Status Report

NASA Education Express Message — May 28, 2015

By SpaceRef Editor
May 29, 2015
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“Where Over the World Is Astronaut Scott Kelly?” Geography From Space Trivia Contest

During his year-long stay on the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly wants to test your knowledge of the world through a geography trivia game on Twitter. Traveling more than 220 miles above Earth, and at 17,500 miles per hour, he circumnavigates the globe more than a dozen times a day. This gives Kelly the opportunity to see and photograph various geographical locations on Earth. In fact, part of his job while in space is to capture images of Earth for scientific observations. 

Follow @StationCDRKelly on Twitter. Each Wednesday, Kelly will tweet a picture and ask the public to identify the place depicted in the photo. The first person to identify the place correctly will win an autographed copy of the picture. Kelly plans to continue posting weekly contest photos until he returns from the space station in March 2016.

For more information, visit

To learn more about the One-Year Mission, visit


Cast Your Vote in the Ceres “Bright Spot” Mystery Poll

On March 6, 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft began orbiting Ceres, the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even before the spacecraft arrived at the dwarf planet, images revealed mysterious bright spots that captivated scientists and observers alike.

Can you guess what’s creating those unusual bright spots on Ceres? Until Dawn gets a closer look over the next few months, it’s anyone’s guess what those spots could be. 

To learn more and to cast your vote, visit

For more information about the Dawn mission, visit


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


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. Registration is required to participate. Simply click on the provided link to register.

Art and the Cosmic Connection
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades K-16
Event Date: May 28, 2015, at 7 p.m. EDT
Geology meets art! Let you inner geologist use art to recreate craters, mountains, rivers, wind-sculpted landscapes and more. Learn to read planetary images as well as Earth images. Meets Next Generation Science Standards for Earth’s Place in the Universe, Earth Systems, and Social Studies Integrations.
Register online to participate.

Rockets 2 Racecars: Revolutions Around the Universe’s Track — Sharpening Our View of Pluto
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 3-9
Event Date: June 1, 2015, at 5 p.m. EDT
Get your students revved up about science, technology, engineering and mathematics with NASA’s Rockets 2 Racecars (R2R) STEM Education webinar series! Discover how to use racing to explain revolutions and rotations of different celestial bodies in the universe. Learn more about technology development and the historical importance of NASA’s New Horizon’s closest encounter with Pluto.
Register online to participate.

ISS Across the Curriculum: Train Like an Astronaut — Health / PE
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 4-10
Event Date: June 2, 2015, at 7 p.m. EDT
Participants in this webinar will get an overview of how astronauts train for activities in space. Hands-on activities and an interactive website will show teachers how to integrate health concepts into their curriculum.
Register online to participate.

Rockets 2 Racecars: Educators Go Green at the Pocono Raceway
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 5-8
Event Date: June 4, 2015, at 3:30 p.m. EDT
Get your students revved up about science, technology, engineering and mathematics with NASA’s Rockets 2 Racecars (R2R) STEM Education webinar series! Discover how NASA uses the power of the sun in our missions, such as the International Space Station and Mars Exploration Rovers. Join us live at the Solar Pocono Raceway. This webinar is guaranteed to brighten your day!
Register online to participate.

Hubble Space Telescope: A Look Back in Time
Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: June 4, 2015, at 7 p.m. EDT
How did it all start? Who is Edwin Hubble? Why do we need a space telescope? Relive the realization of a dream as the Hubble Space Telescope was launched on board space shuttle Discovery. Learn how fuzzy photos required a spectacular repair mission. See examples from deep space such as stars, planets, galaxies and beyond. Make real-world connections with everyday technologies as you learn about NASA STEM resources to build and launch satellites using the engineering design process.
Register online to participate.

For a full schedule of upcoming NASA Educator Professional Development webinars, visit

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


NASA History Program Office Fall 2015 Internships

The NASA History Program Office is seeking undergraduate and graduate students for 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.

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’s Educator Professional Development Institute

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is seeking proposals for participation the 2015 Educator Professional Development Institute. The institute will take place June 29-July 2, 2015, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The theme for this year’s workshop will be Engineering Enabling Science. The institute will focus on how engineering is infused within Goddard’s different science missions and how informal educators can incorporate these topics, concepts and content into experiences for their students and communities. Throughout the institute, participants will work toward developing an engineering unit focused on an underserved and underrepresented middle school-aged audience. The unit will be appropriate for use in their afterschool, museum, or informal learning setting.

Successful applicants will receive a $500 stipend to assist with travel, lodging and purchase of any additional materials. Limited space may be available for participants who wish to fund their participation and not receive a stipend. Successful applicants also will be provided with one NASA’s BEST (Beginning Engineering, Science, and Technology) engineering kit of materials to begin their programming after participation in the institute.

Proposals are due June 1, 2015.

For more information, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Amanda Harvey at


NASA’s Network of Small and Medium Size Museums Workshop

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is seeking proposals for participation in NASA’s Network of Small and Medium Size Museums Workshop. The workshop will take place Aug. 19-21, 2015, at Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

The theme for this year’s workshop will be Engineering Enabling Science. The workshop will focus on how engineering is infused within Goddard’s different science divisions and suborbital science research and how museums can incorporate these topics, concepts, and missions into their programming, exhibits, and community. 

Goddard will provide an honorarium of $2000 to each participating institution to establish a new exhibit, exhibit component or new program, or refresh an existing program that promotes Goddard’s unique content with a target audience of middle school students. In addition, those submitting successful proposals will receive a $500 stipend to assist with travel, lodging and daily per diem. Limited space may be available for participants who wish to fund their participation.

Proposals are due June 1, 2015.

For more information, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Amanda Harvey at


Free “What’s New in Aerospace?” Lecture Series at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Curious about recent research, developments and discoveries related to space? Come to the Smithsonian’s “What’s New in Aerospace?” lecture series presented in collaboration with NASA. The lectures will be held at the Moving Beyond Earth Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in the District of Columbia. Each hourlong lecture begins at 1 p.m. EDT and will be streamed live online. 

The next lectures is planned for June 2, 2015.

For more information about the “What’s New in Aerospace?” lecture series and to watch the live webcast events, visit

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


Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Presents Astronomy Chats

Have you ever talked to an astronomer? To participate in an informal conversation with an astronomy researcher, join the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for a series of Astronomy Chats. The researchers work at a variety of institutions, including the Smithsonian, NASA, Harvard University and the U.S. Naval Research Lab. If they cannot come in person, they join by video chat.

The conversation may be on any topic of interest to you. Visitors frequently ask questions like, “What’s an average day like for you?” or “What kind of telescopes have you used?”

Astronomy Chats take place at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory at the Smithsonian Institution in the District of Columbia. During inclement weather, the chats may be moved indoors, usually to the Explore the Universe gallery. Both locations are accessible. There is no admission fee.

The next Astronomy Chat is scheduled for June 4, 2015 at 11 a.m. EDT

For more information about the Smithsonian’s Astronomy Chat Series, visit

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


2015 NSBRI First Award Fellowship Program

The National Space Biomedical Research Institute, or NSBRI, is accepting fellowship applications for the First Award Fellowship Program. The one-year fellowships are available in any U.S. laboratory carrying out space-related biomedical or biotechnological research.

Applicants are required to submit proposals with the support of a mentor and an institution, and all proposals will be evaluated by a peer-review committee. Selected applicants receive a stipend, allowance for health insurance and travel funds for related scientific meetings.

This year’s applicants also can request to be considered to spend part of the fellowship in Russia, via a program involving NSBRI and the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow.

Detailed program and application submission information is available at

The application deadline is June 5, 2015

Questions may be directed to Dr. Amanda Smith Hackler at

NSBRI, funded by NASA, is a consortia of institutions studying the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight and developing the medical technologies needed for long missions. The institute’s science, technology and education projects take place at more than 60 institutions across the United States.

For more information about NSBRI’s First Award Program, please visit


Free Tours of Facilities at NASA’s Glenn Research Center

NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, is offering tours that take visitors behind the scenes and inside certain research facilities. Glenn scientists and engineers serve as guides. Tours will be offered each month through October 2015. Tours are free of charge for groups and individuals on an advance reservation basis. Visitor parking is also available free of charge.

A tour bus departs from Glenn’s main gate every hour beginning at 10 a.m. The last tour departs at 1 p.m. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and is followed by a stop at Glenn’s Gift Shop.

Glenn’s 2015 Tour Schedule

June 6, 2015 — Glenn’s Portal to the Space Station: Take a journey through the Telescience Support Center. This secure, multipurpose facility is designed to provide dedicated support for simultaneous training, simulations and real-time operations of space experiments on the International Space Station. Principal investigators, project scientists and payload operators can send commands and receive telemetry and science data from their payload hardware operating on board the station.

July 11, 2015 — Breeze by a Wind Tunnel: Tour the Abe Silverstein Supersonic Wind Tunnel. This facility has conducted supersonic propulsion testing on aircraft components such as inlets, nozzles and engines. It is ideally suited for launch vehicle tests and other fuel-burning applications.

Aug. 1, 2015 — See Things a Different Way: Check out Glenn’s Graphics and Visualization, or GVIS, and the Reconfigurable User-interface and Virtual Reality Exploration, or GRUVE, Laboratories. The GVIS Lab uses advanced computer input and output devices paired with a variety of natural user interface devices and 3-D displays. The GRUVE lab is used to analyze data obtained either by computer simulation or from research test facilities.

Sept. 12, 2015 — Go to the Extreme: Join us on a tour through Glenn’s Extreme Environments Rig, or GEER. As NASA ventures through the solar system and beyond, spacecraft will experience hostile environments of Venus and other planetary bodies. Temperatures can reach hundreds of degrees. Air pressure is crushing, and the toxic atmosphere is thick. GEER is designed to simulate those temperatures and pressure extremes and accurately reproduce the atmospheric compositions of bodies in the solar system. GEER is currently in its commissioning phase for operations simulating Venus’ surface temperature, pressure and chemistry.

Oct. 3, 2015 — Explore Locomotion on Planets: Come explore the Simulated Lunar Operations facility, which is home to a 60-foot-long, 20-foot-wide sandpit filled with simulated lunar soil and a lunar rover test bed. Other areas simulate Martian soil conditions. Research in this facility will help NASA develop the components of rovers capable of traveling long distances and investigating planetary surfaces during future human and robotic missions to keep NASA’s journey to Mars moving forward.

Tours are open to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. To guarantee admission, reservations are required. For more information on tours and how to make reservations, visit

Questions about the tours should be directed to Sheila Reese at


Smallsat Technology Partnerships Solicitation

NASA is extending an opportunity to college and university teams to propose small spacecraft technology projects that they can conduct in collaboration with NASA researchers. The Smallsat Technology Partnerships solicitation is being issued by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program as an appendix to the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s NASA Research Announcement for 2015.

NASA expects to competitively select about eight projects from among those proposed by university teams, which can form proposal partnerships with researchers from any of NASA’s 10 field centers. Awards for each project will include up to $100,000 to each university team per year. In addition, NASA will fund the time for one NASA employee to work with each selected team. Project funding is for one year with the potential to continue for a second year.

Proposed projects could involve laboratory work to advance a particular spacecraft technology or the development of a new smallsat. NASA will be accepting proposals in four topic areas: 1) precise attitude control and pointing systems for cubesats, 2) power generation, energy storage and thermal management systems for small spacecraft, 3) simple low-cost deorbit systems, and 4) communications and tracking systems and networks.

Proposals are due June 8, 2015.

The appendix document is available through the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System website at

Questions about this solicitation may be directed to Rachel Khattab 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.

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.


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. 

Proposals are due June 11, 2015

For more information, visit

Questions about this solicitation may be directed to


2014 NASA EONS Solicitation — New MUREP Community College Curriculum Improvement Appendix

NASA’s Office of Education Minority University Research and Education Project, or MUREP, is seeking proposals from Minority Serving Community Colleges to strengthen curriculum and curricular pathways in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, and attract, retain and support the success of underrepresented students in STEM degree programs.

Proposals for the NASA MUREP Community College Curriculum Improvement, or MC3I, solicitation must contain plans for and be guided by curricula improvements, and address one of the following as a primary focus: (1) improving curriculum in STEM vocational certificate programs, associate of arts/science degree programs, and/or transfer programs; (2) strengthening and diversifying the STEM pipeline through high school partnerships; or (3) expanding opportunities in engineering. Proposers are required to partner with a NASA center or facility, and are highly encouraged to partner with other institutions, such as K-12 school districts and four-year colleges/universities. Successful proposals will be funded as multiyear cooperative agreements.

Institutions planning to prepare a proposal package for NASA MC3I are required to submit a Notice of Intent, or NOIs, to propose. NOIs assist NASA in assessing the response to this cooperative agreement notice and to determine the expertise required for the proposal review panel. NOIs should be submitted by the authorized organization representative in the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System, or NSPIRES, by April 14, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Interested proposers must register with NSPIRES before it can be accessed for use.

Since NOIs submitted after the deadline may still be useful to NASA, late NOIs may be submitted and will be accepted.

Proposals are due on June 11, 2015 by 11:59 p.m. in NSPIRES. 

For more information, visit

Questions about this solicitation may be directed to Roslyn Soto at


NASA Educator Professional Development Sessions at Essence Festival 2015

NASA Education will be offering a no-cost, exclusive series of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, educator professional development onsite workshops during the Essence Festival taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 1-3, 2015.

NASA education specialists from around the country will present the workshops. Each 2.5-hour workshop session will focus on a specific NASA STEM education topic. Each session will integrate NASA missions, real-world data, lessons, activities and online resources that will enhance upper elementary and middle school curriculum with the excitement of aerospace exploration. 

Workshops will be held at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, #1 Canal Street, in New Orleans. Registration will be limited to 30 educators of grades 4-8 for each session. Registration will close on June 12, 2015.

Scheduled sessions include the following:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

9 – 11:30 a.m. — Earth Right Now
NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. Our planet is changing. We’re on it. NASA’s fleet of satellites, its airborne missions and researchers address some of the critical challenges facing Earth today and in the future: climate change, rising sea levels, freshwater resources and extreme weather events.

1 – 3:30 p.m. — Space Technology Drives Exploration
Technology drives exploration. Sustained investments in NASA technology advance the agency’s capabilities in space exploration, science and aeronautics. NASA seeks to improve our ability to access and travel through space; land more mass in more locations throughout the solar system; live and work in deep space and on planetary bodies; build next-generation air vehicles; and transform the ability to observe the universe and answer profound questions in earth and space sciences. NASA’s technology supports the U.S. economy by generating tangible benefits for life on Earth. NASA is investing in the future of innovation.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

9 – 11:30 a.m. — Journey to Mars
Mars is a rich destination for scientific discovery, robotic exploration and human exploration as we expand our presence into the solar system. Its formation and evolution are comparable to Earth, helping us learn more about our own planet’s history and future. Mars had conditions suitable for life in its past. Future exploration could uncover evidence of life, answering one of the fundamental mysteries of the cosmos: Does life exist beyond Earth? Join us on the journey to Mars. Today our robotic scientific explorers are blazing the trail and will aid humans to pioneer the next giant leap in exploration.

1 – 3:30 p.m. — Aeronautics – Come Fly With Us
NASA is with you when you fly. We’re committed to transforming aviation by reducing its environmental impact, maintaining safety, and revolutionizing aircraft shapes and propulsion. Thanks to advancements in aeronautics developed by NASA, today’s aviation industry is better equipped than ever to safely and efficiently transport all those passengers to their destinations. In fact, every U.S. aircraft flying today and every U.S. air traffic control tower uses NASA-developed technology in some way.

Friday, July 3, 2015

9 – 11:30 a.m. — Our Solar System and Beyond
We’re Out There. NASA’s exploration spans the universe — observing the sun and its effects on Earth, delving deep into our solar system, looking beyond to worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe. As its missions explore our solar system and search for new worlds, NASA is finding water in surprising places. Water is but one piece of our search for habitable planets and life beyond Earth, yet it links many seemingly unrelated worlds in surprising ways. Everywhere imaginable, NASA is out there.

1 – 3:30 p.m. — The International Space Station: Living and Working In Space
The International Space Station is a unique place — a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in exploration, enabling research and technology developments that will benefit human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including asteroids and Mars. The station is the blueprint for global cooperation — one that enables a multinational partnership and advances shared goals in space exploration.

For more information and to register for the sessions, visit

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


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.

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


ROSES-15 Amendment 13: New Program Element — Citizen science Asteroid Data, Education, and Tools (CADET)

The Citizen science Asteroid Data, Education, and Tools, or CADET, is a joint solicitation of the Near Earth Objects Program within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and the Asteroid Grand Challenge program within NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist. CADET seeks innovative proposals to adapt, develop, and Web-enable software tools for asteroid data analysis. CADET seeks to make them accessible to and easily usable by nonprofessionals, including amateur astronomers, students and citizen scientists.

The CADET program has these specific goals:

— Through agile development and other innovative methods, adapt, further develop and Web-enable asteroid data analysis software to increase the productivity of Near Earth Objects Program and Asteroid Grand Challenge program research endeavors and extend the state-of-the practice in those endeavors
–Develop easily usable and understandable software tools through the application of human-centered design best practices, including user research studies, systematic usability testing, and evaluation
— Integrate advances in information technology with advances in cyber learning (i.e., what is known about how people learn with technology), and integrate these software tools into learning environments so their potential is fulfilled
— Foster multidisciplinary collaborations that span the NASA science, computer science, design and education disciplines.

Step-1 proposals are due by June 15, 2015.

Step-2 proposals are due by July 15, 2015.

For more information, visit

Please direct questions concerning this program element to Jason Kessler at


Student Spaceflight Experiments Program — Mission 9 to the International Space Station

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, in partnership with NanoRacks LLC, announce an authentic science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, opportunity for school districts across the U.S. and space station partner nations. The newest flight opportunity, Mission 9 to the International Space Station, or ISS, gives students across a community the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low-Earth orbit on the ISS. This opportunity is part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, or SSEP.

Each participating community will receive a real microgravity research minilaboratory capable of supporting a single microgravity experiment and all launch services to fly the minilab to the space station in spring 2016 and return it to Earth. An experiment design competition in each community — engaging typically 300+ students — allows student teams to design and propose real experiments vying for their community′s reserved minilab. Content resources for teachers and students support foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design. Additional SSEP programming leverages the experiment design competition to engage the community, embracing a learning community model for STEM education.

This competition is open to students in grades 5-12 and college. Informal education groups and organizations are also encouraged to participate. The deadline for interested communities to inquire about the program has been extended to June 15, 2015. The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education is available to help interested communities in the U.S. secure the needed funding.

To learn more about this opportunity, visit the SSEP Mission 9 to International Space Station National Announcement of Opportunity at

SSEP is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a national laboratory. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space ( is a national partner on SSEP. To view a list of all SSEP national partners, visit

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please email SSEP National Program Director Jeff Goldstein at


Historical NASA Space Artifacts Available for Educational Use

NASA invites eligible U.S. educational institutions, museums and other organizations to screen and request historical artifacts of significance to spaceflight. This is the 27th screening of artifacts since 2009.

Eligible schools, universities, museums, libraries and planetariums may view the artifacts and request specific items through June 15, 2015. Online registrations should include an assigned Department of Education number. Registration also may be made through the requester’s State Agency for Surplus Property office. For instructions, to register and to view and request artifacts online, visit

The artifacts are free of charge and are offered “as-is.” Organizations must cover shipping costs and any handling fees. Shipping fees on smaller items will be relatively inexpensive; however, larger items may involve extensive disassembly, preparation, shipping and reassembly costs. NASA will work closely with eligible organizations to address any unique handling costs.

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to


White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities — 2015 All-Star Students

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities works to promote HBCU excellence, innovation and sustainability. The Initiative will recognize current HBCU students for their dedication to academics, leadership and civic engagement as 2015 HBCU All-Star Students.

The appointment period will last approximately one year. During this time, HBCU All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities by providing outreach opportunities and communications to their fellow students about the value of education and the Initiative as a networking resource. Through social media and personal and professional relationships with community-based organizations, students will share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to realize their educational and career potential. The program will provide an opportunity to participate in regional and national events as well as webchats with Initiative staff and other professionals from a wide range of disciplines that support a spirit of engagement and personal and professional development.

Nominees must be current undergraduate or graduate students at an HBCU. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 17, 2015.

For more information and to download an application, visit

Please email any questions about this opportunity to


2015 von Kármán Lecture Series — Attend in Person or View Online

The Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, named after the founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and presented by JPL’s Office of Communication and Education, share the excitement of the space program’s missions, instruments and other technologies.

Lectures take place twice per month, on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays. The Thursday lectures take place in JPL’s Theodore von Kármán Auditorium, and Friday lectures take place at Pasadena City College’s Vosloh Forum. Both start at 7 pm. PDT (10 p.m. EDT). Admission and parking are free for all lectures. No reservations are required, but seating is limited. The Thursday evening lectures are also streamed live for viewing online. Archives of past lectures are also available online.

The next lecture in the series is:

On Sea Ice
Event Date:
 June 18 and June 19, 2015, at 7 pm. PDT (10 p.m. EDT) 
Join NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory senior research scientist Dr. Ron Kwok as he discusses the study of sea ice and draws on the perspective of his 25 years of involvement in this important, small-but-growing corner of Earth science. While the decline in Arctic sea ice coverage and the smaller opposing trend in the Southern Ocean have occupied the headlines, there are many processes that contribute to the character of ice cover.

For more information about the Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, including a complete list of upcoming lectures, visit

Questions about this series should be directed to the


U.S. Department of Education ‘First in the World’ Grant Competition

The U.S. Department of Education is accepting proposals for the “First in the World” grant competition. The goal of this highly competitive program is to build evidence for what works in postsecondary education by testing the effectiveness of innovative strategies to improve student persistence and completion outcomes. The department will award grants in development and validation tiers.

Applications are due June 30, 2015.

For proposal specifications and submission requirements, visit

Questions about the “First in the World” program should be directed to


Call for Abstracts: 31st American Society for Gravitational and Space Research Conference

A call for abstracts has been released for the 31st annual American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, or ASGSR, Conference taking place Nov. 11-14, 2015, in Alexandria, Virginia.

Applicants must submit abstracts electronically no later than July 1, 2015, using the abstract submittal form and instructions posted on the ASGSR website. All submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed by the conference organizing committee.

All accepted abstracts from students will be presented as posters or orally in competitions. The student poster competition will be judged by society members, and monetary awards will be given during the banquet scheduled for Nov. 14, 2015. Students must be present at the banquet to receive the monetary award. Student competition winners will be encouraged to submit an extended abstract or a communication article to the ASGSR journal “Gravitational and Space Research.” All students should coordinate with their advisors when submitting an abstract for the conference.

Student travel assistance of up to $500 is available on a limited basis. Students requesting consideration for travel assistance should check the box on the abstract submittal form.

For more information, visit Please direct questions about this opportunity to Ms. Jobi Cook at


3-D Printed Habitat Challenge — Design Competition

NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, known as America Makes, are holding a new $2.25 million competition to design and build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars. The multi-phase 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge, part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges program, is designed to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.

The first phase of the competition, a design competition, calls on participants to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3-D printing offers. The top 30 submissions will be judged, and a prize purse of $50,000 will be awarded at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.

The deadline to submit a registration packet for the design competition phase is July 15, 2015

The second phase of the competition is divided into two levels. The Structural Member Competition (Level 1) focuses on the fabrication technologies needed to manufacture structural components from a combination of indigenous materials and recyclables, or indigenous materials alone. The On-Site Habitat Competition (Level 2) challenges competitors to fabricate full-scale habitats using indigenous materials or indigenous materials combined with recyclables. Both levels open for registration Sept. 26, and each carries a $1.1 million prize.

For more information, rules and to register for the 3-D-Printed Habitat Challenge, visit

Questions about the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge should be directed to project manager John Wilczynski at


Future Engineers: 3-D Space Container Challenge

NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation are challenging K-12 students to create a model of a container for space using 3-D modeling software. Astronauts need containers of all kinds — from advanced containers for studying fruit flies to simple containers for collecting Mars rocks or storing an astronaut’s food. The ability to 3-D print containers in space — on demand — will let humans venture farther into space. That’s why we are challenging students to start designing for space now.

Design entries could be for a container designed for microgravity on the International Space Station or a container designed for future astronauts on Mars! Space is a big place, but your imagination is even bigger. Multiple prizes, based on age groups, are available.

Entries must be submitted by Aug. 2, 2015.

The Design a Space Tool Challenge is the second in a series of challenges where students in grades K-12 create and submit a digital 3-D model of a container that they think astronauts might need in space. Future Engineers is a multiyear education initiative that consists of 3-D space challenges and curriculum videos that parents and educators can use to get kids designing today. 

For more information about the challenge and to watch an introductory video, visit

If you have any questions about the 3-D Space Container Challenge, please email


NOAA’s Climate Education Regional Workshop — Silver Spring, Maryland

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Stewards Education Project is hosting a free climate-science workshop for formal and informal educators on Aug. 5, 2015, at the NOAA Science Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Participants will hear from and interact with climate science, education and communication experts.

The workshop will focus on an introduction to global climate models exploring the subject of climate change in the same way that research scientists do. Simulations and activities for modeling regional and/or topical impacts of climate change will be shared with a goal of connecting educators and their students/audiences to the best-available, science-based information and resources about climate change.

Attendance is limited and availability will be on a first come, first serve basis, so register early. Participation is free, but attendees are responsible for arranging their own transportation, lodging and meals unless otherwise indicated in workshop details.

All attendees will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation in the workshop as well as the number of professional development hours they have engaged in.

For more information and to register to attend, visit

For more information about NOAA’s Climate Stewards Project, visit

Questions about this workshop should be directed to Peg Steffen at


What’s New at NASA’s Space Place Website

Summer is upon us! What will you do with the extra sunlight and, hopefully, a little bit of extra time? At Space Place, we have you covered with new articles and activities.

What’s New? The Age of the Sun
We see it in the sky every day, but how much do we know about the sun? What about something basic, like its age? Find out the sun’s age, and just how it is that we know how old the sun is.

What’s New? How Far Away Is the Moon?
The moon seems close because we can see it easily with the naked eye, but 30 Earths could fit between us and the moon.

What’s New? How Many Moons?
Go on a tour of our solar system and meet some of the most popular moons. Saturn has the most confirmed moons, but Jupiter has the biggest one, Ganymede. Do you know why Mercury doesn’t have any moons at all?

For the Classroom
You can decorate your classroom with the official Space Place calendar for the 2015-2016 school year. It has beautiful images, NASA facts and trivia, and links to relevant content. Download individual months or the entire set today.

The Space Place Experiment Center
Space Place is introducing a new way to spice up your classroom or after-school activities — the “Space Place Experiment Center.” Loaded with two classic bean-sprout experiments, this Web app brings the excitement of the scientific method into the digital age with a framework for students to input observations and record daily changes — all online. How much water does a bean need to sprout? What happens if you try to grow a bean plant without light? Start your investigation today!

Special Days to Celebrate

June 5: World Environment Day
Play the “Missions to Planet Earth” card game.

June 18: Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman in space in 1983. 
Look at our photo gallery of astronauts and rockets!

June 21: Summer Solstice and the First Day of Summer
Find out why we have seasons on Earth, and how it’s related to long and short days.

July 6: Aphelion — On this day, we are farther from the sun than on any other day of the year.
Learn about the sun and Earth’s special relationship in our animated storybook, “Super Star Meets the Plucky Planet.”

July 16: Apollo 11 launched in 1969. It brought astronauts to the moon for the first time.
Why does the moon have so many craters?

July 29: NASA established in 1958.
Download your own Space Place desktop wallpaper to celebrate!

Do you want some help spreading the word about NASA’s Space Place? We have a page with ready-to-use website descriptions, logos and links to all our social media. Check out

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Please let us know your ideas about ways to use The Space Place in your teaching. Send to


SpaceRef staff editor.