Status Report

NASA Education Express Message for Jan. 8, 2015

By SpaceRef Editor
January 8, 2015
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Space Shuttle Thermal Protective Tiles Available for Educational Use

NASA invites eligible U.S. educational institutions and museums to request space shuttle thermal protective tiles and other special items offered on a first-come, first-served basis while quantities last. Organizations previously allocated thermal protective tiles may request an additional three tiles.

There will be a nominal shipping fee that must be paid online with a credit card. To make a request for special items online, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to


White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Unveils New Federal Agency Opportunity Bank

In order to increase Hispanic participation in all levels of government and in funding opportunities, the Federal Agency Opportunity Bank collects information from the Federal Interagency Working Group on Educational Excellence for Hispanics about the vast number of opportunities and investments supporting all youth, local and state agencies, nonprofits and other organizations supporting Hispanic educational excellence.

Opportunities include but are not limited to federal employment, fellowships, internships, grant and peer review opportunities, and technical assistance workshops. In addition, there is information regarding partnerships, resources and tools, and federal award nominations. The Opportunity Bank will be updated quarterly with information from participating federal agencies. The goal is to continue highlighting opportunities and investments supporting all youth, local and state agencies, nonprofits and other organizations supporting Hispanic educational excellence. Users are encouraged to share this resource with their networks and congratulate agencies for their efforts on behalf of the Latino community.

To view the Opportunity Bank, visit

Questions about this resource should be directed to


Free Education Webinars From NASA Educator Professional Development

NASA Educator Professional Development 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 to bring NASA into your classroom.

NASA Rockets 2 Racecars
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades K-12

Event Date: Jan. 8, 2015, at 5 p.m. EST
Participants will learn about the NASA Rockets 2 Racecars program that offers opportunities for professional development at race tracks on the East Coast. Learn about the different NASA spinoffs related to car racing and how to participate at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015.

Magnetospheric Multiscale Mathematics
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 5-8

Event Date: Jan. 8, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. EST
Participants will learn about the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission set to launch in March 2015 and the mathematics-based educator guide associated with the mission. Participants will learn about the mission, get an overview of the lesson activities and engage in discussion about classroom implementation.

For more information about these webinars and to register online, visit

Questions about this series of webinars should be directed to Clarence Jones at


2015 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge

NASA has opened team registration for the 2015 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. Organized by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the event will be held April 16-18, 2015, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, also in Huntsville.

The challenge engages high school, college and university students in hands-on, experiential learning activities, while also testing potential technologies needed for future deep space exploration. Both U.S. and international teams may register to participate. For U.S. teams, registration closesFeb. 6, 2015. Registration for international teams closes Jan. 9, 2015.

Student teams participating in the Rover Challenge must design, engineer and test a human-powered rover on a mock course designed to simulate the harsh and demanding terrains future NASA explorers may find on distant planets, moons and asteroids.

For more information on the 2015 Human Exploration Rover Challenge and registration, visit

Follow the Rover Challenge on social media for the latest news and updates:

View images from the 2014 Rover Challenge at

International teams with questions about this event or registration may email Amy McDowell at U.S. teams with questions may contact Diedra Williams at


2015 RASC-AL Aerospace Concepts Design Competition

NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace announce the 2015 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage, or RASC-AL, Aerospace Concepts competition. RASC-AL is a design project competition for university-level engineering students and faculty.

The 2015 RASC-AL contest challenges participants to design projects based on real NASA problems, responding to one of four themes: 
— Earth-Independent Mars Pioneering Architecture
— Earth-Independent Lunar Pioneering Architecture
— Mars’ Moons Prospector Mission
— Large-Scale Mars Entry, Decent and Landing Pathfinder Mission

Concepts derived from the design projects could potentially be implemented by NASA.

Teams must submit an abstract for their proposed project by Jan. 11, 2015. The RASC-AL Steering Committee of NASA and industry experts will evaluate the proposals and select as many as 11 undergraduate and five graduate teams to compete against each other at a forum in June 2015 in Florida.

The RASC-AL competition is open to full-time undergraduate or graduate students majoring in engineering or science at an accredited university. University design teams must include one faculty or industry advisor with a university affiliation and two or more undergraduate or graduate students. A group of universities may also collaborate on a design project entry. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged.

For more information about this competition, visit

If you have questions about this competition, please contact Stacy Dees at or Shelley Spears at


2014-2015 NASA Goddard OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Challenge

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is launching the 2014-2015 TRANSFORMERS OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Challenge, hosted by the Innovative Technology Partnerships Office. The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness of NASA’s Technology Transfer Program and to inspire interest in all NASA missions, programs and projects.

This year the scope of the contest is being expanded to include two challenges. In the first challenge, students in grades 3-12 are asked to submit a video describing their favorite NASA Goddard spinoff. In a new twist, participants in this year′s contest must also use the engineering design process to develop and propose a new spinoff application of their own for the technology. Spinoffs are technologies originally created for space and modified into everyday products used on Earth. Examples include memory foam, invisible braces and scratch-resistant lenses for eyeglasses.

The second challenge, the TRANSFORMERS OPTIMUS PRIME InWorld Challenge, offers students in grades 6-12 an opportunity to take their video spinoff ideas to another level. Interested teams must study James Webb Space Telescope spinoff technology and post their completed spinoff videos for review by college engineering students. Engineering college mentors will select 20 teams to continue the collaborative design process within a multiuser virtual world to build a 3-D model of the team′s design solutions.

Winning students from each grade category will be invited to Goddard to participate in a behind-the-scenes workshop, attend a VIP awards ceremony and meet actor Peter Cullen, the voice of OPTIMUS PRIME.

The deadline to register and upload videos is Jan. 12, 2015.

For more information, visit

Questions about this contest should be directed to Darryl Mitchell at

TRANSFORMERS and OPTIMUS PRIME are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2014 Hasbro. All rights reserved.


Free Program — Cubes in SpaceTM

idoodlelearning™ is offering two flight opportunities as part of the Cubes in Space program. A free science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, or STEAM, program for students ages 11-18, Cubes in Space provides opportunities for students to design and compete to launch experiments into space.  

In partnership with Colorado Space Grant Consortium as part of the RockSat-C program, experiments will be launched via a sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, in late June 2015. This opportunity is open to U.S. and international students 11-14 years of age.

Through partnership with NASA Langley Research Center, a second flight opportunity is offered on a zero-pressure scientific balloon to be launched from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, in September 2015. The Science Missions Directorate Astrophysics division manages the NASA scientific balloon program; Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia oversees Balloon Flight Operations. This opportunity is open to students 11-18 years of age who are U.S. citizens.

Using formal or informal learning environments, students and educators will learn about the methodology for taking an idea from design through the review process. Throughout the experience, students will acquire key 21st century skills necessary for success in a highly connected, global society.

The deadline for program registration is Jan. 12, 2015.

For more information, visit

Questions about this program should be directed to


Apply for the 2015 Summer NASA Academies — Webinar

The NASA Minority Innovation Challenges Institute, or MICI, is hosting a special webinar on Jan. 15, 2015, at 3 p.m. EST, which will provide undergraduate students details on how they can apply for admission into a 2015 NASA Summer Academy. The NASA Academy is not a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. summer research internship program. It is a rigorous, immersive 10-week experience that will challenge the participants and push them outside their comfort zones. It offers interns an intense learning experience. The NASA Academies at NASA centers have different areas of focus, including space, aerospace, robotics, aeronautics and propulsion.

The NASA Academy curriculum combines a valuable research experience with a residential leadership development experience. Academy participants, known as research associates, or RAs, spend four days per week working full time on an individual research project with a NASA scientist or engineer, called their principal investigator. These projects offer a challenging learning experience in which the RAs do hands-on research side by side with their mentors. Projects are typically cutting-edge topics that teach the RAs about the latest in NASA research and development. The RAs demonstrate the progress of their research in the annual Intern Poster Expo. The academies conclude with final oral presentations and a graduate ceremony.

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 at


Museum Alliance Webcast — Space Launch System: America’s New Rocket

NASA’s Digital Learning Network and the Space Launch System team invite you to participate in an interactive webcast featuring NASA engineer Steve Creech on Jan. 15, 2015, at 4 p.m. EST.

In this presentation, Creech will webcast live from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. His presentation will focus on America’s next heavy-lift launch vehicle, the Space Launch System, or SLS. He will also answer questions from webcast viewers around the country.

NASA’s Space Launch System is an advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle that will provide an entirely new capability for science and human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. The SLS will give the United States a safe, affordable and sustainable means of extending beyond our current limits and open new doors of discovery from the unique vantage point of space.

Questions may be submitted prior to and during the event via

You may view the webcast as an individual at your personal computer, or set up audio visual equipment in your museum or school for a large group to participate.

To view the webcast, visit

To learn more about the SLS visit

After the webcast, presentation materials will be posted on the Museum Alliance member site at A downloadable copy of the webcast and transcript will be posted a week or so later at the same location. Username and password are required to access the member site.

To learn how to become a Museum Alliance member, visit


NASA’s ESTEEM “Ask US” Online Professional Development Series

NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, is sponsoring a series of Google Plus Hangout professional development events for K-12 educators. The Earth Systems, Technology and Energy Education for MUREP, or ESTEEM, team will lead monthly sessions covering a variety of climate topics. This month’s webinar topic is:

Communicating Climate Change: Mind the Gap — Jan. 15, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. EST
Although 97 percent of active climate scientists agree that the earth is warming due to human activities, some polls have found that only 44 percent of Americans share this view. As an educator, you are likely to encounter people who have received information that conflicts with the accepted climate science. This session will help you better understand Americans’ perceptions of climate change and provide tips for better communicating climate science.

Certificates of professional development hours are available upon request. 

For more information on this event and upcoming webinar sessions, visit Questions about this series should be sent to Bonnie Murray at


Call for NEXT GEN Plenary: 66th International Astronautical Congress

Is your work found in Kibo, Columbus, Destiny or another International Space Station module? Have you been a key player in an experiment, research project or other hardware on the space station? How has your work with the space station benefited humankind in space or on Earth?

We want to hear what you are doing on or through the International Space Station that will change the future for humans in space and on Earth. As today’s 21 to 35 year olds, you will be the senior engineers, principal investigators and mission managers who will be carrying out and leading the exploration of space in the future. Why wait 10 years to be heard? We want your input now! We invite you to share your ideas in a plenary panel with an audience of senior space leaders in government, industry and academia at the International Astronautical Congress, or IAC, in Jerusalem, Israel, Oct. 12-16, 2015.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to address and possibly influence the international space community. We are proposing a plenary event with a panel of six 21 to 35 year olds in a discussion of their innovative utilization of the International Space Station. If approved, this event will take place the week of Oct. 12-16, 2015, in Jerusalem, Israel, at the IAC ( The plenary participants will engage in a panel discussion and interact with the audience while discussing their research, experiments and engineering contributions to the future of humankind through the International Space Station. The session will be moderated in a format similar to a talk show, interweaving clips from the panelists’ audition videos with questions and comments from the moderator, other panelists and the audience. The video clips will be used to enhance the audience’s understanding of the ideas of the panel participants. This is an exciting opportunity that you do not want to miss!

This sounds great!  What do I need to do to participate?

Round One15 Seconds of Fame!
By Jan. 15, 2015, create a 15-second video telling us briefly the subject of the innovative space station research you are conducting or currently working on that you would speak about on the panel and why you should be chosen to address the IAC, and post it on We will only watch/listen for 15 seconds, so be sure to watch the time of your video. Then complete the application at

Round TwoThree Minutes!
The International Astronautical Federation, or IAF, will select the second round of candidates from those submitting the 15-second videos and notify all entrants by Feb. 1, 2015. Specific details of round two requirements will be sent to the candidates in the notification. Selected candidates will be asked to create and post a three-minute video on a specified YouTube site by March 1, 2015.

Video Details:
Please record your video in a high-quality audio and video format. If you are selected as a panelist, segments of your videos will be used to promote and during the plenary. Please limit special effects, scene changes and music. The video is about you, not your video editing skills. Please do not use copyrighted video, images or music.

Final Selection:
The IAF will select the finalists from these entries based on their creativity, efficacy of messages and relevance to the plenary topics. We will be looking for concrete ideas on what you are doing on the International Space Station that will change the way humans explore and how it will impact life on Earth and why this idea is important, as well as your expertise in this area.

The IAF will make the final selection of plenaries for the IAC in Jerusalem the week of March 23, 2015, and will notify the finalists of its decision by April 3, 2015.

Who Will Sponsor Me to Travel to Jerusalem?
Plenary participants will be responsible for finding a sponsor or sponsors for their travel to and accommodations at the IAC.
 In addition to the obvious sources of sponsorship — your employer or school, and industry contacts — we want to share with you some great programs for students and young professionals that occur in conjunction with the 2015 Jerusalem IAC. The following are all distinct programs related to the IAC but are not directly related to this opportunity.

— IAF Emerging Space Leaders Grant Programme: Visit for more info.

— Candidates are encouraged to contact the Space Generation Advisory Committee, or SGAC, concerning the plans for the SGAC event prior to the IAC in Jerusalem and associated sponsorship opportunities. Visit for more information.

— Students in Europe, Japan and the United States are encouraged to contact the European Space Agency, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and NASA, respectively, to apply to the space agencies’ student programs at the IAC in Jerusalem. 

— The Future Space Leaders Foundation offers grants to students and young professionals in the United States. More information can be found at

Questions about this opportunity should be emailed to Kevin Stube at


National Science Foundation’s Community College Innovation Challenge

The National Science Foundation’s Community College Innovation Challenge is underway and seeking teams to propose innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, -based solutions for real-world problems. Teams must comprise community college students, a faculty mentor and a community or industry partner. 

Challenge entries consist of two components: a written entry and a video entry. Each team’s entry must address one of the five themes outlined by the National Science Foundation. This year’s themes are Big Data, Infrastructure Security, Sustainability, Broadening Participation in STEM and Improving STEM Education. 

Finalist teams will be invited to attend an Innovation Boot Camp, a professional development workshop on innovation and entrepreneurship. 

The entry submission deadline is Jan. 15, 2015.

For additional information about the challenge, visit

Questions about this challenge should be directed to


NOAA “Marine Debris Prevention Through Education and Outreach” Federal Funding Opportunity 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, or NOAA MDP, is offering a federal funding opportunity called “Marine Debris Prevention Through Education and Outreach.” 

The NOAA MDP seeks to fund projects that will lead to the prevention of marine debris in marine and coastal environments through the implementation of dedicated education and outreach activities. Projects awarded through this grant competition are expected to educate the public about marine debris through activities including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Encouraging changes in behavior to address marine debris.

2. Developing, using, and disseminating tools, products and campaigns to improve efforts to address marine debris.

3. Engaging the public in active, personal participation (e.g., a small-scale shoreline cleanup with students or other hands-on activities, etc.).

While the anticipated range of federal funding available per award is approximately $20,000 to $100,000, projects typically receive between $30,000 and $60,000. Eligible applicants include: U.S. institutions of higher education; nonprofit organizations; commercial (for-profit) organizations; and state, local and tribal governments. Applications from federal agencies or employees of federal agencies will not be considered. International organizations are not eligible.

To download the official Federal Funding Opportunity along with complete eligibility requirements, please visit Grants Online at

The deadline for applications to this funding opportunity is 11:59:59 p.m. EST on Jan. 15, 2015. Applications must be submitted online via

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Alison Hammer Weingast at


2015 Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award

Do you know K-12 teachers or district-level administrators who are making a difference in education through the use of technology? Recognize their achievements by nominating them for the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, in partnership with NASA and the Space Foundation, will recognize the accomplishments of one outstanding individual and his or her contributions to lifelong learning through the application of technology in the classroom or in the professional development of teachers.

Technology personnel and K-12 classroom teachers who have demonstrated exemplary use of technology to enhance learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, are eligible for this award. School principals, superintendents or associate superintendents may nominate eligible candidates. The award will be presented in April 2015 at the Space Foundation’s 31st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The deadline for applications is Jan. 16, 2015.

Applications and more information are available online at . 

Questions about this award should be directed to


Free Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series

Curious about icy bodies in the outer reaches of our solar system, the effects of space junk on deep-space observation, the latest discoveries about the origins of the universe and new ways galaxy formation is mapped? Come to the Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series presented by Smithsonian researchers who are exploring the sun, the moon, planets, stars, galaxies and the universe. These speakers will share behind-the-scenes details about how their research is done and about technologies that advance new discoveries. The lectures will be held at the Albert Einstein Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Each lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. EST and is followed by a Q&A session. Stay after the lecture to visit the museum’s observatory, weather permitting.

Jan. 24, 2015 — Observing the Origin of the Universe From the South Pole
After three years of observing from the South Pole, scientists may have found confirmation that the universe underwent a burst of inflationary growth at the time of the Big Bang. Cosmologist Colin Bischoff will discuss these findings as well as the excitement of astronomy from Antarctica.

Feb. 21, 2015 — Tracing the Structure of the Universe With Galaxy Surveys
Studies of galaxy formation and cosmology have exploded in recent years due to the immense data obtained from large galaxy surveys. Postdoctoral fellow Cameron McBride will discuss how observational data and theory are combined to better understand fundamental questions in our universe, and will highlight some exciting results from ongoing research.

For more information about the Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series, visit

Questions about this lecture series should be directed to the visitor service line at 202-633-2214.


DEADLINE EXTENDED: 2014 NASA EONS Solicitation New Appendix

NASA’s Office of Education is accepting new proposals under the Education Opportunities in NASA STEM, or EONS, 2014 NASA Research Announcement for the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, Institutional Research Opportunity, or MIRO appendix. This effort was previously titled as the NASA University Research Centers Project, and has now been consolidated into the MUREP Program within the NASA Office of Education.

Through the EONS omnibus solicitation, the opportunity MIRO has been released. Through MIRO awards, NASA aims to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM literacy and to enhance and sustain the capability of minority serving institutions to perform NASA-related research and education, which directly support NASA’s four mission directorates — Aeronautics Research, Human Exploration and Space Operations, Science, and Space Technology. 

The deadline for proposals has been extended to Jan. 30, 2015.

For more information regarding the MIRO solicitation, please visit the NASA EONS page on the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Proposal System, or NSPIRES, website at: .


2015 NOAA Undergraduate Scholarship

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is accepting applications for its 2015 Educational Partnership Program, or EPP, Undergraduate Scholarship Program. The EPP Undergraduate Scholarship Program provides scholarships for two years of undergraduate study to rising junior undergraduate students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields that directly support NOAA’s mission. 

Participants receive total awards valued at up to $35,000 in total support during their junior and senior years. During the first summer, scholars complete a nine-week paid summer internship at NOAA in Silver Spring, Maryland. During the second summer, scholars complete paid internships at NOAA facilities across the country. A stipend and housing allowance is provided. At the end of both summer internships, students present the results of their projects at an education and science symposium in Silver Spring. 

Students attending an accredited Minority Serving Institution within the United States or U.S. Territories as defined by the U.S. Department of Education (Hispanic Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaskan-Native Serving Institutions, and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions) are eligible to apply for the program. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must earn and maintain a minimum 3.2 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

Applications are due Jan. 30, 2015.

For more information and to submit an online application, visit

Questions about this scholarship opportunity should be directed to


U.S. National Park Service’s Young Leaders in Climate Change — Summer 2015 Internships

The George Melendez Wright Initiative for Young Leaders in Climate Change, or YLCC, builds a pathway for exemplary students in higher education to apply cutting-edge climate change knowledge to park management. The program provides paid summer internships to highly accomplished graduate and upper-level undergraduate students to work on diverse issues related to climate change and its effects in national parks. Participants gain valuable work experience, explore career options and develop leadership skills under the mentorship and guidance of the National Park Service.

The program features structured projects in one or more of the following interdisciplinary areas: climate change science and monitoring; resource conservation and adaptation; policy development; sustainable park operations; facilities adaptation; and communication/interpretation/education. Interns who successfully complete the YLCC will be eligible to be hired noncompetitively into subsequent federal jobs once they complete their degree programs. These jobs would be in the Department of Interior, National Park Service or one of the other bureaus within the Department of Interior. An intern must qualify for the job in order to be hired noncompetitively.

Internships are full-time positions (40 hours/week) lasting 11-12 weeks. Interns are paid $14/hour plus benefits, and are employees of the University of Washington. Most positions come with free or subsidized housing in dormitories or other shared accommodations in parks. Internships offer rigorous and challenging projects that demand high-level academic knowledge and skills, allowing interns considerable autonomy and opportunity for leadership under an effective mentor.

The application deadline is 12:01 pm PST on Jan. 30, 2015.

For additional information and to apply for a YLCC internship, visit

Questions about this program should be directed to Tim Watkins at


NASA History Program Office Summer and Fall 2015 Internships

The NASA History Program Office is seeking undergraduate and graduate students for summer and fall 2015 internships. The History Program Office maintains archival materials to answer research questions from NASA personnel, journalists, scholars, students at all levels and others from around the world. The division also edits and publishes several books and monographs each year. It maintains a large number of websites on NASA history. 

Students of all majors are welcome to apply. While detailed prior knowledge of the aeronautics and space fields is not necessary, a keen interest and some basic familiarity with these topics are needed. Strong research, writing and editing skills are essential. Experience with social media is a plus.

Intern projects are flexible. Typical projects include handling a variety of information requests, writing posts for the NASA history Twitter and Facebook pages, editing historical manuscripts, doing research and writing biographical sketches, and identifying and captioning photos.

Applications for summer 2015 internships are due Feb. 1, 2015. Fall 2015 internship applications are due June 1, 2015

For more information, visit

If you have questions about this opportunity, please contact Bill Barry at


NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships Program Accepting Proposals for 2015-2016 Academic Year

The NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program, or NESSF, is soliciting applications from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of individuals pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in earth and space sciences, or related disciplines, for the 2015-2016 academic year. The purpose of NESSF is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA’s scientific goals. Awards resulting from the competitive selection will be training grants to the respective universities, with the advisor serving as the principal investigator. The financial support for the NESSF program comes from the Science Mission Directorate’s four science divisions: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Science and Astrophysics. 

Initially, NESSF awards are made for one year. They may be renewed for up to two additional years, contingent upon satisfactory progress (as reflected in academic performance, research progress and recommendation by the faculty advisor) and the availability of funds. 

The maximum amount of a NESSF award is $30,000 per year. 

Proposals for this opportunity are due Feb. 2, 2015.

For more information about this solicitation, visit{B6CDCEA6-8EDD-A48A-FAF8-E588F66661C3}&path=open

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 Dolores Holland at


2015 Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program

The Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program, or PGGURP, pairs qualified undergraduate students with NASA-funded investigators at research locations across the U.S. for eight weeks during the summer. Students will 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 2015 who have not started graduate school yet are also eligible. Preference is given to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. 

Applications are due Feb. 2, 2015.

For more information, visit

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


Mosaics in Science Program

The Mosaics in Science program was developed by the U.S. National Park Service, in partnership with the Geological Society of America, to increase diversity among those who seek science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, careers within the National Park Service.

Participants will spend 11 weeks working on a STEM project at a National Park Service site. After completing their projects, participants travel to the District of Columbia to participate in a career workshop that provides opportunities to present their work and meet various members of National Park Service staff and management.

Twenty-six positions will be offered in 2015. Participants will receive a stipend of $4,000, and housing and travel costs are also covered. Applications are due Feb. 3, 2015

To be eligible, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States between 18 and 35 years old who attend or recently graduated from an undergraduate institution. Interested students must be nominated by an organization partnered with the program. Students from groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields are strongly encouraged to seek nomination. These groups include but are not limited to African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and persons with disabilities. 

For additional information on the Mosaics in Science program and to see a list of partner organizations eligible to nominate students, visit

Questions about the program, including eligibility and how to apply, should be directed to Matt Dawson at


2015 Space Exploration Educators Conference

Make plans to attend the 21st Annual Space Exploration Educators Conference, to be held Feb. 5-7, 2015, at Space Center Houston. This conference is for all K-12 educators. Activities presented use space-related themes to teach across the curricula and can be used for science, language arts, mathematics, history and more.

Attend sessions hosted by scientists and engineers working on the International Space Station, Mars exploration and the planets beyond. Hear from astronauts who will be leading the charge in exploration. Attend sessions presented by educators and receive ready-to-implement classroom ideas. Attendees can earn up to 24 hours of continuing professional education credit.

For more information, visit

Please email any questions about the conference to


Call for Papers: Fourth Annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference 

The fourth annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference will be held July 7-9, 2015, at the Marriott Copley Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. NASA, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space and the American Astronomical Society are seeking abstracts under the categories of biology and medicine, human health in space, commercialization and nongovernment utilization, materials development, plant science, remote sensing/Earth and space observation, energy, technology development and demonstration, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education. Topics should relate to science, exploration and technology activities (past, present, planned or under development) on the International Space Station.

Due to the large number of expected submissions, presenters are encouraged to submit abstracts early; the deadline is March 2, 2015.

For more information about the conference and how to submit an abstract for consideration, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be submitted via


NASA Robotic Mining Competition 2015

The Sixth Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition will be held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center May 18-22, 2015. NASA’s Robotic Mining Competition is for university-level students, enrolled in a U.S. college or university. Teams are challenged to design and build a mining robot that can traverse the simulated Martian chaotic terrain, excavate Martian regolith and deposit the regolith into a collector bin within 10 minutes. There is particular relevance to NASA’s recently announced mission to find an asteroid by 2016 and then bring it to cislunar space. NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative excavation concepts from universities, which may result in ideas and solutions that could be applied to an actual excavation device or payload.

The winning team will receive the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence trophy, KSC launch invitations, team certificates for each member and a monetary team scholarship. Awards for other categories include monetary team scholarships, a school trophy or plaque, team and individual certificates, and KSC launch invitations.

Design teams must include at least one college or university faculty member and at least two undergraduate or graduate students. NASA has not set an upper limit on team members. A team should have a sufficient number of members to successfully operate their mining robot. Teams will compete in up to five major competition categories, including onsite mining, systems engineering paper, outreach project, slide presentation and demonstration (optional) and team spirit (optional).

Registration opened on Sept. 3, 2014, and is limited to 50 teams.

For more information, visit

Follow the NASA Robotic Mining Competition on Twitter at

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Bethanné Hull at


NASA’s Cube Quest Challenge

Registration now is open for NASA’s Cube Quest Challenge, advancing communication and propulsion technologies for CubeSats. This is the agency’s first in-space competition and offers the agency’s largest-ever prize purse.

Competitors have a shot at a share of $5 million in prize money and an opportunity to participate in space exploration and technology development. Competitors can compete for a chance at flying their very own CubeSat to the moon and beyond as secondary payload on the first integrated flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System, or SLS, or launch their satellite using an independent launch provider.

Challenge objectives include designing, building and launching flight-qualified, small satellites capable of advanced operations near and beyond the moon. The challenge and prize purse are divided into three major areas:

— Ground Tournaments: $500,000 in the four qualifying ground tournaments to determine who will have the ability to fly on the first SLS flight;
— Deep Space Derby: $1.5 million purse for demonstrating communication and CubeSat durability at a distance greater than almost 2.5 million miles (4,000,000 km), 10 times the distance from the Earth to the moon; and
— Lunar Derby: $3 million purse for demonstrating the ability to place a CubeSat in a stable lunar orbit and demonstrate communication and durability near the moon.

The Cube Quest Challenge seeks to develop and test subsystems necessary to perform deep space exploration using small spacecraft. Advancements in small spacecraft capabilities will provide benefits to future missions and also may enable new mission scenarios, including future investigations of near-Earth asteroids.

All teams may compete in any one of the four ground tournaments. Teams that rate high on mission safety and probability of success will receive incremental awards. The ground tournaments, or GT, will be held every four to six months, and participation in GT4 is required to earn a secondary payload spot on SLS.

Teams must register at least 30 days prior to the ground tournament in which they plan to participate. Check the Cube Quest Challenge website for updates on when tournaments will take place. 

The Lunar Derby focuses primarily on propulsion for small spacecraft and near-Earth communications, while the Deep Space Derby focuses on finding innovative solutions to deep space communications using small spacecraft. Together, these competitions will contribute to opening deep space exploration to nongovernment spacecraft.

For more information on the Cube Quest Challenge, visit

To learn more about NASA’s challenges and citizen science efforts, visit

Please direct any questions about the Cube Quest Challenge to James Cockrell at

SpaceRef staff editor.