NASA Education “Science WOW!” Message for Oct. 19, 2016

Check out the latest edition of NASA Education’s “Science WOW!” — your source for NASA opportunities in science education delivered “Weekly On Wednesday.”

Science Always Starts With a Question …

This Week’s Question: What Is a Meteor Shower?

This year’s Orionid meteor shower is set to peak the night of Oct. 21. To find out what a meteor shower is, visit

Have You Seen This?

The Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA’s missions to the general public. Visit the website to find clubs and events near you, this month’s night sky planner and outreach resources.

Opportunities for Future Scientists of All Ages

Science Opportunities for Educators of Grades K-12

Science Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

Opportunities for Future Scientists of All Ages

**NEW** 2016 von Kármán Lecture Series — Attend in Person or View Online
Audience: All Educators; Students in Grades 9-12 and Higher Education
Next Lecture Date: Oct. 20, 2016, at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT)

The Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, named after the founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and presented by JPL’s Office of Communication and Education, shares the excitement of the space program’s missions, instruments and other technologies.

Lectures take place twice per month, on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays. The Thursday lectures take place in JPL’s Theodore von Kármán Auditorium, and Friday lectures take place at Pasadena City College’s Vosloh Forum. Both start at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT). Admission and parking are free for all lectures. No reservations are required, but seating is limited. The Thursday evening lectures are streamed live for viewing online. Archives of past lectures are also available online.

Next Lecture in the Series:

Asteroid Anchors, Rock-Climbing Robots, Gecko Grippers and Other Ways to Stick in Space
Event Date:
Oct. 20 and Oct. 21, 2016, at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT)
The ability to rove the surface of Mars has revolutionized space missions. With more advanced mobility, new targets such as cliff faces, cave ceilings, and the surfaces of asteroids and comets could be explored. Join Dr. Aaron Parness from the Extreme Environment Robotics group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a discussion about the work being done at JPL’s Robotics Rapid Prototyping Lab.

For more information about the Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, including a complete list of upcoming lectures, visit

Questions about this series should be directed to

NASA’s Langley Research Center Centennial Student Art Contest
Audience: K-12 Students
Entry Period: Nov. 1 – Dec. 31, 2016

Calling all artists, grades K-12!

On July 17, 2017, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will turn 100 years old! To celebrate, Langley invites you to take part in its Centennial Art Contest. The theme for this year’s contest is “A Storied Legacy, A Soaring Future.”

The contest is open to all children in grades K-12 who are attending public, private, parochial and homeschools in the United States. Artwork entries may consist of drawings, paintings, mixed media and digital creations.

A grand prize winner will be chosen from all contest entries. A first place winner will be chosen from each grade level, as well as second place, third place and honorable mention. Each entry will receive a certificate of participation.

The art contest submission period begins Nov. 1, 2016, and concludes on Dec. 31, 2016, at midnight EST.

For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this contest to Kristina Cors at

Help NASA Study Mars — Planet Four: Terrains
Audience: All Educators and Students

Help NASA study exotic landscape features near the south pole of Mars! In this citizen science project, you will view images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Context Camera. Your input will help scientists identify possible areas for even more detailed examination with the orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera. HiRISE can reveal more detail than any other camera ever put into orbit around Mars.

Some of Mars resembles deserts on Earth, but seasonal freezing and thawing of carbon-dioxide ice (known on Earth as “dry ice”) at the Martian poles create some unusual landscape features. There’s a lot of territory to cover, so scientists need your help identifying what and where these features are.

For more information and to learn how to participate, visit the “Planet Four: Terrains” website at

To learn more about NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and its mission at the Red Planet, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Michelle Viotti at

Science Opportunities for Educators of Grades K-12

**NEW** Free Education Webinars From NASA Educator Professional Development
Audience: In-service, Pre-service, Home School and Informal Educators

The NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University is presenting a series of free webinars open to all educators. Join NASA education specialists to learn about activities, lesson plans, educator guides and resources that bring NASA into your classroom. Registration is required to participate. To register, simply click on the link provided beneath the webinar description.

NASA Weathering the Storm — Earth Right Now: Weather to Fly By
Audience: Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: Oct. 24, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. EDT
Participants will learn about basic meteorological concepts and how weather conditions and weather phenomena occur. There will be hands-on, standards-aligned mathematics, science and engineering activities about density, mass, fluid dynamics and weather. Real-world connections with NASA and airplanes doing weather research will be discussed as the session highlights a partnership between NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center and NOAA with the Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology, or SHOUT, mission. Register online to participate.

NASA Weathering the Storm — Earth Right Now: Meteorology Educator Guide
Audience: Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 5-9
Event Date: Oct. 26, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. EDT
Participants will be introduced to Meteorology: An Educator’s Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. Discussion will focus on the hands-on activities and low-cost equipment builds included in the guide. This webinar addresses Next Generation Science Standards MS-ESS2.D and HS-ESS2.D. Register online to participate.

For a full schedule of upcoming webinars, visit

Please direct questions about this series of webinars to Steve Culivan at

Mars Survival Kit: Lessons and Activities to Guide Your Exploration of Mars!
Audience: K-12 Educators

NASA is embarking on a journey to Mars! Are your students ready to join in the adventure? Spark excitement in your classroom with the Mars Survival Kit.

The Mars Survival Kit is a collection of educational activities for students in grades K-12. Each educational activity includes a brief description, as well as information about how the activities and lessons align to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Start your classroom’s journey to Mars at

To learn more about NASA’s Journey to Mars, visit

Free ‘NASA’s Journey to Mars’ Planetarium/Dome Show
Audience: Formal and Informal Educators

Are you looking for ways to prepare your students for STEM-related career opportunities? Do you want to spark their interest in pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation? Right now, NASA’s fleet of Mars robotic explorers is paving the way for human exploration of the solar system in the coming decades. Have your students join NASA in preparing for a monumental journey of a lifetime — to Mars!

“NASA’s Journey to Mars” is a short planetarium presentation that can be used in the educational domes of your school district, as well as local planetariums, to inspire interest in STEM. To learn more, including how you can acquire the show for use in your area, visit

Please direct questions about the “NASA’s Journey to Mars” planetarium/dome show to Elsie Weigel at

Science Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

ROSES-16 Amendment 33: New Program Element — Interdisciplinary Science for Eclipse 2017
Audience: Informal and Higher Education Institutions
Step-1 Proposal Deadline: Oct. 27, 2016

A total solar eclipse is widely regarded as one of the most incredible natural phenomenon visible from Earth. On Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will traverse the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. For approximately 90 minutes, city after city along the centerline will experience two to nearly three minutes of darkness during daytime as totality moves from west to east. While the path of totality will cover a swath only 60 miles wide, the contiguous U.S. States will see at least 65% of the sun disappear behind the moon during its progression of phases. A large fraction of the population in North America is expected to witness this natural event (

The purpose of this program element is to support development of new research or enhancement of existing research, applied to the 2017 eclipse. NASA is seeking proposals that would use the special opportunity presented by the solar eclipse to study the sun, Earth, the moon, astronomy, and/or space science, including the ionosphere-thermosphere-mesosphere system. Building on existing partnerships and the use of interdisciplinary or citizen science approaches is encouraged. Citizen science involves public contributions to science, including formulating research questions, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting results, making new discoveries, and/or developing new/existing technologies and applications. Citizen science is distinguished from public outreach in that the primary purpose of public involvement is to make contributions to science. All proposals must demonstrate links to the 2017 solar eclipse.

Step-1 proposals are due by Oct. 27, 2016.

Step-2 proposals are due by Nov. 30, 2016.

For more information, visit .

Please direct questions concerning this program element to Madhulika Guhathakurta at

Postdoctoral Fellowships in Space Biology to Study the Microbiome of the International Space Station as a Built Environment
Audience: Postdoctoral Students
Required Notice of Intent Deadline: Oct. 31, 2016

NASA is seeking proposals from potential postdoctoral fellows to conduct studies to characterize microbial populations isolated from the International Space Station. Selected studies will provide insight into how microbes and microbial populations adapt to spaceflight. Proposed experiments will use microbial isolates collected from the space station that have been archived at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Proposals will be accepted from graduate students in their final year of their Ph.D. or equivalent degree program; from postdoctoral fellows (Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., D.V.M., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution); or from applicants who received a doctoral degree within the past two years but have not yet had postdoctoral training. Applicants must have no more than four years of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the initial or the subsequent resubmission or revision application. The program is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or persons with pre-existing visas obtained through their sponsoring institutions that permit postdoctoral training for the project’s duration. Sponsoring institutions must be U.S. academic, government or commercial institutions that will provide appropriate mentors.

Interested applicants must submit a required notice of intent no later than Oct. 31, 2016.

For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Dr. David Tomko at

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

Don’t miss out on upcoming NASA education opportunities
For a full list of events, opportunities and more, visit the Educators and Students Current Opportunity pages on NASA’s website:
— Educators
— Students

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.
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Visit NASA Education on the web:
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