NASA Education “Science WOW!” Message — Dec. 21, 2016

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

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: Why Is the Sky Blue?

It’s easy to see that the sky is blue. Have you ever wondered why? Visit the link below to find out!

Have You Seen This?

Scientists are studying how different wavelengths of light affect the circadian rhythms of astronauts living on the space station. What they learn may improve sleep patterns of people on Earth, too!

Check out the new “ScienceCasts: The Power of Light” to learn more.


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

2017 Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut “Walk to the Moon” Challenge
Audience: All Educators and Students, Home School Parents and After-school Groups
Registration Deadline: Dec. 31, 2016
Challenge Dates: Jan. 12 – April 28, 2017

Mission X encourages children of all ages, as well as people with particular needs, to pursue healthy lifestyles based on the model of training like an astronaut. During six- to nine-week “challenges” each fall and spring, schools and student groups from around the world complete Mission X classroom-based science lessons and physical education activities.

In 2017, Mission X is challenging Fit Explorers around the world to work together to perform activities that will move Astro Charlie the 478 million steps it would take to walk from Earth to the moon! That’s 238,857 miles, or 384,403 kilometers! At an average walking speed, that would take one person about nine years to complete.

The challenge kicks off in January. For full challenge details and to do your part to help reach this out-of-this-world goal, visit The deadline to register for this challenge is Dec. 31, 2016. You may apply for Team USA at

In 2016, Mission X was represented by 30 countries and more than 53,000 participants. The challenge was available in 17 languages.

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Nubia Carvajal at

Future Engineers Mars Medical Challenge
Audience: Educators and Students Ages 5 to 19
Entry Deadline: Jan. 25, 2017

Calling all students! NASA wants your help to design an object that could be used by an astronaut to maintain physical health on a three-year mission to Mars. The Mars Medical Challenge is the fifth in a series of Future Engineers Challenges where students in grades K-12 create and submit a digital 3-D model intended to be printed in 3-D and used for a wide range of medical needs including diagnostic, preventive, first-aid, emergency, surgical and/or dental purposes.

As NASA continues to investigate how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, radiation and stress that occur long-duration spaceflight, Future Engineers proposes to engage students with a related challenge. The Mars Medical Challenge asks students to design a 3-D printed object that will keep astronauts healthy during the long trip to the Red Planet. Specifically, medical and dental hardware will be emphasized during this challenge.

Students ages 5-19 are invited to become the creators and innovators of tomorrow by using 3-D modeling software to submit their designs for hardware that could be used by astronauts on a future mission to Mars. Students have the opportunity to win prizes ranging from a Mars prize pack or a 3-D printer for their school to a trip to Houston for a tour of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The challenge closes on Jan. 25, 2017, and winners will be announced on March 28, 2017.

What health-related items do you think an astronaut will need on that journey, and why would these items require a 3-D printer? It’s time to start flexing your problem-solving and design skills to find a solution – good luck!

For more information about the challenge and how to enter, visit

2016-2017 Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest
Audience: 5-12 Students
Entry Deadline: Feb. 24, 2017

The Cassini Scientist for a Day contest challenges students to become NASA scientists studying Saturn. Participants examine three of the best scientific targets imaged by the Cassini spacecraft in its 12 years at Saturn. After researching the topics, students are to choose the one they think yielded the best scientific results. This year’s targets are Enceladus’ plumes, Titan’s lakes and Saturn’s hexagon. After researching the three options, students write an essay of fewer than 500 words explaining their choice.

The contest is open to all students in the United States in grades 5-12. The essays will be divided into three groups for scoring: grades 5-6, 7-8 and 9-12. All submissions must be students’ original work. Participants may enter as individuals or as part of a team of up to four students.

The deadline for entries is Feb. 24, 2017.

For more information, visit

If you have questions about this contest, please email

Science Opportunities for Educators of Grades K-12

2017 Space Exploration Educators Conference
Audience: K-12 Educators
Early Bird Registration Deadline: Dec. 30, 2016
Event Date: Feb. 9-11, 2017

Make plans to attend the 23rd Annual Space Exploration Educators Conference to be held Feb. 9-11, 2017, at Space Center Houston. This conference is for all K-12 educators. Activities presented use space-related themes to teach across the curricula. The activities may be used for science, language arts, mathematics, history and more.

Attend sessions hosted by scientists and engineers working on exciting projects like the International Space Station and the exploration of Mars and other parts of our solar system. Hear from astronauts who will be “leading the charge” in exploration. Attend sessions presented by educators and receive ready-to-implement classroom ideas. Attendees can earn up to 24 hours of continuing professional education credit.

For discounted registration, sign up to attend before the Early Bird Registration deadline on Dec. 30, 2016!

For more information, visit

Please email any questions about the conference to

**NEW** Free Educator Workshop: Earth Science Workshop
Audience: Formal and Informal Educators of Grades K-8
Event Date: Jan. 14, 2017, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. PST

Explore the impact of increasing global temperature on glaciers and sea level using real satellite data from NASA. Then, discover ways to turn these resources into engineering, mathematics and science lessons for students. Finally, learn to use the engineering design process to develop water-filtration and recycling systems to minimize our adverse impact on the water cycle.

Join NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Jan. 14, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST for this workshop at the von Kármán Auditorium at NASA’s JPL in Pasadena, California.

For more information and to register to attend, visit

Can’t make it to the workshop? Explore these lessons online at and

Please direct questions about this workshop to Paula Partida at

**NEW** Free Educator Workshop — Solar System and Beyond: Modern Figures
Audience: K-12 and Informal Educators
Event Dates: Jan. 18, 2017, 4:30-6 p.m. PST

Join the Office of Education of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center for an educator professional development workshop as we look back at the history of human computers like Katherine Johnson and look forward toward exploration of the solar system. Learn about OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer) on its search for asteroids using modern-day technology to calculate launch windows and orbits. Educators will engage in standards-aligned mathematics, science and engineering activities about launch windows, planetary orbits and robotics. Participants will receive hands-on activities for students that combine math, science, engineering and social studies.

The workshop will take place Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, 4:30-6 p.m. PST at NASA’s Armstrong Educator Resource Center at the AERO Institute in Palmdale, California.

For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this workshop to Sondra Geddes at

Science Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

Center for Astronomy Education Regional Teaching Exchanges and Workshops — Fall/Winter 2016-2017
Audience: Current and Future College Instructors of Astronomy
Next Event Date: Jan. 4, 2017

NASA’s Center for Astronomy Education, or CAE, announces a series of regional teaching exchanges and workshops for astronomy and space science educators.

Teaching exchanges foster a sense of community among geographically linked current and future college instructors of astronomy. Regional experts from the broader CAE community are ready to provide the opportunity for you to meet your neighbors, expand your instructional repertoire and share your own expertise.

Workshops provide participants with experiences needed to create effective and productive active-learning classroom environments. Workshop leaders model best practices in implementing many different classroom-tested instructional strategies. But more importantly, workshop participants will gain first-hand experience implementing these proven strategies.

Jan. 4, 2017 — Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas
CAE Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop — New Methods for Teaching About Exoplanets

Jan. 5, 2017 — Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas
CAE Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop — New Methods for Teaching in the Flipped Classroom

For more information and to register for the teaching exchanges, visit

Inquiries about this series of events should be directed to Gina Brissenden at

CAE is funded through NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Exoplanet Exploration Program.

**NEW** Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowships for Early Career Researchers
Audience: Researchers Who Have Received a Ph.D. in the Last Eight Years
Notice of Intent Deadline: Jan. 20, 2017
Proposal Deadline: March 17, 2017

The Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship in astrophysics seeks to provide early-career researchers the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to lead astrophysics flight instrument development projects, including suborbital investigations, in preparation to become principal investigators of future astrophysics missions; to develop innovative technologies for space astrophysics that have the potential to enable major scientific breakthroughs; and to foster new talent by putting early-career instrument builders on a trajectory toward long-term positions. NASA is committed to supporting deserving early-career researchers by selecting one or more Roman Technology Fellows every year.

This fellowship consists of two components with two different submission procedures. (1) The first component is the application to be named a Roman Technology Fellow through a one-page application submitted along with a proposal submitted to D.3, the Astrophysics Research and Analysis, or APRA, program element. (2) The second component is the subsequent submission of a proposal for up to $300K in fellowship funds by a previously selected Roman Technology Fellow once that individual obtains a permanent or permanent track position.

A notice of intent to submit a proposal is required and is due Jan. 20, 2017. Proposals are due March 17, 2017.

For complete fellowship details and application procedures, visit

Questions concerning this opportunity may be directed to William Lightsey at

**NEW** 2017 Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program
Audience: Undergraduate Students Majoring in Geology or a Related Science
Application Deadline: Feb. 10, 2017

The Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program, or PGGURP, pairs qualified undergraduate students with NASA-funded investigators at research locations across the U.S. for eight weeks during the summer. Students spend the summer at the NASA scientists’ home institutions. Selected students receive a cost-of-living stipend and compensation for housing and travel.

Undergraduate students majoring in geology or related sciences are eligible to apply. Students graduating in 2017 who have not started graduate school yet are also eligible. Preference is given to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Applications are due Feb. 10, 2017.

For more information, visit

If you have questions about this opportunity, please email Robyn Wagner, PGGURP administrator, 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

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