Status Report

NASA Education Express Message — March 19, 2015

By SpaceRef Editor
March 19, 2015
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Dawn Mission’s ‘Imagine Ceres’ Project

Share in the anticipation and excitement of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft’s arrival at Ceres in March 2015! 

Can you imagine what the Dawn mission might discover at Ceres in the next few weeks and months? What does this vast world hold for explorers and scientists today? What do you imagine the surface of Ceres will look like? How do you imagine that Ceres formed? When do you imagine Ceres came into being? Over what time frame? 

NASA’s Dawn mission wants you to share your ideas! Send in your creations in the form of art, music, poetry or video. Selected submissions will be featured in the Imagine Ceres gallery.

To learn more about the “Imagine Ceres” project, including how to submit your ideas, visit

For more information about the Dawn mission, visit

Please email any questions about this opportunity to Joe Wise at


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


Museum Alliance Webcast — Journey to Mars Museum Kit Resources

Are you looking for resources and products to enhance your exhibits and education programs? The Journey to Mars Museum Kit includes a variety of digital resources designed to assist museums in sharing NASA’s Journey to Mars story and can easily be found on the NASA Museum Alliance Website. This kit includes the top 5-10 best presentations, graphic files, videos, print products, activities and the most recent talking points available. The resources are selected and designed with museums in mind and can easily be incorporated into exhibits and programs.

NASA invites you and your institution to join us on the Journey to Mars! Tune into the webcast on March 19, 2015, at 4 p.m. EDT to hear from NASA Museum Liaison, Patricia Moore, to learn more about how these resources can be used in museums, science centers, planetariums and other informal education institutions.

To view the webcast from your computer, visit Or dial in to the conference line at 1-888-323-4924, passcode museum. 

Questions for Patricia may be asked on the conference line or via email at

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


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 that bring NASA into your classroom. Pre-registration is not required for these webinars. Simply go to the link provided for each webinar approximately 15 minutes before the session begins. Sign in as a guest using your first and last names.

Weather and Climate: Exploring a Storm of STEM in Your Classroom
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 3-8

Event Date: March 19, 2015, at 6 p.m. EDT
This webinar will explore our understanding and forecasting of weather, and how weather and climate differ. NASA missions, STEM resources, curriculum and integration of the Next Generation Science Standards will guide participants through a “storm” of classroom activities.

Our Solar System: Classifying, Graphing and Modeling the Neighborhood
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 3-8

Event Date: March 23, 2015, at 5 p.m. EDT
Learn about lessons involving classification, graphing and models that help students better understand and visualize our solar system. Next Generation Science Standards will be explored and integrated into this out-of-this-world webinar.

Art and the Cosmic Connection
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades K-College

Event Date: March 24, 2015, at 7 p.m. EDT
Geology meets art in this webinar featuring ways to inspire your inner geologist to use art to recreate craters, mountains, rivers, wind-driven landscapes and more. Learn how to read planetary images as well as Earth images. Activities featured meet Next Generation Science Standards.

Solar System and the Periodic Table of Elements
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 3-College

Event Date: March 25, 2015, at 7 p.m. EDT
Learn about an engaging lesson that introduces the periodic table and why it is important to us. The lesson includes a game and a short writing prompt for understanding. Activities featured meet Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Participants need crayons or colored pencils and the following periodic table left blank (

Robotics on a Budget
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 5-8

Event Date: March 26, 2015, at 5 p.m. EDT
What are robots and how are they used at NASA? Using NASA robotic missions, curricula and online resources, participants will explore how to use robotics economically in the classroom to enhance students’ understanding of STEM.

Questions about this series of webinars should be directed to Steve Culivan at


NASA Request for Information: NASA Centennial Challenges — Space Race Challenge

NASA’s Centennial Challenges program is seeking input on a Space RACE (Rendezvous And Capture Experiment) Challenge concept being considered for a future prize competition. The challenge would require competitors to build vehicles capable of autonomous rendezvous, capture, and manipulation of small objects at high speeds with applications for the Mars Sample Return campaign, lunar sample return missions and many other commercial venues.

The purposes of this request for information are (1) to gather feedback on the competition being considered, (2) to determine the level of interest in potentially competing in this challenge and (3) to understand the applicability of the technology developed by the competition for other nongovernment applications.

NASA welcomes replies from all segments of industry, academia and government, including associations, innovators and enthusiasts. This request for information is for informational and planning purposes only, and the government will not be responsible for any cost associated with preparing information in support of this request. This request for information is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the government to enter into any agreement or other obligation, or to conduct a Space RACE challenge.

Responses are requested by March 19, 2015.

For more information, visit

For general information on the NASA Centennial Challenges Program, visit

Please direct any questions about this opportunity to Sam Ortega at


NASA Space Technology Grants for Early Career University Faculty

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of outstanding early career faculty members who are beginning their independent careers. The grants will sponsor research in specific, high-priority areas of interest to the U.S. space program.

NASA expects to award approximately six to eight grants this fall, funded up to $200,000 each per year for as many as three years, based on the merit of proposals and availability of funds. Funded research will investigate unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies in areas such as dynamic tensegrity technologies for space science and exploration, high-temperature solar cells, fundamental aero-thermodynamic model development, and synthetic biology technologies for space exploration.

Notices of intent to submit proposals to the Early Career Faculty Appendix of NASA’s Research Announcement “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration and Infusion 2015 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2015)” are due March 20, 2015. The deadline for submitting final proposals is April 17, 2015.

For information on the solicitation, including specific technology areas of interest and how to submit notices of intent and proposals, visit

This solicitation is part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in future missions. For more information about the directorate and Space Technology Research Grants Program, visit

Please email any questions about this opportunity to Bonnie F. James at


Library of Congress 2015 Summer Institutes — Teaching With Primary Sources

The Library of Congress is now accepting applications for its week-long summer programs for K-12 educators. Held at the Library of Congress in the District of Columbia, this professional development opportunity provides educators with tools and resources to effectively integrate primary sources into K-12 classroom teaching, with an emphasis on student engagement, critical thinking and construction of knowledge.

The Library is offering five programs this summer: three of the programs are open to teachers and librarians across all content areas, one focuses on civil rights, and another concentrates on primary sources in science. Tuition and materials are provided at no cost.

General Institutes: Open to K-12 teachers and school librarians across the content areas
— Session 1: June 22-26, 2015
— Session 2: July 6-10, 2015
— Session 3: July 27-31, 2015

Civil Rights Institute: Open to K-12 teachers and school librarians with teaching responsibilities related to civil rights
— Civil Rights Institute: August 3-7, 2015

Science Institute: Recommended for K-12 educators who teach science or collaborate with science teachers
— Science Institute: July 20-24, 2015

Applications are due March 24, 2015, and require a letter of recommendation. 

For more information and to submit an application, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to


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 the monthly sessions that will cover a variety of climate topics. This month’s webinar topic is described below:

Change Over Time: Investigate Climate Change Impacts in the Great Plains — March 26, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. EDT
The National Climate Assessment, released in May 2014, summarizes the impact of climate change on the United States. The assessment touches on many disciplines: earth science, biology, human health, engineering, technology, economics and policy. Explore the document with a lead National Climate Assessment author, then learn about related educator resources with Kristen Poppleton from the Will Steger Foundation. Discover resources that will enable you to bring this topic into classroom lessons, engage students in data collection and analyses, and share visualizations and citizen science projects. The focus this month will be on the Great Plains region. Watch for additional regions of the U.S. to be featured in upcoming “Ask US” sessions.

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


Free Exploring Space Lecture Series — Attend in Person or View Online

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope’s release into space. The 2015 Exploring Space Lectures will feature world-class scholars discussing some of the most innovative scientific research conducted using Hubble and exploring the insights the telescope has uncovered about our universe. Presenters will also discuss the telescope’s serviceability, design, administration, execution, and place in history.

Servicing the Hubble Space Telescope
March 26, 2015, at 8 p.m. EDT
Launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was designed to be serviced by the space shuttle. Former astronaut Michael J. Massimino will discuss the final Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission, during which the crew upgraded Hubble through a record-setting series of five spacewalks including the first ever repair of Hubble science instruments in place. 

Hubble Telescope: Looking Back in Time at the Distant Universe
June 11, 2015, at 8 p.m. EDT
One of the Hubble Space Telescope’s greatest triumphs has been the clear view it has given of very distant galaxies. Astronomers Sandra Faber and Robert Williams will discuss how this clearer view has enabled astronomers to piece together the formation of structure in the universe.

The Hubble Space Telescope: The Agony and the Ecstasy
June 30, 2015, at 8 p.m. EDT
The Hubble Space Telescope is the most famous scientific instrument ever built, but its remarkable history has seen numerous ups and downs. Professor Robert Smith, author of the definitive history of the Hubble Space Telescope, will explore some of the most exciting and telling episodes in this rich history.

The lectures will be held at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in the District of Columbia, and attendance is free. However, tickets are required. Come early to see a free film and to meet the lecturer. The lectures will be webcast live for free viewing. Lecture videos will be archived.

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

Questions about this series should be directed to the Visitor Service line at 202-633-2214.


2015 NASA Scholarship — Minority University Research Education Project

NASA’s Office of Education is accepting applications for the Minority University Research and Education Project, or MUREP, Scholarship program. The MUREP Scholarship is for individuals pursuing or planning to pursue undergraduate studies leading to an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree in relevant NASA related disciplines at an accredited United States minority serving institution. This opportunity is open to students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, specifically in areas of projected deficiencies in the NASA STEM workforce.

Eligible students include freshmen, sophomores and juniors at the undergraduate level. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or nationals. The scholarship includes 75% of tuition up to $9,000 academic scholarship, based on tuition amount, and $6,000 for a summer internship. 

Applications are due March 31, 2015.

Applications should be submitted through the NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative at Applicants should be sure to select “scholarship” for the type of application.

Questions about the 2015 MUREP Scholarship opportunity should be emailed to


2015 NASA Office of Education — Aeronautics Undergraduate Scholarship

NASA’s Office of Education is accepting applications for the for the Aeronautics Undergraduate Scholarship, or AUS, program. The Aeronautics Undergraduate Scholarship is for individuals pursuing or planning to pursue undergraduate studies leading to an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree in areas related to aeronautics. These scholarships are directed toward enhancing the state of aeronautics for the nation, transforming the nation’s air transportation system, and developing the knowledge, tools, and technologies to support future air and space vehicles. 

Eligible students include freshmen, sophomores and juniors at the undergraduate level. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or nationals. The scholarship includes 75% of tuition up to $9,000 academic scholarship, based on tuition amount, and $6,000 for a summer internship. 

Applications are due March 31, 2015.

Applications should be submitted through the NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative at Applicants should be sure to select “scholarship” for the type of application.

Questions about the 2015 Aeronautics Undergraduate Scholarship opportunity should be emailed to


2015 LiftOff Summer Institute

Registration is now open for the 2015 LiftOff Summer Institute, sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium. This weeklong professional development training for teachers will be held June 28-July 3, 2015, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This competitive aerospace workshop emphasizes science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, learning experiences through speakers, hands-on activities and field investigations.

The theme for this year’s institute is “Living in Freefall.” The event will feature the International Space Station, a laboratory, observatory and factory in space. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live and work in space? What are the biological factors, psychological trials and physical challenges? 

Attendees 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. Texas Space Grant pays all expenses for any Texas teacher selected. Other Space Grant Consortia fund teachers from their states.

Applications are due April 1, 2015.

For more information and to access the online application, visit

If you have questions about the 2015 LiftOff Summer Institute, please email your inquiries to Margaret Baguio at


International Space Station Research Design Challenge: Capillary Effects on Liquids Exploratory Research Experiments

NASA and Portland State University are seeking participants for the International Space Station Research Design Challenge: Capillary Effects on Liquids Exploratory Research Experiments, or CELERE. This design challenge enables students to participate in microgravity research on capillary action, similar to that conducted on the space station. 

Teams or individuals create their own experiment using computer-aided design, or CAD, with a provided template. Short experiment proposals are submitted, and test cells are manufactured by Portland State University using the CAD drawings and a computer-controlled laser cutter. Each experiment is conducted in a drop tower. Video of the drop is provided for student analysis and reporting of results.

CELERE is open to individuals and teams in grades 8-12 Teams may include younger students as long as there is at least one team member in grades 8-12 to facilitate the participation of informal science clubs, Scouts, etc. Teams may be of any size and may include an entire class or science club. The program is limited to students from the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Design proposals are now being accepted. The final deadline for submissions is April 1, 2015.

For more information about this opportunity, visit

If you have questions about this opportunity, please email your inquiries to the CELERE team at


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s 2015 Faculty Research Program

Applications are currently accepted for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory 2015 Faculty Research Program. This program provides opportunities for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, faculty to engage in research of mutual interest to the faculty member and a JPL researcher. Non-STEM faculty will be considered based on available opportunities.

To be eligible to participate in the program, applicants must hold a full-time appointment at an accredited university or college in the United States. Special requirements for foreign national faculty members apply. Fellows are required to submit research reports and present their work at the end of the session.

The program awards $15,500 fellowships for 10-week sessions. Please note that stipend payments or salaries from other federal funding sources, including research grants and contracts, may not be accepted during the 10-week tenure of a JPL faculty research appointment.

The deadline for applications is April 1, 2015. For more information about this opportunity, visit

Inquiries about NASA’s JPL Faculty Research Program should be directed to the Petra Kneissl-Milanian at


Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The National Science Foundation is currently accepting nominations and applications for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, or PAEMST, program. PAEMST is the highest recognition that a K-12 mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Since 1983, more than 4,300 teachers have been recognized for their contributions to mathematics and science education. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Up to 108 awardees may be recognized each year. 

Presidential awardees receive a certificate signed by the president of the United States, a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on the behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

The PAEMST program is open to outstanding mathematics and science teachers in the 50 states and the four U.S. jurisdictions (Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Department of Defense education activity schools and the U.S. territories as a group). Anyone — principals, teachers, parents, students or members of the public — may nominate a teacher by completing the nomination form available on the PAEMST website. Teachers may also apply directly.

Nominations for secondary school teachers (grades 7-12) are due April 1, 2015. Elementary school teachers (grades K-6) are eligible to apply in 2016.

For more information, visit 

Please email any questions about this opportunity to


Free Workshop — Using Next Generation Science Standards and Authentic Science in Your Classroom: The Mars Student Imaging Project

NASA’s Mars Education Program at Arizona State University has a new exciting free online training opportunity for educators. Help your students learn about science by being the scientists and conducting authentic research on another planet — Mars! The Mars Student Imaging Project, or MSIP, is completely designed for the Next Generation Science Standards and embeds 21st Century Skills. 

Learn how you can facilitate this project in your classroom. You don’t need any background in planets or geology to participate. This is project-based learning, and your students will learn how science really works by formulating research questions, collecting and analyzing data and reporting their findings driven by their own interests about Mars! 

The Mars Student Imaging Project is appropriate for grades 5-12. The workshop will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. EDT on three consecutive Thursdays — April 2, 9 and 16, 2015. Participants in this training will earn eight hours of professional development credit and must attend all three sessions. 

For more information and to register to attend, visit

To learn more about upcoming opportunities from the Mars Education Program at Arizona State University, visit

Questions about the workshop should be directed to


Earth Observatory’s Tournament Earth 2015

Thirty-two of the best Earth Observatory images will compete in Tournament Earth 3.0, but only one can be the winner! From March 2 through April 3, 2015, visitors to NASA’s Earth Observatory website can vote for their favorite images from 2014, whittling them down each week in a tournament of remote-sensing science. The competition is divided into four categories: data, art, event and photograph. 

Voting takes place online, and a printable bracket is available to let you pick your favorites and track your selections as the competition progresses.

To get started, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Kevin Ward at


Scholarships Available for 2015 U.S. Space & Rocket Center® STEMcon Professional Development Sessions 

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center® is offering scholarships to educators from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center’s five-state region to attend a four-day professional development session featuring NASA-focused STEM content and resources.

This is a terrific opportunity to learn new ways to bring science to life both inside and outside the classroom. STEMcon provides 32 hours of intensive classroom, laboratory and training time. During the program, educators participate in astronaut-style training and simulations, along with activities designed to promote lifelong learning. All lessons and activities are correlated to Next Generation Science Standards and other national standards and are ready to use in various educational settings.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the NASA Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums. The scholarship includes tuition, meals, lodging, lesson materials and a stipend to help offset travel expenses.

STEMcon sessions will take place June 4-7, 2015, (arrive June 3; depart June 7) and July 9-12, 2015, (arrive July 8; depart July 12).

STEMcon applications are due by 11:59 p.m. CST on April 3, 2015.

To be considered for a 2015 STEMcon scholarship, educators must meet the following requirements:

1. Must be ONE of the following:

— a certified current or practicing educator who is teaching science, mathematics or technology to students ages 10-14 and will continue to teach these subject areas through 2016, OR
— an informal current or practicing educator who is teaching science, mathematics or technology to students ages 10-14 and will continue to teach these subject areas through 2016, OR
— a preservice educator who will be teaching science, mathematics or technology to students ages 10-14 and will continue to teach these subject areas through 2016.

2. Have not previously attended a Space Academy for Educators program.

3. Must live in the five-state Marshall Space Flight Center service area: Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri and Tennessee.

For more information and to access the online application, visit

If you have questions about the 2015 STEMcon opportunity, please email your inquiries to


Center for Astronomy Education Teaching Excellence Workshops — Spring/Summer 2015

NASA’s Center for Astronomy Education, or CAE, announces a series of educator workshops for astronomy and space science educators.

These workshops provide participants with experiences needed to create effective and productive active-learning classroom environments. Workshop leaders model best practices in implementing many different classroom-tested instructional strategies. But more importantly, workshop participants will gain first-hand experience implementing these proven strategies. During many microteaching events, you will have the opportunity to role-play the parts of student and instructor. You will assess and critique each other’s implementation in real time as part of a supportive learning community. You will have the opportunity to use unfamiliar teaching techniques in collaboration with mentors before using them with your students. CAE is funded through NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Exoplanet Exploration Program.

April 10, 2015 — Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan
CAE Great Lakes Regional Teaching Exchange

May 2, 2015 — MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California
CAE Southwest Regional Teaching Exchange

June 13-14, 2015 — South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina
CAE Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop for Current and Future Astronomy and Space Science Instructors

June 22-25, 2015 — American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland
New Faculty Workshop for Physics and Astronomy

August 4-6, 2015 — Honolulu Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii
CAE Teaching Excellence Short-Courses on Active Learning in the STEM Classroom

August 2015 — American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York
CAE Northeast Regional Teaching Exchange

For more information and to register for workshops online, visit

Inquiries about this series of workshops should be directed to Gina Brissenden at


2014 NASA EONS Solicitation — New MUREP Aerospace Academy Appendix

NASA’s Office of Education is accepting new proposals under the Education Opportunities in NASA STEM, or EONS, 2014 NASA Research Announcement. Proposals are being solicited from Minority Serving Institutions, or MSIs, to create and implement a NASA MUREP Aerospace Academy to increase participation and retention of historically underserved and underrepresented K-12 youth in the areas of STEM. 

Notices of intent are requested by April 14, 2015. Proposals are due June 11, 2015. 

For more information, visit

Questions about this solicitation may be directed to


NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission Launches Hands-On Field Campaign for Students With GLOBE

This spring, students worldwide are invited to grab rain gauges and learn how scientists use ground measurements to validate satellite precipitation data.

NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement, or GPM, mission is partnering with the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, or GLOBE, program to conduct a field campaign where students will measure rain and snow in their hometowns through April 15, 2015, and then analyze the data.

To evaluate how well satellite instruments observe precipitation from space, NASA collects data in field campaigns on the ground. In formal ground validation campaigns, teams of scientists deploy rain gauges and ground-based radar instruments to measure precipitation in different terrains, like the Appalachian Mountains, the flood plains of Iowa or snowy Finland. Then they compare the collected data to measurements from satellites and aircraft instruments that simulate satellite observations.

The GLOBE-GPM field campaign is designed to give students a similar experience. Students will use simple manual rain gauges to collect precipitation data and enter them into the online GLOBE database. Using an example analysis as a template, the students will then analyze their data.

Students also will be encouraged to develop their own scientific questions to be answered by the data and compare their observations to ground observations from other sources — nearby GLOBE schools, National Weather Service ground stations or other citizen science data sources — as well as to satellite precipitation data available from NASA.

Educators will have access to a series of blog entries where scientists and engineers describe their research and how they became interested in STEM fields. The campaign will post a discussion board for educators to share ways to use citizen science, GPM data and NASA activities with students.

For more information about the GPM-GLOBE program, visit

For more GPM Precipitation education material, visit

For more information about GPM, visit or

Please email any questions about this opportunity to Kristen Weaver at


Host a Real-Time Conversation With Crew Members Aboard the International Space Station

ARISS-US is now accepting proposals from U.S. schools, museums, science centers and community youth organizations to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, contact between Jan. 1-June 30, 2016. To maximize these radio contact opportunities, ARISS-US is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan. Proposals are due April 15, 2015.

Using amateur radio, students from selected institutions will have the opportunity to ask questions directly to astronauts about life in space and other space-related topics during a 10-minute pass of the International Space Station. Students will gain an understanding of amateur radio and wireless communications and other STEM topics through an education plan executed by the hosting organization.

ARISS provides experienced mentors and relies on local amateur radio volunteers to help organizations obtain the technology required to host this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students.

Interested parties should visit to obtain complete information including how the technology works, what is expected of the host organization and how to submit the proposal form.

Questions about this opportunity should be emailed to


21st Century Teacher Academy

The 21st Century Teacher Academy is a unique professional development opportunity for K-12 educators. The academy is designed to immerse teachers in the best practices and methodologies on how to create and implement real-world, project based learning, or PBL, curriculum using NASA’s missions. This program is hosted by the Office of Education and Public Outreach at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

During the two-week workshop, attendees will create a full PBL module to implement in the classroom, share developed PBL modules within their cohort and have access to a suite of NASA education tools and resources. Participants will also be exposed to unique NASA facilities, missions and subject matter experts while increasing their familiarity with NASA’s research and efforts involving aeronautics. Attendees will also receive a $4,500 stipend. 

Applications are due April 30, 2015. Interested K-12 educators should apply through NASA’s One-Stop Shopping Initiative website at Search for “21st Century Teacher Academy” to find information and application instructions.

If you have questions about the 21st Century Teacher Academy, please email


2015 eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge

In a continuing effort to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and provide a real-world challenge, exposing students to the engineering and design processes, the Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) has begun accepting applications for the sixth annual eXploration Habitat, or X-Hab, Challenge for 2016.

The winners of the challenge will receive between $10,000 and $30,000 to design and produce functional products of interest to projects within HEOMD. 

Proposals are due April 30, 2015, and awardees will follow a tailored systems engineering process with the projects completing in the May 2016 time frame.

Proposals will be accepted from university faculty who are U.S. citizens and currently teach an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredited engineering senior or graduate design, industrial design or architecture curriculum at an accredited university in the U.S.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and other minority serving educational institutions are particularly encouraged to apply. Proposals from women, members of underrepresented minorities groups and persons with disabilities also are highly encouraged. 

For more information about the challenge, visit

If you have any questions about the X-Hab Challenge, please email


Dawn Mission’s I C Ceres Celebration

After more than seven years cruising at stunning speeds, including a wonderful year exploring protoplanet Vesta, the Dawn spacecraft will arrive at its second destination in the main asteroid belt, the dwarf planet Ceres. As the Dawn mission begins its exploration of Ceres, it’s time to celebrate!

A flagship I C Ceres event will be held on May 9, 2015, in Pasadena, California, by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology. The event will include games and contests. Plus, members of the mission team will be there to translate the space science for you! 

If you aren’t in southern California, don’t worry. You can host your own event! Big or small, public or private, all are welcome. Celebrate with your club, society, school group or museum. Awesome presentations will be streamed live.

To learn more, find an event near you, or explore resources to plan your own I C Ceres event, visit

For more information about the Dawn mission, visit

Please email any questions about this opportunity to Joe Wise at

SpaceRef staff editor.