NASA “Science WOW!” Message – March 7, 2018

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

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Science Always Starts With a Question …

This Week’s Question: Why Does the Moon Have Phases?

Sometimes we see a bright full Moon. And other times we see a tiny sliver in the night sky. What causes the ever-changing phases of Earth’s Moon? Find out with this handy chart.

Have You Seen This?

New studies of Earth’s Moon show that water might be widely distributed across its surface — and not just in certain regions or types of terrain. If the Moon has enough water that is easily accessible, future explorers could use it during missions to the Moon’s surface. Learn more about the latest findings!

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** NASA Pi Day Challenge 2018
Audience: Educators and Students in Grades 6-12
Challenge Release Date: March 9, 2018
Pi Day: March 14, 2018

Celebrate Pi Day with NASA! On March 9 — in advance of the math world’s favorite holiday, Pi Day (March 14) — NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will release the fifth installment of its popular Pi Day Challenge. The illustrated math problem set gets students and adults thinking like NASA scientists to find solutions to real problems posed in space and planetary exploration. It’s a great way to get students excited about the “M” in STEM.

To learn more and to check out challenges from past years, visit

Celebrate Solar Week — Spring 2018
Audience: Educators and Students in Grades 5-9, Informal Educators
Event Dates: March 19-23, 2018

Solar Week provides a series of web-based educational activities focusing on the sun-Earth connection. Students ages 10-14 can learn about solar careers, sunspots, solar energy and solar storms through games and lessons.

This spring’s Solar Week activities will highlight the ionosphere. In constant motion, this mysterious region of Earth’s upper atmosphere is our interface to space. In 2018, the ionosphere’s secrets will be probed by two NASA satellite missions, GOLD and ICON.

For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

 **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: March 22 and 23, 2018, 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. 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:
Planning Cassini’s Grand Finale: A Retrospective
Event Date:
March 22 and 23, 2018, at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT)
On Sept. 15, 2017, the Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn for a mission-ending grand finale. Join systems engineer Erick Sturm from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a look back at the various scenarios envisioned and contingency plans made by the Cassini team as they steered the spacecraft into unexplored territory.

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 GLOBE Clouds: Spring Cloud Observations Data Challenge
Audience: All Educators and Students
Challenge Dates: March 15-April 15, 2018

The NASA GLOBE Clouds team at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, invites educators, students, and the public to enter up to 10 cloud observations per day from March 15-April 15, 2018. Observations can be logged using the GLOBE Program’s data entry options or the GLOBE Observer app. Participants with the most observations will be congratulated by a NASA scientist with a video posted on the NASA GLOBE Clouds website.

To learn more, visit

Questions about this opportunity 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.

Technology Drives Exploration: Marsbound
5-12, Informal and Pre-service Educators
Event Date: March 8, 2018, at 5 p.m. EST
Observation and inference are important to scientific research. NASA remote-sensing data can help explain how air, water and impact events provide evidence in Mars exploration. Multiple inquiry-based activities will deepen the understanding of the behavior of Earth’s geologic features and how they compare to Mars’. Register online to participate.

**NEW** Technology Drives Exploration: BEST GPIM
K-12, Informal and Pre-service Educators
Event Date: March 13, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. EDT
Using the Beginning Engineering Science and Technology curriculum, participants will learn how to use the engineering design process to build a satellite and test green propellant. They also will learn about current research at NASA, specifically the Green Propellant Infusion Mission. Register online to participate.

**NEW** Technology Drives Exploration: Engineering Design in Your Classroom
K-12, Informal and Pre-service Educators
Event Date: March 15, 2018, at 6 p.m. EDT
Explore engineering design and the engineering design process with its application to real-world problem solving. Learn about NASA engineering design challenges and other NASA STEM classroom resources. Engineering design is a common topic in each grade level of the Next Generation Science Standards and an important concept in understanding our world. 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

Summer Institute — Liftoff 2018: Reach New Heights, Reveal the Unknown, Benefit All Humankind
Audience: Educators of Grades 4-12
Application Deadline: March 30, 2018
Institute Dates: June 24-29, 2018

The 2018 LiftOff Summer Institute is a weeklong training event sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium and held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The theme is “Reach New Heights, Reveal the Unknown, Benefit All Humankind.” The event will celebrate all that NASA has contributed and the engineering behind its accomplishments.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens currently employed as classroom teachers of grades 4-12, with at least one year teaching experience prior to the institute.

For more information and to register to attend, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Margaret Baguio at

GLOBE Student Research Campaign — Water in Our Environment
Audience: K-12 Educators
Campaign Dates: Now Through June 30, 2018

Water continuously circulates through one of Earth’s most powerful systems: the water cycle. Join GLOBE for its latest campaign that uses a set of guiding investigative questions to enable students to meaningfully explore water in their local environment and collaborate to consider the influence of water on a global scale. The project is flexible, allowing teachers to choose between many options to involve their students.

Visit the site for details about the project and upcoming informational webinars.

Please direct questions about this opportunity to


Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

Call for Proposals — NASA Fellowship Activity 2018
Audience: First-year Master’s or Doctoral Students
Proposal Deadline: March 20, 2018, by 5:59 p.m. EDT

The NASA Office of Education Fellowship Activity funds candidates for graduate research at their respective campuses during the academic year under the guidance of their faculty adviser and a NASA researcher. Proposals must be student-authored and independently conceived.

To be eligible to submit a proposal, candidates must be U.S. citizens or naturalized citizens who hold a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field earned before Aug. 31, 2018. Candidates must be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program no later than Sept. 1, 2018, and intend to pursue a research-based master’s or Ph.D. program in a NASA-relevant field.

Proposals are due March 20, 2018.

For full program details, visit

Please direct questions concerning these program elements to Elizabeth Cartier at

NASA Stennis Community College and Education Faculty Fellowship Program
Audience: Full-time Faculty at Accredited Higher Education Institutions in Mississippi and Louisiana
Application Deadline: April 27, 2018, at 5 p.m. CDT
Fellowship Dates: June 4 – Aug. 10, 2018

The NASA Stennis Community College and Education Faculty Fellowship Program provides opportunities for STEM faculty to do research for 10 weeks during the summer at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens working full time at a two-year or four-year accredited university or college in Mississippi or Louisiana. The program provides a weekly stipend. Qualified faculty from minority-serving institutions are particularly encouraged to apply.

Applications are due April 27, 2018, at 5 p.m. CDT. For more information, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

Free ‘Sun, Earth, Universe’ Exhibition Available for Eligible Institutions
Audience: Informal Science Education Institutions in the U.S. within the NISE Network (NISENet)
Application Deadline: May 1, 2018

In collaboration with NASA, NISENet is accepting applications from eligible institutions to receive a free “Sun, Earth, Universe” exhibition. This engaging and interactive museum exhibition about Earth and space science has been curated with science experts and designed for family audiences. Visit the site for eligibility details.

The exhibition is designed for NISENet partners located within the United States and U.S. territories. Applicants must be informal science education institutions such as science museums and science centers, children’s museums, natural history museums and nature centers, public planetariums and observatories, and NASA visitor centers.

To learn more, visit

Please note that K-12 schools, afterschool programs, libraries, parks, summer camps and astronomy clubs are not eligible to exhibit. If your institution is not eligible, consider downloading a digital version of the “Explore Science: Earth & Space Toolkit” to engage audiences in hands-on Earth and space science activities with connections to science, technology and society. Digital toolkits are available for free download at:

Please direct questions about this opportunity to

Project Mars: International Art and Film Contest
Audience: College Students and Early Career Professionals
Entry Deadline: Aug. 31, 2018

NASA is leading human space exploration in the vicinity of the Moon and on to Mars. Project Mars invites college students and recent graduates with fewer than 5 years of experience in the film or graphic arts industry to learn about NASA’s deep space endeavors and create a visualization of what this expedition may look like.

Entries can be short films (two to five minutes in length) or posters (standard-size sheets, 27 by 41 inches). Winners will receive cash prizes.

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:

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