In This Newsletter Issue

NASA EXPRESS: Dec 20, 2018

December 21, 2018


Check out the latest NASA opportunities for the education community



New Year's 2019 New Exploration: New Horizons -- The Ultima Thule Flyby!

New Horizons Ultima Art Campaign for Students

Audience: Artists Worldwide, Ages 4-17

Entry Deadline: Dec. 27, 11:59 p.m. CST


On Jan. 1, 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft will fly by the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed “Ultima Thule.” This will be the most distant planetary encounter in history! What will Ultima look like? Make your prediction and submit a scanned drawing or photo of your artwork to the New Horizons team. All forms of art—drawings, paintings or 3D printed items—are welcome. Your artwork might be featured on the New Horizons’ website, social media and live New Year’s Eve flyby events! 


STEMonstration: Sleep Science

Audience: STEM Educators


Have you ever wondered how astronauts sleep in microgravity? Crew sleeping quarters aboard the International Space Station have been created to provide a quality resting space for astronauts as they orbit Earth. In this new episode, Expedition 55/56 flight engineer Ricky Arnold talks about the sleeping quarters in addition to the effects of healthy sleeping habits on our ability to conduct daily tasks. Visit for more educational videos in microgravity aboard the International Space Station, and their accompanying Classroom Connection lesson plans.


Find more ways to bring resources from the International Space Station into your classroom by checking out NASA’s STEM on Station website.

Astronaut Ricky Arnold smiles while floating in his sleeping quarters on the space station-- STEMonstrations: Sleep Science


Artist's illustration of the X-43A aircraft in flight

Explore Flight: Breaking Barriers—Linear Equations

Audience: Educators of Grades 5-8

Event Date: Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Participants will get an overview of the NASA CONNECT episode “Breaking Barriers—Linear Equations.” This resource uses balloon-powered aircraft to generate data for analysis of linear equations in the context of breaking the sound barrier. This webinar addresses the Common Core State Standards for Math—Expressions and Equations. Online registration is required.


Explore Flight: Flying in Our Atmosphere—How High Is It?

Audience: Educators of Grades 5-8

Event Date: Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Explore the "How High Is It?" lesson guide that features activities to create a scale model of Earth’s atmosphere including its layers and the altitudes of NASA aircraft, spacecraft and natural and artificial satellites. Develop number sense by representing scale factors in terms of ratios, decimals and percentages. Online registration is required.

Front cover of the "How High Is It?" Educator Guide


Black and white image of an F-15 jet in flight

Explore Flight: Exploring the Extreme—Force and Motion

Audience: Educators of Grades 5-8

Event Date: Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Participants will get an overview of NASA’s “Exploring the Extreme” educator guide. Discussion will be focused on hands-on activities to teach about force and motion. The activities discussed in this webinar address the Next Generation Science Standard PS2. Online registration is required.


Explore Flight: Flying With STEM in Your Classroom

Audience: Educators of Grades K-12

Event Date: Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Explore the principles and physics of flight with flying things in your classroom. Using NASA online resources and simple, inexpensive STEM classroom activities and design challenges, we’ll investigate parts of an airplane, what makes an airplane fly and how can we design and build aircraft that can actually fly in your classroom. Online registration is required.

Paper airplane shaped like a ring-wing


Explore Flight: Real World Balloon Aerodynamics

Audience: Educators of Grades 4-10

Event Date: Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Explore an activity that challenges students to design, measure, build, test and redesign a neutral buoyancy device using a helium balloon. Students demonstrate how different forces affect motion and apply what they have learned. The activities featured in this webinar address the Next Generation Science Standards. Online registration is required.


2019 OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge

Audience: Students in Grades 3-12

Mission 3 Entry Deadline: Feb. 19, 2019

Mission 2 Entry Deadline: March 12, 2019


NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, invites you to enter the OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge (OPSPARC). Embark on three missions, starting with a scavenger hunt for NASA spinoffs or technologies created for NASA missions now being used for other purposes. OPSPARC challenges young innovators to find creative uses for NASA technologies and to invent their own spinoffs. Winners will be invited to a workshop at Goddard, attend a VIP awards ceremony and meet actor Peter Cullen, the voice of OPTIMUS PRIME. OPTIMUS PRIME is a trademark of Hasbro and is used with permission. All Rights Reserved.




NASA’s Langley Research Center 2019 Student Art Contest

Audience: K-12 Students in the U.S.

Entry Deadline: Dec. 31


Calling all artists in grades K-12! NASA's Langley Research Center invites you to take part in its 2019 Student Art Contest. The theme for this year’s contest is “Explore” and encourages you to illustrate your vision of the future in aeronautics, exploration and Earth science. Artwork entries may consist of drawings, paintings, mixed media and digital creations. Prizes will be awarded to the top entries in each grade level. Plus a grand prize winner will be chosen from all entries.


2019 BIG Idea Challenge: Marsboreal Greenhouse Design

Audience: Full-time Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Entry Deadline: Jan. 6, 2019


NASA’s 2019 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge seeks innovations in the design and operation of a Mars Greenhouse. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. Top teams present their concepts via a design review at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. Eligible students on teams that advance to the BIG Idea Forum will have the opportunity to compete for one of five NASA summer internship slots.


Call for Judges: 2018-2019 Conrad Challenge

Audience: Educators, Researchers and Members of Academia

Registration Deadline: Jan. 11, 2019


The Conrad Challenge is an annual, virtual competition that invites students worldwide to become entrepreneurs and apply innovation, science, technology, creativity and critical thinking to solve challenges having a global impact. Help inspire students to pursue STEM careers by registering to judge this year’s entries. Judges follow a rubric to review, score and provide feedback on business plans from students teams from around the globe. Visit the website for full details and to sign up. 



Call for Proposals: 2019 Future Investigator in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology

Audience: Higher Education Educators and Students

Proposal Deadline: Feb. 1, 2019


NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities for research grants to begin in the 2019-2020 academic year. Each proposal must identify a Masters or PhD student in Earth-and space-sciences as the participating future investigator. Project proposals may request up to a three-year period of performance. Visit the website for full details and proposal requirements.


Free Program—Cubes in SpaceTM

Audience: Students Ages 11-18 and Educator Mentors

Registration Deadline: Feb. 8, 2019


NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Langley Research Center, along with the Colorado Space Grant Consortium and idoodledu inc. are offering a free STEAM education program for students ages 11-18. Cubes in Space lets students design and compete to launch an experiment into space. Selected student-designed payload cubes will be launched via a sounding rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in late June 2019 or from a high-altitude scientific balloon from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in New Mexico in late August 2019.

A canister with Cubes in Space and NASA stickers on it


Illustration of Earth surrounded by arrows pointing toward its surface

Citizen Science Project: Earth Rotation Detector

Audience: Educators and Students


Use your smartphone to explore how Earth’s rotation affects surface gravity at different latitudes. The Earth Rotation Detector project lets you measure the acceleration of gravity at your location and share your data with NASA. Because Earth is rotating, at the equator centrifugal forces will make the local acceleration of gravity a bit weaker than at higher latitudes near the poles. Visit the site for a step-by-step guide on how to participate.



NASA Lucy Mission Student Collaboration: L’SPACE Academy—Level 1

Audience: Undergraduate Science and Engineering Students

Application Deadline: Jan. 12, 2019, by 11:59pm PST


NASA’s Lucy Mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids is currently accepting applications for its higher education student collaboration program—the Lucy Student Pipeline Accelerator and Competency Enabler (L’SPACE) Virtual Academy. This project-based, interactive program consists of two 12-week sessions and is designed to engage a diverse population of college/university science and engineering students in rigorous, team-based STEM workforce development that is based on NASA missions.

LUCY mission patch


Two researchers in a lab

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management—2019 Minority-Serving Institutions Partnership Program Internships

Audience: Full-time Undergraduate and Graduate Students at Accredited Minority-Serving Institutions

Application Deadline: Jan. 21, 2019


The U.S. Department of Energy Office (DOE) of Environmental Management is seeking applicants for 10-week summer internships at the Department of Energy's National Laboratories. Interns will complete research projects aligned with ongoing DOE efforts. Students also will be involved in enrichment activities that may include laboratory and site tours, professional development seminars, workshops and lectures. A stipend or salary will be provided. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's President’s Environmental Youth Award

Audience: K-12 Students

Application Deadline: Feb. 1, 2019


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s President’s Environmental Youth Award recognizes outstanding environmental projects by students in grades K-12. Submissions can include projects developed by individuals, school classes, summer camps, public interest groups and youth organizations. Winning projects have included a wide range of activities such as creating videos, skits and newsletters focused on environmental issues, recycling in schools and communities, restoring native habitats and planting trees.


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Check out the ‘Explore NASA Science’ website! Science starts with questions, leading to discoveries. Visit To view the site in Spanish, visit



Visit NASA STEM Engagement on the Web: 

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement:

For Educators: index.html

For Students: index.html

NASA Kids’ Club: