NASA EXPRESS: Your STEM Connection for Oct. 3, 2019

Check out the latest NASA opportunities for the education community.

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  You Can Plan-et—STEM Resources for October Events
Audience: K-12 Educators 

Happy October! Bring this month’s NASA and STEM events into your classroom with resources, activities and more! 

Visit the site for resources to incorporate International Observe the Moon Night, International Day of the Girl, World Space Week, Earth Science Week and Halloween into your curriculum. 

And don’t miss the “NASA STEM Presents Space and STEM: Where Do You Fit In?” broadcast live from the 70th International Astronautical Congress in Washington, D.C.

Moon to Mars: Mission and Resources Overview
Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date:
Oct. 15 at 6 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: Fantastic Forces
Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date:
Oct.17 at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Learn about a series of demonstrations focusing on the forces of flight. The demonstrations test different materials and shapes to determine which are most and least susceptible to lift, weight, drag and thrust. We will look back at the history of X-planes and NASA aeronautical research while also looking forward to the future of NASA aeronautics innovation. Learn about NASA’s newest X-plane, the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST), and the research being conducted on quiet supersonic flight. There will also be an overview of associated NASA education lessons, videos, fact sheets, printables and training opportunities. Online registration is required.

NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge
Problem Solvers of All Ages
Event Date:
Oct. 18-20

Now in its eighth year, NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge is an international hackathon for coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, students and teachers to engage with NASA’s free and open data to address real-world problems on Earth and in space. Last year, approximately 18,000 participants at 200 events in 75 countries collaborated to create solutions ranging from mobile applications, software, hardware and data visualizations to videos, games and art. Visit the website for updates and registration information for Space Apps events in your area or join the virtual event online from anywhere in the world!

  NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities—Fall 2020
Audience: Graduate Students
Proposal Deadline: Nov 5

NASA seeks to sponsor graduate student research with potential to contribute to the agency’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for America’s exploration, science and economic futures. 

This call for graduate student-developed space technology research solicits proposals on behalf of individuals pursuing or planning to pursue master’s or doctoral degrees in relevant space technology disciplines at accredited U.S. universities. Recipients will perform innovative research and improve America’s technological competitiveness by providing a pipeline of cutting-edge space technologies.

NASA’s Centennial Challenges: Carbon Dioxide Conversion Challenge—Phase Two
Audience: All Interested U.S. Citizens
Registration Deadline: Nov. 30

Phase Two of the NASA Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Conversion Challenge invites members of the public, academia and industry to build a system demonstrating the conversion of CO2 with hydrogen—without the use of plants—to produce simple sugar molecules known as D-sugars. A $750,000 prize purse is available for this phase of the challenge. Participation in phase one is not required to participate in phase two. Visit the website for registration information and challenge details.

  2020 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge
Audience: 9-12 and Higher Education Educators and Students
International Team Registration Deadline: Dec. 12
U.S. Team Registration Deadline: Jan. 16, 2020

Registration for the 2020 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge will open on Oct. 10. The competition will be held April 17-18, 2020, in Huntsville, Alabama, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Teams of high school and college students are challenged to design and build a human-powered vehicle to traverse the simulated surface of another world. The course includes 14 obstacles and five tasks, and teams must meet NASA specifications. Each U.S. school may enter up to two teams. For international entries, no more than four teams from each country will be accepted.

2020-21 Virginia Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship
Audience: Undergraduate Sophomores and Juniors at Virginia Space Grant Consortium Member Institutions Listed Below
Application Deadline: Jan. 31, 2020

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is offering undergraduate research scholarships of up to $8,500 to encourage students to conduct research in STEM fields. Participants must take part in active faculty-mentored research that aligns with NASA’s mission. Applicants must be enrolled full time at The College of William and Mary, Hampton University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia or Virginia Tech. Scholarships are awarded for the following academic year.

  2020-21 Virginia Space Grant Consortium Graduate Research STEM Fellowship
Audience: Graduate Students at Virginia Space Grant Consortium Member Institutions Listed Below
Application Deadline: Jan. 31, 2020

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium’s Graduate Research STEM Fellowship Program provides fellowships of $6,000 in add-on support to graduate students to supplement and enhance basic research in STEM fields. Research should support NASA’s mission. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and enrolled full time at The College of William and Mary, Hampton University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia or Virginia Tech. Fellowships are awarded for the 2020-21 academic year and are renewable for one year.

2020-21 Virginia Space Grant Consortium Community College STEM Scholarship
Audience: Virginia Community College Freshmen
Application Deadline: March 13, 2020

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is offering $2,000 scholarships to students at schools in the Virginia Community College System. Applicants must be majoring in a STEM field, and be interested in pursuing a career that supports NASA’s mission, including careers in the aerospace sector. Applicants must be U.S. citizens. Scholarships are awarded for the students’ sophomore year.

  2020-21 Virginia Space Grant Consortium STEM Bridge Scholarships
Audience: Undergraduate Students at Virginia Space Grant Consortium Member Institutions Listed Below. Minority students are strongly encouraged to apply.
Application Deadline: March 13, 2020

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is offering renewable scholarships of $1,000 to undergraduate students studying STEM. The STEM Bridge Scholarships are available to students who are U.S. citizens and are enrolled full time at The College of William and Mary, Hampton University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia or Virginia Tech. Scholarships are awarded for the academic year following application. Applicants must be classified as sophomores during the 2020-21 academic year.

U.S. Census Bureau—‘Statistics in Schools’ Resources
Audience: Pre-K-12 Educators

Looking for ways to spotlight the 2020 Census in your classroom? The U.S. Census Bureau’s new “Statistics in Schools” resources highlight the importance of counting everyone, especially children. “Statistics in Schools” brings school subjects to life using real-world Census Bureau statistics to create materials for pre-K-12 grade levels. All resources are teacher designed and easy to use. Visit the site to download activities related to mathematics, English, history, geography, sociology and more.



  Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series: Lunar Dirt, Rocks and Legacy: The Lunar Receiving Laboratory’s First Five Years
Audience: Public, Educators and Students of Grades 7-College
Event Date: Oct. 3 at 8:30 p.m. EDT

The Lunar and Planetary Institute presents “Lunar Dirt, Rocks and Legacy: The Lunar Receiving Laboratory’s First Five Years” by Dr. Grant Heiken, a member of the Lunar Sample Preliminary Examination Team during Apollo. Hear stories of his and his colleagues’ tasks in assisting NASA in preparing for the arrival and analysis of rocks and soil from the Moon. Attend the event in person at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, or watch the event live online. Archives of past lectures also are available online.

World Space Week 2019
Audience: Educators and Students
Event Dates: Oct. 4-10, 2019

World Space Week, as declared by the United Nations, is the world’s largest public celebration of space. The 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. The 2019 theme is “The Moon: Gateway to the Stars.” Visit the World Space Week website for event locations and related educational materials.

  International Observe the Moon Night
Audience: Public
Event Date: Oct. 5

On Oct. 5, lunar enthusiasts worldwide take time to admire and celebrate our Moon. This year commemorates 10 years of International Observe the Moon Night. You can join in the fun! Visit the website to find a map of registered events, and make plans to attend. If you don’t see an event near you, sign up to host your own! The website has details for hosting an event of any size. Ideas for hands-on activities are available to help make your event a success.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Seeks Educators for Climate Change Research Initiative
Audience: Full-time 9-12 STEM Educators Who Are U.S. Citizens and Reside Within 50 Miles of NYC
Program Start Date: Oct. 7

This yearlong STEM engagement opportunity allows high school STEM educators to work directly with NASA scientists, lead research teams and develop STEM curricula for their current classes. Educators participating in this opportunity will become associate researchers who integrate NASA education resources and content into their classrooms while improving STEM education within their communities.

  Webinar: Exploration of Other Worlds Using NASA Solar System Treks
Audience: Formal and Informal Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. PDT

The National Girls Collaborative Project presents a free webinar introducing educators to NASA’s Solar System Treks, a free resource for STEM learning. Solar System Treks allow students to study the surfaces of the Moon, Mars, Vesta, Ceres, Titan and icy moons in our solar system. Webinar participants will hear directly from NASA outreach specialists, and will have the opportunity to ask questions about the Solar System Treks visualization tools.

NASA Commercial Crew Program: Mission and STEM Resource Overview
Audience: Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: Oct. 8 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.

  NASA Lunabotics Engineering Competition
Audience: U.S. Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Registration Deadline: Oct. 9

The NASA Lunabotics Engineering Competition challenges teams to design, build and run an autonomously operated robot that will traverse a simulated off-world terrain and excavate simulated lunar regolith. This challenge includes presentations and demonstrations, public outreach and a systems engineering paper explaining the methodology the team used to design and build their robot. The onsite competition will take place May 18-22, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

For more ways to get involved in NASA’s first step in the next era of exploration, visit the Artemis Student Challenges website.

Explore Earth: Teaching STEAM With Images from Space
Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date:
Oct.10 at 6 p.m. EDT
spc39@txstate.eduJoin the  

NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Explore Earth from space through the eyes of astronauts and satellites. Learn how observations from space enable us to better understand our planet and the processes that shape it. Using the “Mission Geography” STEAM resource, a NASA and Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) collaboration, we’ll investigate our home planet with eyes from above. Online registration is required.

  International Astronautical Congress: Public Day
Audience: Public, All Educators and STEM Groups
Registration Deadline: Oct. 11
Event Date: Oct. 25

In October, the global aerospace community—engineers, scientists, educators, students, policymakers and executives—will descend on Washington, D.C., to envision what the “next giant leap” in space will be. And you can be part of the conversation! Register to attend the IAC Public Day event to participate in a live downlink with astronauts on the space station, experience hands-on citizen science experiments, see a rocket engine and more!

Lunar Gateway Coding Challenge: Tynker Moon to Mars Part II
Audience: K-12 Educators Worldwide
Contest Dates: Through Oct. 13, 11:59 p.m. PDT

As they prepare for lunar surface exploration, Artemis astronauts will conduct research in lunar orbit aboard the Lunar Gateway. NASA is challenging students to imagine what life might be like on this orbiting outpost. Using Tynker, students will design and animate their ideas. Teachers can find teacher guides and NASA resources for K-5 students using Tynker Blocks and grades 6-8 students using JavaScript at the respective project pages. NASA will judge and select three winners for each programming language. Winners will have the opportunity to invite a NASA expert to speak to their class or their school via a video call. There are no entry fees or costs to participate. Open to students everywhere! 

Are you new to coding or just want to learn more? Join one of the free 40-minute launch webinars at

  Earth Science Week 2019: Resources and Teacher Toolkit
Audience: Public
Event Date: Oct. 13-19

Join the American Geosciences Institute for a celebration of our home planet during Earth Science Week 2019. This year’s theme is “Geoscience Is for Everyone,” and emphasizes the inclusive potential and the importance of geosciences in the lives of everyone. 

Bring the celebration to your classroom with activities, contests and classroom resources available on the Earth Science Week website. 

For even more classroom resources, order an Earth Science Week Toolkit. This year’s kit includes a NASA “Geoscience Is Everywhere” poster, information about the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program, a Mars Insight mini-poster, a ruler on Earth observation and space, and more.

Proposal Workshop—The Principal Investigator Launchpad: From Science Idea to NASA Mission
Audience: Post-graduate Students and Researchers
Application Deadline: Oct. 15
Workshop Dates: Nov. 18-20

Are you interested in developing your first flight mission proposal in the next few years but have no idea where to start? Join NASA’s Science Mission Directorate for an expenses-paid, three-day workshop in Tucson, Arizona, that will teach you the skills to get your mission idea off the ground. In partnership with the University of Arizona and the Heising-Simons Foundation, NASA will guide participants through the process of developing a science case, defining requirements, building a team, securing partnerships and obtaining support from the home institution.

 NASA insignia
  2020 NASA Glenn Faculty Fellowship Program
Audience: Higher Education Educators
Application Deadline: Oct. 18, at 11:59 p.m. EDTFellowship Dates: June 8 – Aug. 14, 2020

The NASA Glenn Faculty Fellowship Program provides opportunities for STEM faculty to do research for 10 weeks during the summer at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Applicants must be US citizens working full time at accredited universities or colleges in the United States. The program provides stipends and covers limited travel expenses. Qualified faculty from majority- and minority-serving universities and colleges, including underserved groups and persons with disabilities, as well as, early career faculty, are encouraged to apply.

Earth Science Week 2019 Photography Contest
Audience: Public
Entry Deadline: Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. EDT

Celebrate Earth Science Week 2019 with American Geosciences Institute’s photography contest. Photographs should support the topic “Exploring Earth Science” and capture an image of someone in your community exploring Earth science. Any resident of the United States or any AGI international affiliate may enter. Entries must be submitted electronically. Only one entry per person will be accepted.

  Celebrate Solar Week—Fall 2019
Audience: Educators and Students in Grades 5-9, Informal Educators
Event Date: Oct. 21-25

Solar Week provides a series of web-based educational activities focusing on the Sun-Earth connection. Students ages 11-14 can learn about solar careers, sunspots, solar energy and solar storms. Explore the website to find cool facts, scavenger hunts, games and an online interactive discussion board where your class or group can submit a question to leading solar scientists. With NASA’s Parker Solar Probe exploring the Sun like no mission before, it creates exciting times for Sun-related science!

  Federal Aviation Administration Challenge: Smart Airport Student Competition
Audience: Undergraduate and Graduate StudentsExpression of Interest Deadline: Oct. 16
Project Plan Submission Deadline: Jan. 13, 2020Contact: 

The Federal Aviation Administration invites university teams to propose solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of smart technology in and around the airport environment while enhancing the overall traveling experience. Three finalist teams will compete for a $25,000 prize, and will also receive travel reimbursements up to $6,000 to demonstrate their concepts at the FAA Technical Center, and at a technical symposium in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in May 2020.

  2019-20 University Student Design Challenge at NASA’s Glenn Research Center
Audience: Undergraduate Students
Registration Deadline: Oct. 18

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, is hosting a 2019-20 University Student Design Challenge (USDC-4) with aeronautics- and space-themed projects. The competition is open to teams of full-time undergraduate juniors or seniors enrolled at accredited U.S. academic institutions. Multidisciplinary teams of three-six members 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.

Name NASA’s Next Mars Rover
Audience: K-12 Students in U.S. Public, Private and Home Schools
Entry Deadline: Nov. 1 

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover needs a name! Students are challenged to think of a rover name and write a short essay (up to 150 words) to explain why their chosen name is the best.Teachers and other interested adults, we need you to be contest judges. Register here

Not in the U.S.? In January 2020, people worldwide will have an opportunity to vote on the nine finalist names. 

Help us spread the word by downloading and printing these eye-catching flyers for teachers and students! 

Read more about the Mars 2020 mission.


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