NASA Education “Science WOW!” Message — Jan. 4, 2017

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: What Is a Polar Vortex?

The phrase “polar vortex” sounds like it could be an alien death-ray or an extremely powerful washing machine, but what does it have to do with cold weather? To find out, visit

Have You Seen This?

Are you looking for a kid-friendly website about Earth’s climate? Check out NASA’s Climate Kids website for interactive games, crafty activities, engaging videos, informative articles and 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

NASA’s DIVER (Diving into Experimental Research) Challenge
Audience: 9-12 Students
Proposal Deadline: Feb. 1, 2017

NASA and the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, or ASGSR, are challenging high school students to design and build an object that will float in water in normal gravity but will submerge in water as far as possible when exposed to microgravity.

After student proposals are evaluated, selected teams will have their objects tested in NASA’s 2.2 Second Drop Tower at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio. Teams are only responsible for their diving objects. NASA will provide the rest of the experimental hardware and interact with teams remotely during testing.

The winning DIVER teams will have the opportunity to present their results in a student poster session at ASGSR’s 2017 conference in Seattle, Washington, in October 2017.

Proposals are due Feb. 1, 2017.

For more information about this opportunity, visit

Please email questions about this opportunity to

Be a Citizen Scientist With the ‘Aurorasaurus’ Project
Audience: All Educators and Students
Project Timeframe: Ongoing

Aurorasaurus is the first and only citizen science project that tracks auroras around the world via online reports, mobile apps and social media.

Aurorasaurus is a citizen science project that gathers real-time data about aurora sightings and sends out notifications to users when the northern or southern lights are likely visible in their area. Registered users get location-based notifications and a real-time monitor of space weather activity. The project also allows users to help verify tweets and search for real sightings. Plus, the website features answers to science and aurora questions.

To learn more, visit

Please direct questions about this project to

This project receives support from the National Science Foundation and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Science Opportunities for Educators of Grades K-12

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.

Aeronautics — Come Fly With Us: Flying Things in Your Classroom
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 4-8
Event Date: Jan. 5, 2017, at 6 p.m. EST
Explore the principles and physics of flight by flying things in your classroom. Use NASA online resources and simple, inexpensive STEM classroom activities and design challenges to investigate the parts of an airplane, what makes an airplane fly, and how to model aircraft that can fly in your classroom. Register online to participate.

**NEW** Teachers Connect: LaRC Centennial Badge Webinar
Audience: Pre-service, In-service, Home School, and Informal Educators of Grades 6-8
Event Date: Jan. 10, 2017, at 4 p.m. EST
The first half of this webinar will focus on clouds and their role in Earth’s “energy budget” and on implementation ideas using GLOBE for different classroom settings as part of the “Earth Right Now: LaRC 100th” digital badge. Participants also will talk about student badge implementations, extension ideas and extra resources. The second half-hour will center on the engineering design process using the “Drag Race to Mars Engineering Design Challenge” as part of the “Journey to Mars: LaRC 100th” digital badge. This portion of the webinar will focus on forces and motion and math calculations using paper airplanes and testing different materials as part of the “Aeronautics: LaRC 100th” digital badge.

This webinar meets requirements of teacher discussions within the NASA Langley 100th Educator Professional Development Collaborative digital badges. Register online to participate. To learn more about the Langley 100th digital badges, log in to and search for LaRC 100th.

For a full schedule of upcoming NASA Educator Professional Development webinars, visit

Questions about this series of webinars should be directed to Steve Culivan at

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** What’s New at NASA’s Space Place Website?
Audience: K-6 Educators

Space Place is a NASA website for elementary students, their teachers and their parents. Check it out at

Don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, the NASA Space Place Gazette!

New Resources

What Is an Asteroid?
— Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the sun. While there are many asteroids in our solar system, most of them “live” in the main asteroid belt — a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But where did they come from, and are they all the same? Find out here!

What’s the Difference Between an Asteroid and a Meteor? — Both are types of space rocks, but the difference between the two depends on how close they are to Earth’s surface.

Exoplanets — All the planets in our solar system orbit around the sun. Planets that orbit around other stars are called exoplanets. How do we know they exist? Check out our new article!

Be sure to check out our new video and poster about exoplanets!

Moon Cookies — Make our delicious no-bake moon cookies! Follow our video for simple instructions.

All About Planets — Our solar system is home to eight amazing planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. No two of them are the same! Some are small and rocky; some are freezing cold. Learn all about each planet and what makes each one unique!

What Are Black Holes? — And are they really as scary as they sound? A black hole is an area of such immense gravity that nothing — not even light — can escape from it. Check out our short video and poster to learn more.

Special Days to Celebrate
Find out about noteworthy days in NASA and space history that you can observe in your classroom.

Jan. 7 — In 1610, Galileo discovered several of Jupiter’s moons!

Jupiter has many moons. Have you heard of its moon Io?

Jan. 16 — NASA selected the first U.S. women astronauts in 1978.
See some photos of astronauts in action!

Jan. 24 — Voyager 2 encountered Uranus on this day in 1986.
Did you know that Uranus has faint rings? Learn all about this blue planet here!

Jan. 25 — The Opportunity rover landed on Mars in 2004.
Why were Spirit and Opportunity sent to Mars in the first place?

Feb. 6 — In 1971, Alan Shepard played golf on the moon.
How far away is the moon? The answer might surprise you!

Feb. 18 — Pluto was discovered in 1930 by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh.
Why is Pluto no longer considered a planet?

Do you want some help spreading the word about NASA’s Space Place? We have a page with ready-to-use website descriptions, logos and links to all our social media. Check out

Subscribe to Our Monthly E-newsletter!
Interested in keeping up with the latest and greatest news from NASA Space Place? Subscribe to the NASA Space Place Gazette. The NASA Space Place Gazette is for educators, parents and space enthusiasts of all ages. It includes special bulletins for noteworthy days and NASA events, such as a lunar eclipse, planet flyby or rover landing. It’s easy to subscribe — just click here.

Send Feedback
Please let us know your ideas about ways to use The Space Place in your teaching. Send them to

Science Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

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

NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships Program Accepting Proposals for 2017-2018 Academic Year
Audience: Higher Education Educators and Students
Proposal Deadline: Feb. 1, 2017

The NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship program is soliciting applications from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of individuals pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in Earth and space sciences, or related disciplines, for the 2017-2018 academic year. The purpose of NESSF is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA’s scientific goals. Awards resulting from the competitive selection will be training grants to the respective universities, with the advisor serving as the principal investigator. Financial support for the NESSF program comes from the Science Mission Directorate’s four science divisions: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Science and Astrophysics.

Initially, NESSF awards are made for one year. They may be renewed for up to two additional years, contingent upon satisfactory progress (as reflected in academic performance, research progress and recommendation by the faculty advisor) and the availability of funds.

The maximum amount of a NESSF award is $45,000 per year.

Proposals for this opportunity are due Feb. 1, 2017.

For more information about this solicitation, visit

Questions about Earth Science Research NESSF opportunities should be directed to Claire Macaulay at

Questions about Heliophysics Research, Planetary Science Research and Astrophysics Research opportunities should be directed to Dolores Holland at

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

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

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Visit NASA Education on the web:
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