Status Report

NASA Education Express Message — Oct. 14, 2010

By SpaceRef Editor
October 14, 2010
Filed under , ,

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

NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program
Audience: Higher Education Students
Deadline: Oct. 27, 2010

Classrooms, Museums Invited on Comet Encounter
Audience: All Educators and Students
Event Date: Nov. 4, 2010

OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award Contest
Audience: 3-8 Students
Registration Deadline: Nov. 12, 2010

Deadline Extended: International Youth Art Competition
Audience: K-12 Students
Deadline: Dec. 3, 2010

National Space Biomedical Research Institute Summer Internship Program
Audience: Higher Education Students
Deadline: Jan. 31, 2011

Space Exploration Educators Conference
Audience: K-12 Educators
Event Date: Feb. 3-5, 2011

2011 RASC-AL Competition
Audience: Higher Education Students
Deadline: Feb. 4, 2011

National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s Graduate Education Program in Space Life Sciences
Audience: Higher Education Students
Deadline: Feb. 15, 2011


The deadline is fast-approaching for undergraduate students to submit their team proposals to NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. Proposals must be received by 11:59 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010.

NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program gives aspiring explorers a chance to propose, design and fabricate a reduced gravity experiment. Selected teams will get to test and evaluate their experiment aboard a modified Boeing 727 jetliner provided by the Zero-Gravity Corporation of Las Vegas. Zero-Gravity Corp. will conduct the flights in cooperation with the Reduced Gravity Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The aircraft will fly approximately 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips during experiment flights to produce periods of weightlessness and hyper-gravity ranging from 0 g to 2 g.

All applicants must be full-time students, U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old. NASA will announce selected teams Dec. 8, 2010. Teams will fly in the summer of 2011. Selected teams also may invite a full-time, accredited journalist to fly with them and document the team’s experiment and experiences.

For more information about the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program or to submit a proposal, contact the program at, or visit

– Classrooms, Museums Invited on Comet Encounter

NASA’s EPOXI mission is three weeks away from its flyby of comet Hartley 2. Students and educators can watch live Web coverage of the encounter on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, from 6:30 to approximately 8 a.m. PST (9:30 to 11 a.m. EST). They also can send questions in advance about the comet encounter to Due to program constraints, not all questions will be answered.

This flyby will be only the fifth time in history that a comet has been imaged close up. At point of closest approach, the spacecraft will be about 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the comet. EPOXI is an extended mission that uses the already “in-flight” Deep Impact spacecraft, which made its own cosmic fame when it released a small impactor into the path of comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005.

The program will offer live coverage from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s mission control, where viewers will hear from scientists and engineers as they receive real-time data and images about the comet encounter. The program also will feature a roughly 20-minute education portion, featuring videotaped demonstrations of comet activities for the classroom and time to answer questions sent in by classes and other educational organizations. Details are provided below on the program content and suggested preparatory materials.

For program information, please go to

– NASA and Optimus Prime Collaborate on Video Contest

NASA is teaming up with Hasbro to present the Optimus Prime Spinoff Award Contest. Featuring Optimus Prime, the leader of the popular TRANSFORMERS brand, the contest highlights spinoffs from NASA technologies that are used on Earth. The goal is to help students understand that NASA technology “transforms” into things that are used daily. These “transformed” technologies include water purifiers, medical imaging software, or fabric that protects against UV rays.

The Optimus Prime Spinoff Award Contest is a video contest for students in grades 3-8. Each student, or group of students, will submit a three- to five-minute video on a selected NASA spinoff technology listed in the 2009 Spinoff publication. Videos must demonstrate an understanding of the NASA spinoff technology and the associated NASA mission, as well as the commercial application and public benefit associated with the “transformed” technology.

– Participants must register for the contest by Nov. 12, 2010. Video entries are due Dec. 31, 2010.

Video entries will be posted on the NASA YouTube channel, and the public will be responsible for the first round of judging. The top five submissions from each of the two grade groups (3-5 and 6-8) will advance for final judging. A NASA panel will select a winning entry from each group, and the students will receive a glass Optimus Prime Spinoff Award at the Space Foundation’s National Space Symposium in 2011. The innovators of the NASA technology highlighted in the winning videos also will receive trophies, along with their commercial partners.

For more information, visit the Optimus Prime Spinoff Award website at Questions about this contest should be directed to Darryl Mitchell at

– Deadline Extended: International Youth Art Competition

In April 2011, experts from around the world will gather in Houston for the International Academy of Astronautics Humans in Space Symposium. As part of this event, students ages 10-17 are invited to express their ideas about the future of human space exploration through visual, literary, musical or digital art.

Artwork submissions will be judged on creativity, skill, and demonstration of meaning relevant to expressing “What is the future of human space exploration, and why is it important?” Bonus points will be awarded for artwork that does not break obvious scientific principles.

Winning art will be displayed at the Symposium and in an online gallery. Submissions must be received by Dec. 3, 2010.

For additional information and a complete list of guidelines, visit

Inquiries about this opportunity should be directed to Please include “HIS Youth Art Competition” in the subject line.

– National Space Biomedical Research Institute Summer Internship Program

Interns selected for the NSBRI’s summer program join ongoing project activities and gain hands-on experience in space biomedical research at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The program is open to graduate students, medical students and undergraduate students who have completed their second year of studies.

Applicants are asked to send a curriculum vitae or resume, a letter of interest indicating available dates during the summer, two letters of recommendation, and college transcripts. The program is open to U.S. citizens.

– Applications for the 2011 program are due Jan. 31, 2011.

For more information and to apply online, visit Questions about this opportunity should be directed to

– Space Exploration Educators Conference, Feb. 3-5, 2011

Register today for the 17th Annual Space Exploration Educators Conference, to be held Feb. 3-5, 2011, at Space Center Houston. This conference is for all K-12 educators. Activities presented use space-related themes to teach across the curriculum 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 and to register for the conference, visit

If you have any questions about the conference, please call 281-244-2149 or e-mail

– 2011 RASC-AL Competition

NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace announce the 2011 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage Competition. RASC-AL is a design project competition aimed at university-level engineering students.

The RASC-AL contest challenges participants to design projects based on real NASA projects. Participants can choose from four different themes. These design projects potentially could be implemented by NASA.

Interested teams are requested to submit a notice of intent as soon as practical, and teams must submit an abstract for their proposed project by Feb. 4, 2011. The RASC-AL Steering Committee of NASA and industry experts will evaluate the proposals and select as many as ten undergraduate and five graduate teams to compete against each other at a forum in June 2011 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 work in collaboration 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 Shelley Spears at

– National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s Graduate Education Program in Space Life Sciences

The National Space Biomedical Research Institute seeks solutions to health concerns facing astronauts on long missions. The institute’s research also benefits patients on Earth. This NSBRI-sponsored training program in space life sciences enables students to work toward doctorates at Texas A&M University and to focus their research on space life sciences and fields related to the space initiative. Texas A&M currently is recruiting participants for fall 2011. Students will pursue doctoral degrees in genetics, kinesiology, health physics or nutrition, or an M.D./Ph.D. or a Ph.D. in medical sciences.

Application packages are due Feb. 15, 2011.

For more information, visit

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to

SpaceRef staff editor.