NASA EXPRESS: Your STEM Connection for June 20, 2019

Check out the latest NASA opportunities for the education community.

Have you ever wondered how an interplanetary rover is built? 🤔

The new Mars 2020 webcam gives you a live, behind-the-scenes look at the clean room in High Bay 1 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Watch the Mars 2020 team get the rover ready for its July 2020 launch.

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Audience: Public

Do you want to get updates about the latest happenings at NASA? Join us as we explore and go forward to the Moon and on to Mars. Plus, discover the latest scientific updates on Earth, the solar system and beyond from NASA—all delivered right to your inbox. 

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Start Your Week With Space: On the Moon (Part 2)
Audience: All Educators and Students
Event Date: June 24 at 2 p.m. EDT

Start your week with an exciting science lesson and hands-on demonstration. This week’s lesson introduces students to NASA’s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission that made a deep hole on the Moon’s surface when searching for ice in the soil. Learn more about the Moon and take part in an engineering design challenge to design and build a system to deliver a marble to a target. Get more out of the session with the “On Target” hands-on activity.

  Submit Your Song Suggestions for #NASAMoonTunes
Audience: Public
Deadline: June 28 

Just like any road trip needs a soundtrack, so does a spaceflight! If you were taking a trip to the Moon—a nonstop journey of approximately three days each way—what favorite song would you be sure to include on your playlist? Let us add it to ours! Tell us on Twitter with the hashtag #NASAMoonTunes, or submit online. The playlist will liftoff on July 13 and 14, and will air during a live show on NASA’s Third Rock Radio just a few days prior to the Apollo 11 launch anniversary!

Make Your Own Whirlpool With NASA’s Astrophoto Challenges
Audience: Public
Entry Deadline: July 31

Join NASA’s Universe of Learning for an exciting opportunity to use real astronomical data and tools to create your own beautiful image of the iconic Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). Capture your own real-time telescope image of the whirlpool using the MicroObservatory robotic telescope network, or work with an archived set of NASA data files of M51, taken with four multiwavelength space telescope missions: Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer and Galex. Your creations may be highlighted as standout entries commented on by NASA experts.

  Night Sky Network: Astronomy Club Events Across the United States
Audience: Public

Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing science, technology and inspiration from NASA’s missions to the general public. These clubs host events across the United States, sharing their time and telescopes to provide unique astronomy experiences at science museums, observatories, classrooms and under the night sky. Visit the website to find events happening in your area! 

Looking for astronomy resources? The Night Sky Planner makes it easy to find out what’s visible tonight or all month. There are also dozens of simple demonstrations, handouts, and presentations on common astronomy topics from our Moon to black holes.

New My NASA Data Earth Science Phenomena Resources
Formal and Informal Educators, Grades 3-12

Explore the newest My NASA Data collection of resources spotlighting the Next Generation Science Standards related to Earth System phenomena. This latest collection provides resources focused on hurricanes, sea and ice melt, land use and cover change, El Niño, flow of energy and matter among the Earth System, and deforestation. Each of these featured phenomena have corresponding maps, graphs, and/or data mini-lessons, full lesson plans and activities, STEM career connections, GLOBE connections and other resources.

Call for Reviewers: U.S. Department of Education’s G5 System
Audience: Formal and Informal Educators, and Other Experts

The U.S. Department of Education is seeking qualified external peer reviewers to volunteer to review proposals for grant competitions throughout the year. A diverse reviewer pool is sought, including but not limited to teachers, district leaders, university faculty, career and technical education school leaders, foundation officers, researchers, evaluators and professional development providers. Interested individuals should register in the U.S. Department of Education’s G5 system (click “Not Registered? Sign Up”). Program staff will identify potential peer reviewers for upcoming grant competitions and contact them via email to discuss logistics and confirm availability.

NASA Commercial Crew Program: Mission and STEM Resources Overview
Audience: Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: June 20 at 6 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is the next phase in space transportation, enabling industry to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. Learn about the companies, the vehicles, the crew and the STEM classroom resources related to the Commercial Crew Program. Online registration is required.

  Free Lecture—Designing Tomorrow’s Space Missions Today
Audience: Educators; Students in Grades 9-12 and Higher Education
Event Date: June 20-21 at 7 p.m. PDT

Walk through the lifecycle of a mission from its start as a crazy idea, to concept, to development, construction, testing and launch. Join Dr. Randii Wessen, a systems engineer from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for a look at designing the space missions of tomorrow. Attend the lectures in person, or view Thursday’s lecture via live webcast.

10th Annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall
Audience: Public
Event Date: June 22, 6-11 p.m. EDT

Take a free guided tour of the sky at the 10th Annual Astronomy Festival sponsored by Hofstra University. The festival will feature solar, optical and radio telescope observations of the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn and star clusters; hands-on demonstrations, activities and videos; a planetarium show with a portable blow-up dome; speakers from scientific and educational organizations; and a chance to meet astronomers. Join the celebration from 6-11 p.m. EDT on the National Mall, in front of the Smithsonian Castle (between 9th-10th streets).

  Moon to Mars Resource Overview
Audience: Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: June 24 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. This webinar begins with an overview of NASA’s plans for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and continues with an overview of associated NASA education lessons, videos, fact sheets, printables and training opportunities. Resources covered address National Standards in Science and Mathematics. Online registration is required.

Small Steps to Giant Leaps: Mission and Resources Overview
Audience: Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: June 25 at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. This webinar reviews the history of X-planes and NASA aeronautics research while also looking forward to the future of NASA aeronautics innovation. For decades, NASA has been studying aircraft noise in order to reduce noise emissions. Learn about NASA’s newest X-plane, the X-59 QueSST, and the research on quiet supersonic flight. Participants will also get an overview of associated NASA STEM lessons, videos, fact sheets, printables and training opportunities. Online registration is required.

  Explore Moon to Mars: Orion Ascent Abort-2 Flight Test
Audience: Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: June 26 at 5 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. This summer, NASA plans to conduct the Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) flight test. This milestone event will verify flight capabilities of Orion’s Launch Abort System, a key step in fulfilling NASA’s mission to go to the Moon and then on to Mars. Educators will hear from an Orion flight test engineer about the AA-2 test and the critical role played by mass properties in spacecraft design. This webinar will also highlight NASA resources and hands-on activities for engaging your students with Orion and AA-2. The activities discussed in this webinar address Next Generation Science Standards PS1, PS2 and ETS1. Online registration is required.

NASA Mars Science: MAVEN Outreach Webinar—Getting Cozy With Mars: MAVEN’s Aerobraking Campaign
Formal and Informal Educators, Parents and Teens
Event Date: June 26 at 7 p.m. EDT

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has successfully completed an aerobraking campaign, lowering the highest altitude of the satellite’s orbit to better transmit data from present and future Martian rovers and landers while continuing its observations of the Martian atmosphere. Join MAVEN’s Science Operations Center manager Dale Theiling to learn about the aerobraking process and get an update about the mission.

  Call for Proposals: NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s University Leadership Initiative 2
Audience: Accredited, Degree-granting U.S. Colleges and Universities
Applicant’s Online Workshop: June 27, 1-3 p.m. EDT
Step-A Proposal Deadline: Aug. 25

The University Leadership Initiative 2 of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate provides the opportunity for university teams to exercise technical and organizational leadership in proposing technical challenges, defining multidisciplinary solutions, establishing peer review mechanisms and applying innovative teaming strategies to strengthen research impact. Multiple awards are anticipated with nominal budgets in the $1-2M range per award annually. Awards will have a maximum duration of four years. 

Click the links below to read about current ULI recipients. 
ULI Round Two 
ULI Round One

Explore Moon to Mars: NASA STEM Geology—Meteorite Mysteries
Audience: Educators of Grades 5-12
Event Date: June 27 at 5 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Engage students in inquiry-based science and explore interdisciplinary connections. The study of meteorites provides a unifying theme that links almost every aspect of Earth and planetary science with mathematics, physics, chemistry and even biology. The effects of meteorite impacts have serious implications for social science. Online registration is required.

  Collaboration Opportunities: 2019 ASTRO CAMP in the Community
Audience: Universities, Schools, Museums and Youth-Serving Organizations
Inquiry Deadline: July 1

NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi has announced collaboration opportunities for organizations interested in hosting “2019 ASTRO CAMP in the Community” events this summer. ASTRO CAMP engages learners in grades 2-10 with fun, hands-on educational activities related to NASA’s missions. ASTRO CAMP provides collaborators professional development, the 2019 ASTRO CAMP Facilitators Guide, activity supply lists, online resources, NASA completion certificates and the support of education specialists (as needed). Visit the site for details on collaborator requirements and inquiry details.

NASA Internships
Audience: High School, Undergraduate, Graduate Students
Application Deadlines:
Fall 2019—July 1
Spring 2020—Nov. 5
Summer 2020—March 8

Being an astronaut isn’t the only cool thing about space. NASA interns use their creativity and innovation to work on projects that impact NASA’s mission, like sending the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024. As a NASA intern, you’ll be a part of an amazing team dedicated to the advancement of space exploration. You will work alongside leading experts and gain valuable experience by advancing research and projects to the next level. Come dream with us and let’s change the future together.

  Educator Workshop: Seeds of STEM
Audience: Preschool Educators
Event Date: July 10-11

Join the Seeds of STEM team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, for an educator workshop to explore a problem-based STEM curriculum for preschool classrooms. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, the Seeds of STEM curriculum was developed by a partnership of researchers and educators. Participants will learn about this 8-unit curriculum that teaches young children the skills of problem solving and provides teachers with a problem-based pedagogy that can be applied to any situation. Register to attend at

Apollo Anniversary Resources From NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement
Audience: All Educators and All Students
Contact: Amelia.J.Chapman@jpl.nasa.govCelebrate the Apollo 50th anniversary and the future of Moon exploration with these educational resources! Find lesson plans, activities and printables. Get current information about contests and where to find images and original sources. Discover Apollo anniversary and “Moon to Mars” events happening near you on the searchable Map/Calendar, or plan your own event and submit it for inclusion.
  New Teachable Moment—Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NASA’s Apollo Moon Landing
Audience: K-12 Educators

This year is the 50th anniversary of humans landing on the Moon. NASA is making plans to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. Turn this current event into a teachable moment with resources from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Use this opportunity to get students excited about Earth’s natural satellite, the amazing feats accomplished 50 years ago and plans for future exploration. Visit the site for background information, videos, lesson plans and more.

‘CineSpace’ Short Film Competition
Audience: All Educators and Students
Submission Deadline: July 15, 2019

NASA and the Houston Cinema Arts Society invite professional and aspiring filmmakers to share their works using actual NASA imagery. The “CineSpace” competition will accept all genres, including narrative, documentary, comedy, drama, animation and others, up to 10 minutes long. Entries must use at least 10 percent publicly available NASA imagery. Entries will be judged on creativity, innovation and attention to detail. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three submissions, as well as two special category films: 1) the best documentary film and 2) the film that best exhibits human presence in space.

  U.S. Space & Rocket Center Celebrates Apollo Anniversary With Global Launch Event
Audience: Public
Event Date: July 16
Contact: kayt@spacecamp.comOn July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew launched to begin their historic mission to the Moon. To commemorate this event, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, home to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, is asking teachers, scout leaders, families, students and rocket enthusiasts of all ages worldwide to join in a Global Rocket Launch! Visit the link for rocket ideas, then sign up and share your launch pictures on social media using #GlobalRocketLaunch.
Send Your Name to Mars on NASA’s Next Red Planet Mission!
Educators and Students Worldwide
Deadline: Sept. 30
Contact: invites the public to send their names to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s Mars 2020 rover! The Mars 2020 mission will launch next summer and land on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. The mission will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth and pave the way for human exploration.

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Are you looking for NASA STEM materials to support your 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



Visit NASA STEM Engagement on the Web:
NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement:
For Educators:
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