NASA EXPRESS: Your STEM Connection for Oct. 4, 2018

Check out the latest NASA opportunities for the education community.

  In-flight Education Downlinks
STEM Educators

An in-flight education downlink is a 20-minute, live video question-and-answer session between a U.S. educational organization and an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. 

Hosting an education downlink is an opportunity to link students to astronauts providing a unique, authentic experience designed to enhance student learning, performance and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

Learn more about in-flight education downlinks at

Explore Solar System and Beyond: Solving Meteorite Mysteries
Audience: Educators of Grades 5-12
Event Date: Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Explore the mysteries of meteorites—what they are, where they come from, how they got here, how they affect people and what they tell us about the solar system. Investigate these questions using inquiry-based activities for students in grades 5-12. Online registration is required.

  Call for Proposals—NASA Research Announcement for Use of the NASA Physical Sciences Informatics System: Appendix E
Audience: Graduate Students
Proposers’ Conference via WebEx: Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. EDT (visit for details)
Notice of Intent Deadline: Oct. 23
Proposal Deadline: Dec. 14

NASA invites graduate students and established researchers to submit proposals for ground-based research proposals—both experimental and numerical studies—that use experimental data residing in NASA’s Physical Sciences Informatics system. This solicitation appendix focuses on five research areas: combustion science, complex fluids, fluid physics, fundamental physics and materials science. Proposals from graduate students must be submitted by their advisors. The typical award will be $75,000 to $100,000 per year for up to two years.

Explore Solar System and Beyond: Hubble Space Telescope
Audience: Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Relive the realization of a dream as the Hubble Space Telescope was launched on space shuttle Discovery. See examples of deep space objects such as stars, planets, galaxies and beyond. Make real-world connections with everyday technologies as you learn about NASA STEM resources to build and launch satellites using the engineering design process. Online registration is required.

  Explore Solar System and Beyond: By the Numbers
Audience: Educators of Grades 4-12
Event Date: Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Integrate out-of-this-world math, science and engineering into your classroom with NASA STEM solar system activities and missions. Investigate real data, classification, graphing and scale models to better understand and visualize our Sun, planets, asteroids and other objects in our solar system. Online registration is required.

Calling Teachers and Student Innovators: Register for 2018-2019 Conrad Challenge
Audience: Students Ages 13-18 and Educators of Grades 9-12
Registration Deadline: Nov. 2

The Conrad Challenge is an annual, virtual competition that invites students worldwide to become entrepreneurs and apply innovation, science, technology, creativity and critical thinking to solve challenges having global impact in six categories. Teams of two-five students, ages 13-18, create products and/or services that address some of the most pressing global challenges. Guided by teachers and industry experts, the competition becomes a master class in collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication.

  Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Contact Opportunity
Audience: All Educators
Informational Webinars: Oct. 11 and Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. EDT
Proposal Deadline: Nov. 15

ARISS-US is accepting proposals from U.S. schools and youth education organizations working individually or together to host an amateur radio contact with an astronaut aboard the ISS between July 1 and Dec. 30, 2019. To augment the events, ARISS-US is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed STEAM education plan. Contacts are about 10 minutes long. Visit the site for proposal guidelines, forms and upcoming pre-proposal webinars.

2019 Drop Tower Challenge: Plant Watering in Microgravity
Audience: Students in Grades 9-12
Proposal Deadline: Nov. 20

Future long-duration space missions will require crews to grow food; so, understanding how to water plants in microgravity is important—especially because the roots also require air. Teams of high school students are challenged to design and build objects that will use wetting characteristics to transport both water and air in a microgravity environment. Objects created by selected teams will experience microgravity in NASA’s 2.2 Second Drop Tower. NASA will invite the top-performing teams to present their results in a student poster session at the 2019 meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research.

  New NASA Home & City Interactive Website Traces Space Back to You
Audience: Public

NASA studies our planet, Sun, solar system and beyond, but America’s space program is closer to home than you may think. You can find thousands of NASA-influenced technologies right in your backyard. 

Check out the new interactive NASA Home & City to explore how NASA appears in everyday life. Tour through buildings and rooms to discover common items that NASA inspired or helped improve. These spinoffs are commercial products that apply NASA technology originally developed for studying and exploring space.

NASA Live Event—Earth Science Week: Earth as Inspiration
Audience: Public
Event Date: Oct. 4 at 3:30 p.m. EDT

Join NASA scientists and education specialists for an hour-long educational event to explore and share their perspectives on Earth as an inspiration! In coordination with this year’s Earth Science Week theme, this NASA event will feature a sneak peek into the exciting NASA products included in this year’s Earth Science Week Toolkits. This event will be webcast in real time, and educators and students are encouraged to submit questions for NASA scientists to answer during the event. The event will be livestreamed at

  Moon to Mars Deep Space Exploration: Space Launch System Engineering Is Out of This World
Audience: Educators of Grades 2-4
Event Date: Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. As NASA expands human exploration by visiting the Moon and then Mars, deep space exploration will require innovations in transportation that include the Space Launch System, Orion and Ground Launch Systems. Activity emphasis will be on the “Engineering is Out of This World” activity resources. The activities discussed in this webinar address the Next Generation Science Standards ETS1. Online registration is required.

Free Lecture—Mapping Disasters From Space
Audience: All Educators; Students in Grades 9-12 and Higher Education
Event Date: Oct. 4-5 at 10 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. PDT)

Join Earth science section manager Sue Owen from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to learn how researchers are using GPS and space-based radar to respond to earthquakes, volcanic unrest, floods and fires. Attend the lectures in person, or view Thursday’s lecture via live webcast.

  World Space Week 2018
Audience: Educators and Students
Event Dates: Oct. 4-10, 2018

World Space Week, as declared by the United Nations, is the world’s largest public celebration of space. This event commemorates the launch of Sputnik 1 on Oct. 4, 1957, and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on Oct. 10, 1967, to regulate peaceful use of space by all countries. During this week, teachers are encouraged to use space-themed activities to excite students about science and technology. Visit the World Space Week website for event locations and related educational materials.

Explore the Solar System and Beyond: NASA Space Place Cross-Curricular STEM Engagement
Audience: Educators of Grades K-10
Event Date: Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Learn how to earn solar system badges with integrated technology. Make planet masks, edible asteroids and galaxy pinwheels. The NASA Space Place resources includes games, apps, ebooks and animations. Also, learn how to order NASA Space Place materials. Online registration is required.

  Call for Proposals: Partnership Agreement Related to Science Engagement Opportunities for the NASA Mars 2020 Project
Audience: Commercial, Educational and Non-Profit Organizations
Proposal Deadline: Oct. 9

NASA is seeking to partner with a commercial, educational or non-profit organization on a nonreimbursable basis to define, organize and execute a nationwide contest for K-12 students in U.S. schools to select a name for “…the Mars 2020 rover launching in 2020.” NASA seeks proposals from innovative, inspirational organizations that utilize high-impact avenues for reaching a diversity of populations and broadening participation.

Explore Solar System and Beyond: Strange New Worlds
Audience: Educators of Grades 4-8
Event Date: Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Explore how planets and planetary features are discovered using remote-sensing techniques. Learn the different phases in planetary exploration, including telescope observations, fly-by missions, orbiters, landers, rovers and human exploration. Online registration is required.

  Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2018
Audience: Grades 9-12 Students
Registration Deadline: Oct. 10

Teams of high school students are challenged to program small satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) that operate inside the International Space Station. Teams send their final codes to the space station, where an astronaut referees the final competition live! Early registration is strongly encouraged because code for the 2D practice competition must be submitted by Oct. 12.

Engaging Students in STEM Problem Solving: Exploring Ice in the Solar System
Audience: Educators of Grades 4-10
Event Date: Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Explore the 12 NASA teaching guides related to water and ice in our solar system. The STEM problem-solving lesson plans invite students to inquire about phase changes, properties of water, ice core samples, structure of ice and comparisions with snow. Acting out science is included in each module. Online registration is required.

  2019 RASC-AL Special Edition: Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge
Audience: Full-time Undergraduate and Graduate Students
NOI Deadline: Oct. 12
Project Plan Submission Deadline: Nov. 15

The 2019 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts—Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) Special Edition: Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge is an engineering design and technology demonstration contest for eligible college students. Teams have the opportunity to design and build prototype hardware that can extract water and assess subsurface density profiles from a simulated off-world test bed. Up to 10 teams will be chosen to receive a stipend to build and demonstrate their systems’ capabilities in June 2019 at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Become a Member of the Infiniscope Education Advisory Board
Audience: All Formal and Informal Educators
Application Deadline: Oct. 19

The Arizona State University Infiniscope Project (under cooperative agreement with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate) aims to recruit individuals with enthusiasm, passion and ambition for a renewable, one-year term on its advisory board starting November 2018 and ending October 2019. Board members will review Infiniscope-developed educational products and receive a stipend, training, collaborative space and recognition on the Infiniscope website. Board members also will have opportunities to earn badges and attend group meetings at national conventions.

  Save the Date: 2019 Space Port Area Conference for Educators
Audience: K-12 Formal and Informal Educators
Event Date: July 24-26, 2019

Save the date for the 2019 Space Port Area Conference for Educators (SPACE) taking place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This conference is for K-12 formal and informal educators who are U.S. citizens teaching in the United States. Experience stimulating presentations from astronauts and NASA science and engineering experts; tour Kennedy and surrounding facilities. Get ready-to-go lesson plans and creative ideas to infuse your classroom with STEM and multifaceted, space-related content.

NASA GLOBE Observer: Adopt a Pixel Challenge and Citizen Science Project
Audience: All Educators and Students
Challenge Dates: Through Oct. 1

The NASA Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Observer team invites educators, students and the public to make a better world land map using the GLOBE Observer app. The new “Land Cover: Adopt a Pixel” module lets citizen scientists photograph with their smartphones the landscape, identify the kinds of land cover they see (trees, grass, etc.) and then match their observations to satellite data. Users can also share their knowledge of the land and how it has changed. To start the data collection, the 10 citizen scientists who map the most land by Oct. 1 will be recognized on social media and will receive a certificate of appreciation from GLOBE Observer. Ongoing participation and data collection is also welcome after Oct. 1.

  Commercial Crew 2019 Calendar Artwork Contest
Audience: Students Ages 4-12
Entry Deadline: Oct. 17

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is holding an art contest to create a 2019 calendar. Each month will have a different theme related to the International Space Station, astronauts, growing food in space and more! Unique and original artwork will be selected for each month. Once the calendar is complete, NASA will transmit it to astronauts aboard the space station. The calendar also will include supplemental education materials for kids on Earth to learn more about the space-related themes.

2018-19 University Student Design Challenge at NASA’s Glenn Research Center
Audience: Undergraduate Students
Registration Deadline: Oct. 17

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, is hosting a 2018-19 University Student Design Challenge (USDC-3) with aeronautics and space themes. The competition is open to teams of full-time undergraduate students who are juniors or seniors enrolled at accredited U.S. academic institutions. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. Each university or college team must have at least one faculty advisor. Participants will have access to subject matter experts at Glenn who will serve as mentors for the teams.

  NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge
Problem Solvers of All Ages
Event Date:
Oct. 19-21

The seventh annual International Space Apps Challenge invites tech-savvy innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, educators and students worldwide to use NASA data to develop projects related to this year’s theme: “Earth and Space!” In response to challenges issued by NASA, Space Apps participants collaborate to create solutions from mobile applications, software, hardware and data visualizations to videos, games and art. Visit the website for updates and registration information!

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Are you looking for NASA educational materials to support your STEM curriculum?
Search hundreds of resources by subject, grade level, type and keyword at

Find NASA science resources for your classroom. NASA Wavelength is a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for educators of all levels — from elementary to college, to out-of-school programs.

Check out the ‘Explore NASA Science’ website! Science starts with questions, leading to discoveries. Visit To view the site in Spanish, visit

Take part in a Year of Education on Station. September 2017 – September 2018: Although on different crews, astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold – both former teachers – will work aboard the International Space Station. Visit NASA’s A Year of Education on Station website for out-of-this-world resources and opportunities for K-16 students and educators.



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