Schools helpdesk at


DEADLINEEXTENDED: Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars

Engineer your dream job! The adventure begins in2013. NASA wants you to become part of the workforce of tomorrow as we offerthe opportunity to dream, engineer and WISH. The Women in STEM High SchoolAerospace Scholars, or WISH, project offers a one-of-a-kind experience forfemale high school juniors to jump-start their future by engaging inopportunities relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Participation starts in an online community andculminates with a summer experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston,Texas, during the summer of 2013. Get ready to collaborate with girls fromacross the country as you complete online activities, design unique projects,work with NASA personnel and present mission accomplishments. Start your dreamnow!

To be eligible, applicants must be:
— U.S. citizens.
— Female high school juniors during the2012-2013 school year.
— Interested and excited about science,technology, engineering and mathematics.
— Committed to a one-year relationship withNASA’s Johnson Space Center.
— Able to access the Internet and email (athome, school or public library).
— A scholar with a cumulative GPA of 3.25/4.0or higher.

The application deadline has been extended to Jan.10, 2013.

For more information and to download theapplication, visit

Questions should be directed to


National Air and Space MuseumSuper Science Saturday Events

Join the National Air and Space Museum on the second Saturday ofeach month during 2013 for Super Science Saturday at the Steven F. Udvar-HazyCenter in Chantilly, Va. Through demonstrations and hands-on activities,visitors of all ages will become immersed in science, technology, engineeringand mathematics topics related to aviation and space exploration. Each eventtakes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Admission is free, and parkingis $15.

Upcoming topics include:

Jan. 12, 2013 — From the Wright Brothers to the Right Stuff
Feb. 9, 2013 — Scientists and Inventors
March 9, 2013 — The Space Shuttle
April 13, 2013 — How Things Fly
May 11, 2013 — Astronomy
June 8, 2013 — Energy
July 13, 2013 — Weather
Aug. 10, 2013 — Helicopters
Sept. 14, 2013 — Living and Working in Space
Oct. 12, 2013 — Balloons and Blimps
Nov. 9, 2013 — The Moon and Beyond
Dec. 14, 2013 — The Wright Brothers

For more information, visit

Questions about this series of lectures should be directed to


International Space StationResearch Opportunity for Higher Education Organizations

Conduct research in space and make new discoveries! The adventure begins in2013. The International Space Station NASA Education Projects Office hasreleased a solicitation for proposals of educational experiments relating toscience, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, that utilize theunique microgravity platform of the space station.

Proposals are being accepted from higher education institutions or consortia oforganizations serving the higher education community. Proposals must align withspace station program research priorities in technology, biology, biotechnologyand physical sciences. Experiment ideas also must address innovative,meaningful and enduring research and technology development activities with STEM-basedcontext.

Whitepapers must be submitted by 4 p.m. CST on Jan. 23, 2013. Full proposals aredue Feb. 20, 2013.

For more information, visit

Questions about this solicitation should be directed to Janejit T. Gensler at


What’s New at NASA’s Space Place Website

Earth is in the lucky position to have a love-hate relationship with its star.We say lucky, because obviously we couldn’t live without it, but at times it’sa little difficult to live with it as well. We call the conditions around ourplanet, outside of its own atmosphere and magnetosphere, space weather, but itdefinitely affects us on Earth, too. It’s a good thing we are learning tounderstand and predict the sun’s tantrums.

Let’s Start Here
“Space Place Live!” is a cartoon talk show where Space Place charactersinterview real NASA scientists and engineers. The latest episode stars MeravOpher, astrophysicist. She studies how stars work, including our star. In thisseven-minute video, we learn about the solar wind, solar flares, theheliosphere and the environment the sun creates for everything in the solarsystem. Dr. Opher also talks about how she got interested in physics and whatelse she likes to do for fun. Check it out at

Space Place en Español
La historia de una extraña noche de tormenta (solar)… tells the story of astrange and (solar) stormy night. Along with a story of the severe solar stormof August 1859, where the Northern Lights were seen as far south as CentralAmerica, “Shields Up!” (¡Escudos arriba!”) is a game in which the player has toprotect Earth-orbiting satellites from the wrath of bad space weather. The gameand article are available in Spanish and English. See

Spotlight on All Things Sunny…
Heliophysics, or the physics of the sun, is one of the four major sciencethrusts of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. (The others are astrophysics,Earth science and the solar system.) On The Space Place, these translate to themenu tabs Space, Sun, Earth, and Solar System.

The sun-Earth connection is so important in understanding our immediateenvironment. The Sun menu ( activities, games and fun facts about the sun and how it affects Earth.The most comprehensive treatment of this relationship is the animated, narratedstorybook “Super Star Meets the Plucky Planet: Or, how Earth and Sun come tomutual understanding and respect.” It is also available to print and read aloudor have the students read aloud (

For the Classroom
The Gallery of Sun images ( just for teachers to print and post in the classroom. They have large,simple captions.

For Out of School Time
“Satellite Insight” is an absorbing game for all ages that runs on bothcomputer and iPhone or iPad. It is Tetris-like, where six tile colors representdifferent types of data measured and recorded by the GeostationaryOperational Environmental Satellite – R Series, or GOES-R, satellite.Bonus material explains what each of the tile colors stand for, such as clouds,lightning and solar energy. A lot of them stand for data related to spaceweather. See

Special Days

Jan. 7, 1610: Galileo discoveredJupiter’s four largest moons.
Explore Jupiter’s big moons in the “Solar System Explorer” game.

Jan. 15, 2006: Stardust mission capsulereturned comet samples to Earth.
Learn about comets and how they are different from asteroidswith the Comet vs. Asteroids four-page color brochure.

Jan. 31, 1958: Explorer 1 was the firstU.S. satellite launched into orbit.
How do orbits work, anyway? Find out by putting a cannonball into orbit!

Feb. 19, 1473: Nicolaus Copernicus born.
He thought the sun was the center of the universe. He was wrong. But just whereis the center? Dr. Marc answers in a short podcast.

Feb. 22: Thinking Day
The “Spitzer” memory game will make you think very hard.

Send Feedback
Please let us know your ideas about ways to use The Space Place in yourteaching. Send to

Don’t Forget…
You can find dozens of other ideas and rich resources for theclassroom and out-of-school time at our Parents & Educators page,

iPhone and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.
Tetris is a registered trademark of Tetris Company LLC.


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: