NASA Education “Science WOW!” Message — Nov. 1, 2017

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

Science WOW! banner

Science Always Starts With a Question …

This Week’s Question: How Does Mars Compare to Earth?

Is a day on Mars longer than a day on Earth? What is gravity like on Mars? Get answers to these questions and more!

For the latest news about Mars, visit

Have You Seen This?

Take a walk on Mars in your own living room with Access Mars! This free, immersive experience lets you experience what it would be like to walk alongside the Mars Curiosity rover on the Red Planet.

Want more interactive Mars exploration? Check out Mars Trek! This free, web-based application provides high-quality, detailed visualizations allowing astronomers, citizen scientists and students to study the Red Planet’s features.

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

Send Your Name to Mars on NASA’s Next Red Planet Mission!
Audience: All Educators and Students
Deadline: Nov. 1, 2017

NASA invites the public to send their names to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s InSight Mars lander! InSight will launch in May 2018 and land on Nov. 26, 2018. The mission will do an in-depth study of the interior of Mars to answer key questions about how the solar system’s rocky planets formed, including Earth. InSight will place the first seismometer directly on the surface of Mars and deploy a self-hammering heat probe that will burrow deeper into the ground than any device on the planet has ever done.

To get your boarding pass to fly your name on the next mission to Mars, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to

Be a Mosquito Habitat Mapper With ‘GLOBE Observer’ App
Audience: All Educators and Students
Project Dates: Now Through Nov. 10, 2017

Mosquitos are more than just a summertime nuisance — they spread diseases. Now citizen scientists can use the “GLOBE Observer” app, available for Apple and Android phones, to help those who are working to understand and reduce mosquito-borne diseases. The Mosquito Habitat Mapper helps users identify and eliminate mosquito breeding sites. This local, ground-based information will help NASA by supporting satellite-based research of environmental conditions that indicate possible outbreaks of mosquitoes.

To learn more, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Holli Riebeek at

NASA’s 2018 Drop Tower Challenge: Microgravity Expulsion From Water
Audience: 9-12 Students
Proposal Deadline: Nov. 10, 2017

NASA challenges teams of high school students to design and build objects that sink in water in normal gravity but will be expelled as far as possible out of water during free fall in NASA’s 2.2 Second Drop Tower at Glenn Research Center. The expulsion must result from hydrophobic surface properties of the object.

Top-performing teams will be invited to present their results in a poster session at the 2018 meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research.

Proposals are due Nov. 10, 2017. For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

**NEW** 2017 von Kármán Lecture Series — Attend in Person or View Online
Audience: All Educators; Students in Grades 9-12 and Higher Education
Next Lecture Date: Nov. 16 and Nov. 17, 2017, at 7 p.m. PST (10 p.m. EST)

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. PST (10 p.m. EST). 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:

Mars 2020, or There and Back Again
Event Date:
Nov. 16 and Nov. 17, 2017, at 7 p.m. PST (10 p.m. EST)
Four years from now, NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory will once again rove the Red Planet with Mars 2020. This time, mission objectives include exploration of extremely ancient habitats to enable collection of samples that could one day be returned to Earth. Join Ken Williford, the deputy project scientist for Mars 2020, for a discussion about the evolving scientific strategy for the mission.

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

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.

Earth Sense — Remote Sensing at NASA: For Your Eyes Only
5-8, Informal and Pre-service Educators
Event Date: Nov. 2, 2017, at 6 p.m. EDT
Look at Earth through the eyes of the astronauts. Learn how human observations from space help us understand our planet better. Using NASA missions, real data, online resources and classroom lessons, we’ll investigate Earth with eyes from above. Register online to participate.

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

**NEW** ESTEEM Virtual “Ask US” Event: International Observe the Moon Night Through a Native American Perspective
Audience: Members of Tribal and Indigenous Communities
Event Date: Nov. 8, 2017, 2 – 3 p.m. EST

On Oct. 28, 2017, events were held around the world to observe the moon. Native Americans have been observing the moon for thousands of years and have developed specific cultural connections related to the moon. Join the ESTEEM team as we explore the Native American perspective of the moon, preview materials, answer science questions, and allow for dialogue. Discover how to bring moon topics to the classroom through the eyes of Native Americans.

For more information, visit

Questions about this webinar should be directed to Bonnie Murray at

2018-2019 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship
Audience: K-12 STEM Educators
Application Deadline: Nov. 16, 2017, at 8 p.m. EST

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship is a paid fellowship for K-12 science, mathematics, engineering and technology teachers. Einstein Fellows spend a school year in the Washington, D.C., area serving in a federal agency or on Capitol Hill. Applicants must be U.S. citizens currently employed full time in a U.S. elementary or secondary school or school district. Applicants must have been teaching STEM full time for at least five of the last seven years.

For details, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

Apply to Receive Free ‘Explore Science: Earth & Space 2018’ Toolkits
Audience: Children’s Museums, Science Centers, Science Museums, NASA Visitor Centers, Public Planetariums and Observatories Located in the U.S.
Application Deadline: Nov. 1, 2017

The National Informal STEM Education Network, or NISE Network, is pleased to offer free “Explore Science: Earth & Space 2018” toolkits to new and existing eligible partners in the United States. In collaboration with NASA, the NISE Network has assembled a new set of engaging, hands-on Earth and space science experiences with connections to science, technology and society. In addition to the physical toolkits, all digital materials will be available online as a free download in February 2018.

A total of 250 toolkits will be awarded to eligible organizations through a competitive application process. Eligible organizations include children’s museums, science centers, science museums, public planetariums and observatories, and NASA visitor centers located in the U.S.

Applications are due Nov. 1, 2017. To learn more, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Catherine McCarthy at

2018 RASC-AL Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge Tech Demo and Engineering Design Competition
Audience: Higher Education Students and Faculty
Project Plan Submission Deadline: Nov. 16, 2017

The 2018 RASC-AL Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge is an engineering design and technology demonstration contest open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students at accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. This challenge gives teams the opportunity to design and build hardware that can extract water from simulated Martian subsurface ice.

Up to 10 teams will be chosen to demonstrate their system’s water extraction capabilities in June 2018 at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Project plans are due Nov. 16, 2017.

For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

2018 BIG Idea Challenge
Audience: Higher Education Students and Faculty
Entry Deadline: Nov. 30, 2017

NASA’s 2018 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge is an engineering design contest open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students. This competition seeks innovations in the design, installation and sustainable operation of a large solar power system on Mars. Top teams present their concepts via a design review at either NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia or NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio. The winning team will receive NASA internship offers.

Entries are due Nov. 30, 2017. For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

Check out the ‘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.
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.

Take Part in a Year of Education on Station
September 2017 – September 2018: Although on different crews, astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold — both former teachers — will work aboard the International Space Station. Visit NASA’s A Year of Education on Station website for out-of-this-world resources and opportunities for K-16 students and educators.

Visit NASA Education on the web:
NASA Office of Education:
For Educators:
For Students:
NASA Kids’ Club:

Did you miss last week’s NASA Education Science WOW! newsletter?
Visit the Science WOW! blog for an archive of previous messages.