NASA “Science WOW!” Message – March 14, 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: How Does Our Sun Compare to Other Stars?

The Sun is a hot ball of glowing gases. Its gravity holds the Solar System together, keeping everything from the biggest planets to the smallest particles of debris in its orbit. Our Sun is pretty impressive, but how does it compare to other stars?

Visit NASA Space Place to find out!
English —
Spanish —

Have You Seen This?

This summer, a spacecraft the size of a small car will launch on a mission to travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere — and your name can tag along for the ride!

NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe. Facing brutal heat and radiation, the mission will study the corona and solar winds as the probe travels through the Sun’s atmosphere.

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 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

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

**NEW** Video — ‘Mission Possible: Women of the Hubble Space Telescope’
Audience: All Educators and Students

Do you want to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM fields and go after their dreams? Share this new video, released in celebration of Women’s History Month, that features six women whose careers led them to NASA to work with the Hubble Space Telescope. From astronaut to social media lead, from scientists to engineers, these “Women of Hubble” overcame obstacles and persevered to achieve success and help make Hubble one of the greatest exploration machines in human history. Their inspirational stories teach you that anyone can succeed if you stay curious, never give up and don’t let anything keep you from reaching your goals.

Watch the video at

To learn more about the Hubble Space Telescope, visit


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: 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.

**NEW** Technology Drives Exploration: BEST Satellite and Engineering Design
K-12, Informal and Pre-service Educators
Event Date: March 20, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. EDT
Learn about the International Space Station as a manmade satellite and explore the BEST (Beginning Engineering Science & Technology) activities that focus on using the engineering design process in the classroom. Register online to participate.

**NEW** Technology Drives Exploration: Robotics on a Budget
4-8, Informal and Pre-service Educators
Event Date: March 22, 2018, at 6 p.m. EDT
Robots are a part of everyday life, but what exactly are they? How are robots used in our lives? How are they used at NASA? Explore answers to these questions and learn how to use robotics inexpensively in your classroom by integrating NASA STEM robotic missions, curriculum and online resources. 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


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

Seeking Volunteer Reviewers in Earth and Space Science
Audience: Subject Matter Experts in Earth and Space Science

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is seeking subject matter experts to serve as mail-in and/or panel reviewers of proposals to ROSES (Research Opportunities in Earth and Space Science) and other SMD solicitations. Multiple reviewing opportunities are available. Visit the links below to find volunteer review forms and to indicate the topics in which you consider yourself to be a subject matter expert. If your skills match the needs for that review, you may be contacted to discuss scheduling.
Reviewers are needed on a regular basis as opportunities periodically open. To see a full list of current reviewing opportunities, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Max Bernstein at


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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