Status Report

NASA Education Express Message — Aug. 7, 2014

By SpaceRef Editor
August 7, 2014
Filed under ,
NASA Education Express Message — Aug. 7, 2014

Check out the following NASA opportunities for the education community. Full descriptions are listed below.

Have a Blast Learning About the Moon With Selene Video Game — In English or Spanish!
Audience: All Educators and Grade 5-Higher Education Students
Suggested Registration Deadline: Aug. 15, 2014

Louisiana Tech University Online Course — Steps to STEM: NASA Education Resources for STEM Engagement
Audience: K-12 Educators
Application Deadline: Aug. 30, 2014

Destination Station: San Diego
Audience: All Educators and Students
Exhibit Open Through Sept. 2, 2014

Free Webinar — Secrets to Fundraising for Competing in NASA Challenges
Audience: Higher Education Educators and Students
Webinar Date: Sept. 10, 2014

2015 ICESat-2 Mission Hexacopter Engineering Challenge
Audience: Undergraduate College Students from Accredited U.S. Colleges and Universities
Application Deadline: Sept. 12, 2014

Call for Papers — The NACA Centenary: A Symposium on 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development
Audience: Scholars and Graduate Students
Submission Deadline: Sept. 15, 2014

MAVEN Workshop — Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore!
Audience: Elementary Educators
Application Deadline: Sept. 15, 2014
Workshop Date: Sept. 21, 2014

Second Annual Astrobiology Symposium at the Library of Congress
Audience: All Educators and 9-Higher Education Students
Symposium Dates: Sept. 1819, 2014

REGISTRATION OPEN: Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2014
Audience: 9-12 Educators and Students
Registration Deadline: Sept. 24, 2014

Send Your Name to the Asteroid Bennu!
Audience: Educators and Students Worldwide
Deadline: Sept. 30, 2014

Presidential Management Fellows Program: STEM Opportunity
Audience: Graduate Students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Disciplines
Application Period Will Open Sept. or Oct. 2014

Celebrate World Space Week 2014
Audience: All Educators
Event Date: Oct. 4-10, 2014

OSSI NIFS — Spring 2015 Opportunities
Audience: Higher Education Students
Application Deadline: Oct. 12, 2014

Earth Science Week 2014 Contests
Audience: All Educators and Students
Entry Deadline: Oct. 17, 2014

NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowships
Audience: Higher Education Educators and Students
Next Application Deadline: Nov. 1, 2014

MissionSTEM Video: 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Audience: All Educators and Students

Don’t miss out on upcoming NASA education opportunities.
For a full list of events, opportunities and more, visit the Educator and Student Current Opportunity pages on NASA’s website:
— Educators
— Students


Have a Blast Learning About the Moon With Selene Video Game — In English or Spanish!

Play “Selene: A Lunar Construction Game” ( free online video game designed for players ages 9 and older. Learn the solar system’s basic geological processes by firing away at what will quickly become a full-fledged, pockmarked moon like our own. Take a journey of discovery and replicate the moon’s 4.5 billion-year history. 

Educators and youth leaders can incorporate “Selene” into classroom curriculum and other activities. Use the CyGaMEs Gameplay Inquiry Cycle to enhance player success. Follow with the MoonGazers hands-on activities that take “Selene” players outside to explore the moon and its phases from their own backyards. Discover and apply concepts that are standards-based, and then investigate the moon. “Selene” gameplay and instructional videos support Next Generation Science Standards and Framework core concepts and integrate real-time assessment tools.

“Selene” is also available in a Spanish language version. 

Watch the short training videos to prepare to implement “Selene.” Training completion is required in order to participate. For complete information about implementing this award-winning game, visit

Educators who are interested in participating must contact the Selene team by August 15 to ensure processing of a user account for fall 2014. Contact to schedule your orientation.


Louisiana Tech University Online Course — Steps to STEM: NASA Education Resources for STEM Engagement

Louisiana Tech University is teaming up with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to offer a 10-week course for educators interested in putting a space-themed twist on learning. The course is designed to be a self-paced, online professional development experience focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education resources available from NASA. These resources have application methods for use in grades 4-9 classrooms with the goal of advancing high quality STEM education utilizing NASA’s unique capabilities.

Applications are due Aug. 30, 2014

For more information and to enroll in the course, visit

Questions about these courses should be directed to Amy McDowell


Destination Station: San Diego

Ever wonder what it’s like to live and work in space? Find out at the Destination Station exhibit! This multimedia exhibit showcases what it’s like to live aboard the International Space Station. The exhibit will be open to the public through Sept. 2, 2014, at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, California.

To learn more, visit

Questions about this exhibit should be directed to Megan Sumner


Free Webinar — Secrets to Fundraising for Competing in NASA Challenges

NASA has several exciting technical challenges open for universities and colleges. The challenges include the Student Launch, the Robotic Mining Competition, the Human Exploration Rover Challenge, the X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge, as well other challenges. In order to be successful, teams not only need to master engineering and technical obstacles, they must also raise the funding necessary for equipment and travel expenses.

To help all universities and colleges interested in competing, the NASA Minority Innovation Challenges Institute, or MICI, is hosting a free webinar on Sept. 10, 2014, at3 p.m. EDT. Topics covered during the session will include: 

— Fundraising practices utilized by teams that competed in the 2014 NASA Robotic Mining Competition.
— How to locate potential donors, and the best way to land contributions.
— How to use crowdfunding websites to expand fundraising efforts to regional and national levels.
— Grant opportunities that are open and receptive to funding university teams.

The webinar will be hosted by a certified fundraising executive along with two certified grant writers.

To sign up for this webinar and gain access to MICI’s other free webinars, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Mary Baker


2015 ICESat-2 Mission Hexacopter Engineering Challenge

The Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, mission will host the 2015 ICESat-2 Mission Hexacopter Engineering Challenge at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on April 17, 2015. This challenge will task teams of students with measuring the height of Earth around us, from tree canopies to bodies of water. This challenge will be the first of its kind in a yearly series of ICESat-2 engineering challenge events.

Student teams will be selected to participate in this challenge through a proposal and selection process. Participating teams will design and build hexacopter multirotors that can create a digital elevation model of a specific area within a predetermined amount of time. Students will also submit technical and educational reports describing in detail their efforts throughout the competition process.

This challenge is open to undergraduate college students from accredited U.S. colleges and universities. Teams may consist of one to five students and a university mentor/instructor. Due to the nature of the challenge, multidisciplinary teams are encouraged.

Applications are due Sept. 12, 2014.

For more information about the 2015 ICESat-2 Mission Hexacopter Engineering Challenge, visit

Questions about this challenge should be directed to hexacopter challenge coordinator Brian Campbell at


Call for Papers — The NACA Centenary: A Symposium on 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, or NASM, and NASA’s History Program Office invite proposals for papers to a special symposium commemorating a century of aerospace research and development. On March 3, 1915, the U.S. Congress established the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA, “to separate the real from the imagined and make known the overlooked and unexpected” in the quest for flight. In honor of that centennial, NASA and NASM will team to present a symposium on the history of the NACA. This historical symposium will be held in Washington, District of Columbia, on March 3-4, 2015.

All are invited to submit proposals. Major themes to be addressed in the symposium include:

— The NACA organizational and institutional structure and evolution.
— The NACA model of public/private partnerships in aerospace research.
— The NACA’s contributions to aerospace theory, ground research and flight operations.
             — Individual projects.
             — Broad themes in the history of the agency.
             — Research projects versus other structural attributes.
— The social, economic and/or political history of the NACA.
— The NACA culture and its evolution.
— The relationship of the NACA to other entities, both private and public.
— Innovation in aerospace research.
— Models of partnership.

Possible topics are not restricted to these major themes. All papers are envisioned as scholarly contributions exploring broad thematic issues and questions.

Contributions from international scholars and graduate students with an interest in this history are welcome.

Some travel support scholarships may be available for international scholars and graduate students. Please indicate your interest in a need statement included with your paper proposal. 

We intend that a subset of the papers will merit publication. 

Proposals for papers should include a title and an abstract, as well as the author’s curriculum vita, and travel support need statement (as appropriate). Please send all proposals, in the form of a 300-word abstract and a brief vita electronically to Dr. William P. Barry, NASA chief historian, at, and Dr. Roger D. Launius, associate director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the National Air and Space Museum, launiusr@si.eduThe deadline for abstract submissions is Sept. 15, 2014.

Decisions about acceptance and support will be made by Nov. 1, 2014.

For more information about the Call for Papers, visit


MAVEN Workshop — Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore!

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, mission is set to arrive at Mars on Sept. 21, 2014. Celebrate the arrival with the MAVEN education team at this one-day workshop about the mission and the accompanying elementary program, Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore! The program features six standards-based lessons that combine science, literacy and art to help students understand planetary habitability and the MAVEN mission. 

The workshop will include dinner and lectures by MAVEN scientists. Following the workshop, participants will watch the NASA TV broadcast of the MAVEN spacecraft’s arrival at Mars. 

The workshop will take place on Sept. 21, 2014, in Boulder, Colorado. Registration is $20 and includes coffee, snacks and dinner. Applications are due Sept. 15, 2014, but space is limited so interested educators are encouraged to apply early.

For more information about the workshop and to apply online, visit

Please email any questions about this opportunity to


Second Annual Astrobiology Symposium at the Library of Congress

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in the District of Columbia, in cooperation with the NASA Astrobiology Program, is hosting the second annual Astrobiology Symposium on Sept. 1819, 2014.

“Preparing for Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,” is a two-day symposium featuring panel discussions, lectures and audience question-and-answer sessions. Panel members include professors, scientists, philosophers and astronomers representing various universities and organizations including NASA, the SETI Institute and the Library of Congress.

The event is free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required.

For more information, visit

Questions about the symposium should be directed to Jason Steinhauer


REGISTRATION OPEN: Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2014

The Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2014 will take place this fall, offering U. S. high school students the opportunity to design experiments that will be tested in space.

Zero Robotics challenges high school student teams to write their own algorithms to fly the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. The competition starts online where teams compete to solve an annual challenge guided by mentors. Students can create, edit, share, save, simulate and submit code from a Web browser. After several phases of virtual competition, finalists will be selected to compete in a live championship aboard the International Space Station.

Registration for the competition closes on Sept. 24, 2014. The competition begins with a live webcast kickoff event from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Sept. 6, 2014. To be an official competitor, code for the 2D Practice competition must be submitted by Sept. 26, 2014.

For more information about the tournament and to register your team to participate, visit

Zero Robotics is organized by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Space Systems Laboratory, Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation and TopCoder, and is sponsored by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA and the Center for Advancement of Science in Space.

Please email any questions about this opportunity to


Send Your Name to the Asteroid Bennu!

NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip aboard a spacecraft headed to the asteroid Bennu in 2016.

The “Messages to Bennu!” microchip will travel to the asteroid aboard the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft. The robotic mission will spend more than two years at the asteroid, which has a width of approximately 1,760 feet (500 meters). The spacecraft will collect a sample of Bennu’s surface and return it to Earth in a sample return capsule.

The deadline to submit names online is Sept. 30, 2014. Participants who submit their names to the “Messages to Bennu!” campaign will be able to print a certificate of appreciation to document their involvement.

For more information and to submit your name, visit

Participants who “follow” or “like” the mission on Facebook ( will receive updates on the location of their names in space from launch time until the asteroid samples return to Earth in 2023. Facebook fans also will receive mission progress and late-breaking news through regular status updates.

For more information about the OSIRIS-REx mission, visit and

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to


Presidential Management Fellows Program: STEM Opportunity

NASA and other federal agencies are always looking for the best and brightest science and engineering talent. To help agencies find those talented individuals, the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, has developed and piloted a track of the Presidential Management Fellows program focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

The Presidential Management Fellows, or PMF, program is a federal-wide, flagship leadership development program for advanced degree candidates. The program attracts and selects the best candidates possible and is designed with a focus on developing a cadre of potential government leaders. The PMF-STEM track seeks to identify the best future government leaders in STEM disciplines and place them in entry-level positions in federal agencies around the country. PMF-STEM was piloted last year with a low-key rollout.

This year, OPM would like to expand the PMF-STEM track to continue to support the STEM needs of the federal government. 

— The PMF-STEM program is open to graduate students in STEM fields (degree must be confirmed by Aug. 31, 2015).
— Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
— The annual call for applications comes out in the fall (September – October) and is generally open for two weeks.
— Applicants must apply through
— More information about the program and application process, including a detailed list of eligibility requirements, can be found at, and information on the PMF-STEM track can be found at

Federal agencies hire PMF-STEM finalists into paid, entry-level, two-year fellowship positions. At the end of the fellowship, finalists have two years of federal work experience and may be noncompetitively converted into permanent positions within the federal government. NASA participated in the 2014 pilot and intends to actively consider PMF-STEM candidates for the 2015 program.

Questions about this opportunity may be directed to


Celebrate World Space Week 2014

Imagine an entire week of space-themed activities to enhance learning. Join educators and space enthusiasts around the world to celebrate World Space Week, Oct. 4-10, 2014.

World Space Week is the largest public space event in the world, with over 1,400 events in more than 80 countries held during the week of Oct. 4-10.

In 2014, World Space Week encourages the use global navigation satellite systems space-themed activities.

To learn more about World Space Week, find educational materials, and register your event, visit


OSSI NIFS — Spring 2015 Opportunities

NASA’s One Stop Shopping Initiative for Internships, Fellowships and Scholarships, or OSSI NIFS, strives to provide high school students and undergraduate and graduate students at all institutions of higher education access to a portfolio of internship, fellowship and scholarship opportunities offered by NASA mission directorates and centers.

Visit the Office of Education Infrastructure Division LaunchPad to find information on internship, fellowship and scholarship opportunities. The site features the OSSI NIFS online application for recruiting NASA interns, fellows and scholars. This innovative system allows students to search and apply for all types of higher education NASA internship, fellowship and scholarship opportunities in one location. A single application places the student in the applicant pool for consideration by all NASA mentors.

Applications for spring 2015 opportunities are due Oct. 12, 2014.

To find available opportunities and to fill out an online application, visit

Inquiries about OSSI NIFS should be submitted via


Earth Science Week 2014 Contests

The American Geosciences Institute is sponsoring a series of contests to celebrate Earth Science Week 2014. This year’s celebration takes place Oct. 1218, 2014

Earth Science Week 2014 Photography Contest — Open to All Ages

Earth science is the study of the geosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air) and biosphere (living things). These spheres — or earth systems — are continually affecting and influencing one another. In our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces and in our public gathering places, we can observe the dynamic interactions of “earth system science.” In a photograph, capture evidence of the connections of earth systems in your community.

Earth Science Week 2014 Visual Arts Contest — Open to Students in Grades K-5

Earth scientists — or geoscientists — study land, water, air and living things. In particular, these scientists pay attention to the ways these “connected systems” affect each other. For example, scientists study how water shapes the land, how living things use air and how air and water act on each other. How do these connected systems affect you? Use artwork to show how land, water, air and living things are connected in the world around you.

Earth Science Week 2014 Essay Contest — Open to Students in Grades 6-9

Our planet’s land, water, air, and living things each affect and are affected by one another. Earth scientists observe these interactions among earth systems — the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Scientists study these interactions to seize opportunities and address challenges in areas such as harnessing energy, farming land, ensuring safe water, preparing for natural disasters, protecting the environment and building communities. Explain one way that geoscientists’ study of Earth’s connected systems is helping to improve the world today.

The entry deadline for all three contests is Oct. 17, 2014. Visit the contest websites for full details.

If you have any questions about these contests, please email the Earth Science Week staff at


NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowships

The NASA Postdoctoral Program, or NPP, supports NASA’s goal to expand scientific understanding of the Earth and the universe in which we live.

Selected by a competitive peer-review process, NPP fellows complete one- to three-year fellowships that offer scientists and engineers unique opportunities to conduct research in fields of science relevant to NASA.

These opportunities advance NASA’s missions in earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics, space bioscience, aeronautics and engineering, human exploration and space operations, and astrobiology. Opportunities are available at NASA centers and other NASA-approved sites.

As a result, NPP fellows contribute to national priorities for scientific exploration, confirm NASA’s leadership in fundamental research and complement the efforts of NASA’s partners in the national science community.

U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and foreign nationals eligible for J-1 status as a research scholar may apply. Applicants must have completed a doctorate or equivalent degree before beginning the fellowship, but may apply while completing degree requirements. Applicants who earned the Ph.D. more than five years before the deadline date are categorized as senior fellows; all applicants, no matter their category, must apply and become eligible for an NPP award via the same process.

Interested applicants may apply by one of three annual application deadlines: March 1,July 1 and November 1.

For more information and application procedures, go to

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to


MissionSTEM Video: 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

NASA’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity invites you to view the video of its program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, accessible at

The program features remarks from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot and Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity Brenda Manuel. The program also features the poetry of renowned poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni, reading her poem “Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea (We’re Going to Mars).” Another highlight is a panel discussion on civil rights and the space program, past and present, moderated by award-winning CNN national correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux. The distinguished panel members include Dr. Harriett Jenkins, former NASA Assistant Administrator for Equal Opportunity Programs; U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX); Dr. Roger Launius, Associate Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum; and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, author, professor and radio show host.

NASA’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity hopes you will find the program insightful and thought provoking. Questions or commentary may be directed to

SpaceRef staff editor.