NASA “Science WOW!” Message — Dec. 20, 2017

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

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Happy Holidays from the “Science WOW!” team! We will not be sending a message on Dec. 27, 2017. We hope you enjoy the holiday season and look forward to sharing lots of science opportunities with you in 2018!

Science Always Starts With a Question …

This Week’s Question: How Far Away Is the Sun?

The Sun is the closest star to Earth, but how close is it? Learn the answer to this question, and find out how our sun’s position in the sky changes due to Earth’s rotation, revolution and tilt. 

Have You Seen This?

Want to learn more about the electromagnetic waves that make up all the different kinds of light and energy in the universe? Take a Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum — This NASA resource includes activities, videos 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

**NEW** 2018 von Kármán Lecture Series — Attend in Person or View Online
Audience: All Educators; Students in Grades 9-12 and Higher Education
Next Lecture Date: Jan. 25 and 26, 2018, 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:

Explorer 1’s 60th Anniversary: A Celebration of Six Decades of Earth Science Discoveries
Event Date:
Jan. 25 and 26, 2018, at 7 p.m. PST (10 p.m. EST)
The Explorer 1 satellite marked the start of the Space Age for the United States. For the world, it heralded the study of Earth from space. Join NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory documentarian Blaine Baggett and historian Dr. Erik Conway as they go on a multimedia journey from the dawn of Earth science exploration to today’s modern fleet of satellites dedicated to studying our home planet.

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

Free Program — Cubes in Space™
Audience: Students Ages 11-18 and Educator Mentors
Registration Deadline: Feb. 2, 2018

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Langley Research Center, along with the Colorado Space Grant Consortium and idoodledu, inc., are offering a free STEAM education program for students ages 11-18. Cubes in Space lets students design and compete to launch an experiment into space. Selected student-designed payload cubes will be launched via a sounding rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, in late June 2018 or from a high-altitude scientific balloon from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in New Mexico in late August 2018.

Registration closes on Feb. 2, 2018. For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

International Space Station Research Design Challenge: Capillary Effects on Liquids Exploratory Research Experiments
Audience: Students in Grades 8-12
Design Submission Deadlines: March 1, 2018

NASA and Portland State University in Oregon are challenging students in grades 8-12 to design microgravity experiments investigating capillary action, similar to those conducted on the space station. Teams or individuals create their own experiment using computer-aided design with a provided template and submit short proposals presenting the experiments. Selected experiments will be tested in the university’s 2.1-second drop tower, and video results will be available for analysis and reporting.

Design ideas are due March 1, 2018. For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity 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.

**NEW** NASA Aeronautics: Forces and Motions of Flight
4-8, Informal and Pre-service Educators
Event Date: Jan. 4, 2018, at 6 p.m. EST
Learn how to explore the principles and physics of flight by flying things in your classroom. Using NASA online resources and simple, inexpensive STEM classroom activities and design challenges, investigate the parts of an airplane, what makes an airplane fly, and how to design and build aircraft that can fly in a classroom.

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** Free Webinar — Parachuting on Mars: Developing Crosscutting Breakthrough Technologies
Audience: 5-8 Educators
Event Date: Jan. 17, 2018, at 6 p.m. EST

Join NASA’s Beginning Engineering, Science and Technology, or BEST, educators for a free 60-minute educator professional development webinar. Learn how NASA is developing large, sturdy and lightweight systems to deliver the next generation of rovers and landers to Mars. Using NASA’S BEST engineering design process, participants will design a prototype of new drag devices to potentially land humans, habitats and rovers safely on Mars.

For more information and to register to participate, visit

Please send questions about this opportunity to

Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

**NEW** Call for Proposals — NASA Research Announcement for NASA Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II)
Audience: Informal Education Institutions
Pre-Proposal Telecom: Dec. 21, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. EST
Notice of Intent Deadline: Jan. 16, 2018
Proposal Deadline: Feb. 28, 2018

NASA is seeking proposals for the NASA Research Announcement: NASA Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions. Eligible proposers include U.S. nonprofit science museums, planetariums, youth-serving organizations and libraries.

Proposals are solicited to perform NASA education or research for inquiry- or experiential-based educational opportunities that directly align with major NASA missions within these congressionally directed topics: space exploration, space science or microgravity. Proposed projects shall partner with major networks of other informal education institutions, youth-serving organizations, libraries, and/or K-12 schools along with commercial entities, higher education institutions, and/or other agencies that support federal STEM education goals.

A pre-proposal teleconference will take place on Dec. 21, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. EST. To join, dial 888-390-0676 and use the passcode 7710486.

An optional but strongly encouraged Notice of Intent is requested by Jan. 16, 2018. Proposals are due Feb. 28, 2018.

For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

2018 Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Exploration Science Summer Intern Program
Audience: Graduate Students
Application Deadline: Jan. 19, 2018

Join the Lunar and Planetary Institute for a 10-week program for graduate students in geology, planetary science, planetary astronomy and related programs. Learn how to integrate scientific input with exploration activities in a way that mission architects and spacecraft engineers can use. Activities will support missions to the Moon that use the Orion crew vehicle, the Deep Space Gateway and robotic assets on the lunar surface.

Interns will receive stipends and travel expense reimbursement. Applications are due Jan. 19, 2018.

For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

2018-2019 NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships
Audience: Higher Education Educators and Students
Proposal Deadline: Feb. 1, 2018

The NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship program is accepting proposals for the 2018-2019 academic year. Applications must be from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of individuals pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in Earth and space sciences, or related disciplines.

NASA will award training grants to the respective universities, with the advisor serving as principal investigator. The maximum NESSF award is $45,000 per year.

Proposals are due Feb. 1, 2018. For information, 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 Marian Norris at

**NEW** 2018 Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program
Audience: Undergraduate Students Majoring in Geology or a Related Science
Application Deadline: Feb. 21, 2018

The Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program 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 2018 who have not started graduate school yet are also eligible. Preference is given to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Applications are due Feb. 21, 2018.

For more information, visit

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

**NEW** Call for Abstracts: 69th International Astronautical Congress
Audience: Full-time U.S. Graduate Students Attending U.S. Universities
Submission Deadline: Feb. 27, 2018

NASA is seeking abstracts from full-time graduate students interested in presenting at the 69th International Astronautical Congress taking place Oct. 1-5, 2018, in Bremen, Germany. Abstracts must be original, unpublished papers that have not been submitted in any other forum. Abstracts must be 400 words or less, written in English and related to NASA’s ongoing vision for space exploration.

Abstracts are due Feb. 27, 2018. 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 Science WOW! newsletter?
Visit the Science WOW! blog for an archive of previous messages.