In This Newsletter Issue

NASA EXPRESS February 27, 2020

February 27, 2020


"We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and will go away, but there will always be science, engineering and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics." -- Katherine Johnson, 1918-2020

Katherine Johnson: An American Hero


Check out the latest NASA opportunities for the education community.

New Moon to Mars: Educator Guides Focus on Orion, Space Launch System and Gateway

Audience: Educators of Grades 6-8

Celebrate Digital Learning Day today with three Moon-to-Mars-themed educator guides! Recently released, these guides focus on NASA’s efforts to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. Explore Orion, the spacecraft that will shepherd astronauts on their journey with “Crew Transportation With Orion.” Learn about America’s most powerful rocket with “Propulsion With Space Launch System.” Discover the Gateway, NASA’s new habitat that will orbit the Moon, with “Habitation With Gateway.”

Each guide includes four activities that are aligned to today's education standards. Whether your students are building an orbital docking system, creating a multi-stage rocket or designing a space habitat, these modules will bring the Artemis program into your classroom!

All About Leap Day!

Audience: Educators and Students in Grades 3-8


Leap Day is coming up!

This year, February has 29 days instead of 28. That extra day is leap day, and 2020 is a leap year! Why do we have leap years? Your friends at NASA Space Place explain all things leap year in our latest article. Check it out!

Educators, try this math problem set for upper-elementary and middle-school students to get them doing the math for themselves.


Solar System Exploration: Teaching Observation and Interference Through Geologic Images

Audience: Educators of Grades K-12

Event Date: March 9 at 5 p.m. EDT


Join the NASA STEM Engagement & Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Learn about activities that introduce students to geologic processes on Earth and explain how to identify geologic features in images. Discover how scientists use Earth to understand other planetary bodies in the solar system better. Online registration is required.


Moon to Mars: Mission, Resources and Digital Badges Overview

Audience: Educators of Grades K-12

Event Date: March 10 at 6 p.m. EDT


Join the NASA STEM Engagement & Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. This webinar begins with an overview of NASA’s Artemis program—the new lunar exploration program under the broader Moon to Mars exploration theme. The second part of the webinar will cover the educational resources associated with the Artemis program—activity guides, student challenges and educator training opportunities. Participants will also get an overview of newly released digital badges for educators and students. Online registration is required.


NASA Commercial Crew Program: Mission and STEM Resource Overview

Audience: Educators of Grades K-12

Event Date: March 11 at 6 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Engagement & Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is the next phase in space transportation, enabling industry to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. Learn about the companies, the vehicles, the crew and the STEM classroom resources related to the Commercial Crew Program. Online registration is required.


Explore Solar System and Beyond: Investigating Strange New Worlds

Audience: Educators of Grades 6-12

Event Date: March 12 at 6 p.m. EDT


Join the NASA STEM Engagement & Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Learn to use real NASA data to explore how telescopes—especially the Kepler and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) space telescopes—search for planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun. The NASA STEM activities presented investigate how to use telescope data and Kepler’s Third Law to interpret data and to construct graphs to determine if a planet beyond our solar system is Earth-like. Online registration is required.


Library of Congress 2020 Summer Institutes—Teaching With Primary Sources

Audience: K-12 Educators

Application Deadline: March 23

Institute Dates: Multiple Dates in June-July


The Library of Congress is accepting applications for its summer institutes for K-12 educators. Educators and school librarians of all grade levels and subject areas are encouraged to apply. During each five-day institute, participants work with Library of Congress education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn how to use primary sources in the classroom effectively while exploring digitized historical artifacts and documents on the library’s website. Tuition and materials are free.


Celebrate Solar Week—Spring 2020

Audience: Educators and Students in Grades 5-9, Informal Educators

Event Date: March 23-27


Solar Week provides a series of educational web activities focusing on the Sun-Earth connection. Students ages 11-14 can learn about solar careers, sunspots, solar energy and solar storms. Explore the website to find cool facts, scavenger hunts, games and an online interactive discussion board where your class or group can submit a question to leading solar scientists. During the week, students will be able to take part in a 30-minute live youth-oriented webinar for even more interaction with a chosen scientist.

Spring 2020 will feature a look at the exciting high-resolution close-ups of the Sun from the Inouye Telescope. And with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe exploring the Sun like no mission before, it creates exciting times for Sun-related science!


Mechanical Maker Challenge—Exploring Hell: Avoiding Obstacles on a Clockwork Rover

Audience: U.S. Residents Ages 18 and Older

Submission Deadline: May 29


With its sulfuric acid clouds, temperatures over 842 degrees Fahrenheit (450 degrees Celsius) and surface pressure 92 times that of Earth, Venus is one of the most hostile planetary environments in the solar system. Most electrical components do not survive long in these conditions, but NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, hopes to build an automaton (or clockwork mechanical robot) rover to explore Venus. This challenge seeks innovative ideas for a mechanical obstacle-detection sensor that could operate under the harsh conditions of Venus. A prize purse totaling $30,000 will be distributed to the top 3 finalists. 



Explore Space Technology: Engineering Design 101

Audience: Educators of Grades K-12

Event Date: Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Engagement & Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Find ways to explore the engineering design process in your classroom and its application to real-world problem-solving. Also, learn more about NASA design challenges and other NASA STEM classroom resources. Engineering design is a common core idea across each grade level in the Next Generation Science Standards and an important concept in understanding the world. Online registration is required.


Cosmic Fireworks: Make Your Own Festive Galaxy With NASA's Astrophoto Challenges

Audience: Public

Entry Deadline: Feb. 29


Join NASA's Universe of Learning for an exciting opportunity to use real astronomical data and tools to create your own beautiful image of the iconic starburst galaxy M82. Capture your own real-time telescope image of M82 using the MicroObservatory robotic telescope network, or work with an archived set of NASA data files of M82 taken with four multiwavelength space telescope missions: Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer and Galex. NASA experts may comment on creations highlighted as standout entries.


NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowships

Audience: Graduate Students and Ph.D. Scientists

Application Deadlines: March 1, July 1 and Nov. 1


The NASA Postdoctoral Program offers early career and senior scientists one- to three-year work assignments with NASA scientists and engineers. Opportunities relate to missions in Earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics, space bioscience, aeronautics, engineering, human exploration and space operations, astrobiology and science management. Applicants must have completed a doctorate or an equivalent degree before beginning the fellowship, but they may apply while completing degree requirements.


2019-20 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Audience: Grades K-6 Educators

Nomination Deadline: March 1, 2020


The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest recognition that a teacher of K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S. Anyone may nominate exceptional teachers, or teachers may apply directly. The nomination deadline for primary school teachers (grades K-6) is March 1, 2020. Secondary school teachers (grades 7-12) are eligible to apply for the 2020-21 competition.


Summer Institute—LiftOff 2020: Moon to Mars

Audience: Educators of Grades 5-12

Application Deadline: March 2

Institute Dates: June 21-26


The 2020 LiftOff Summer Institute is a weeklong training event sponsored by NASA's Texas Space Grant Consortium, and held at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. This year’s theme is "Moon to Mars." Attendees will explore NASA’s plans to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon, using what we learn there as a stepping stone to exploring Mars. Participants will attend presentations by NASA scientists and engineers, tour NASA facilities and receive hands-on, inquiry-based classroom activities aligned to education standards. Applicants must be U.S. citizens currently employed as classroom teachers of grades 5-12, with at least one year of teaching experience prior to the institute.


U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Storage Internship Program

Audience: Undergraduate and Graduate Students, Recent Graduates

Application Deadline: March 2


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is seeking applicants for its Energy Storage Internship Program. Participants get 10 weeks of hands-on, practical experience at U.S. national laboratories conducting research related to the development of newer chemistries, battery designs and manufacturing processes needed to usher in changes in energy storage.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and be an undergraduate junior or senior, graduate or recent postgraduate of an accredited institute of higher education. Stipends and travel allowance are provided.


Department of Homeland Security’s Professional Opportunities for Student Workforce to Experience Research

Audience: Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Application Deadline: March 2


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking applications from students interested in participating in 10 weeks of quality research experiences at federal research facilities. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old and majoring in a STEM field with interest in homeland security research. Students chosen to participate will receive stipends, housing allowance and travel reimbursements.


Small Steps to Giant Leaps: Fantastic Forces

Audience: Educators of Grades K-12

Event Date: March 3 at 6 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Engagement & Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Participants will get an overview of the newly released “Fantastic Forces” activity. Learn about a series of demonstrations focusing on the forces of flight. The demonstrations test different materials and shapes to determine which are most and least susceptible to lift, weight, drag and thrust. We will look back at the history of X-planes and NASA aeronautical research while also looking forward to the future of NASA aeronautics innovation. Online registration is required.


Art and the Cosmic Connection

Audience: Educators of Grades K-12

Event Date: March 4 at 6 p.m. EST


Join the NASA STEM Engagement & Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for a free 60-minute webinar. Take a journey into the solar system and beyond to learn about activities that bring art into the STEM classroom. The NASA STEAM activity “Art and The Cosmic Connection” will be featured during this webinar. Online registration is required.


Endeavor Webinar: Chemistry in the STEM Classroom

Audience: All Educators

Event Date: March 4 at 8 p.m. EDT


Join the Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project team for a free webinar featuring senior food scientist Xulei Wu from the Space Food Systems Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Wu leads freeze-drying production at Johnson and conducts research and development work to guarantee the safety, nutrition and palatability of space food. Her specialty is in sensory evaluation, freeze-drying technology, low-moisture food and shelf-life study.


2020 RASC-AL Competition

Audience: Full-time Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Entry Deadline: March 5


The 2020 RASC-AL competition invites university teams to develop new concepts that leverage innovations for NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program and future human missions to Mars in one of five themes: South Pole Multi-purpose Rover; International Space Station as a Mars Mission Analog; Short Surface Stay Mars Mission; Commercial Cislunar Space Development; and Autonomous Utilization and Maintenance for Science Payloads on the Gateway and/or Mars Deep Space Transport. Up to 15 teams will be chosen to present their concepts at the June 2020 RASC-AL Forum.


NASA Internships

Audience: High School, Undergraduate, Graduate Students

Application Deadline:

Summer 2020—March 8


Being an astronaut isn’t the only cool thing about space. NASA interns use their creativity and innovation to work on projects that impact NASA’s mission, like sending the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024. As a NASA intern, you’ll be a part of an amazing team dedicated to the advancement of space exploration. You will work alongside leading experts and gain valuable experience by advancing research and projects to the next level. Come dream with us and let’s change the future together.


NASA Postdoctoral Program Seeks Volunteer Reviewers

Audience: Subject Matter Experts at Least Three Years Past Their Ph.D.


NASA is seeking qualified experts to review applications for the NASA Postdoctoral Program. Reviewers are matched with proposals based on an online self-evaluation. No travel is required. Typically, two weeks are provided to complete the self-evaluation and an additional two to three weeks for any assigned reviews. Eligible reviewers receive an honorarium of $50 per review and $250 for participation in a virtual panel.

Reviewers must have completed their doctoral degrees at least three years before registering. Research areas include aeronautics, engineering, astrobiology, astrophysics, biological sciences, cosmochemistry, Earth science, heliophysics, interdisciplinary science, planetary science and technology development.

If interested in being a reviewer, visit to create an account.



GLOBE Mission Mosquito Webinar—Better Together: Mosquito Habitat Mapper and Land Cover

Audience: All Formal and Informal Educators

Webinar Date: March 10 at 2 p.m. EDT


Teachers worldwide are using the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program’s Mission Mosquito tool, and team leaders are finding that along with temperature and precipitation information, land cover data is proving to be an important environmental parameter in disease risk modeling. Join the GLOBE Mission Mosquito team for a free webinar to hear from Pedar Nelson and Rusty Low about how and why collecting land cover and mosquito habitat mapper observations are a nice pairing of information. Register online. 


Endeavor Webinar: The Arts in STEM—Advancing Meaningful Integration

Audience: All Educators

Event Date: March 10 at 8 p.m. EDT


Join the Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project team for a free webinar featuring Robonaut Deputy Project Manager Jonathan Rogers of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Rogers focuses on the development of robotic technologies for advancing human spaceflight. He previously developed a robotically assisted spacesuit glove and has most recently led a team to repair, upgrade and return Robonaut to the International Space Station.


Student Spaceflight Experiments Program—Mission 15 to the International Space Station

Audience: School Districts Serving Grades 5-12, Informal Education Institutions, Colleges and Universities

Inquiry Deadline: March 27

Start Date: Sept. 1


The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education announce Mission 15 to the International Space Station, a community engagement initiative in STEM. In each participating community, one proposed student experiment is selected to fly in low-Earth orbit on the space station. For pre-college grades 5-12, each community is expected to engage at least 300 students in real microgravity experiment design and proposal writing. For an undergraduate community, it is expected that at least 30 students will be engaged. Interested communities must inquire about the program no later than March 27.



2020-21 Virginia Space Grant Consortium STEM Bridge Scholarships

Audience: Undergraduate Students at Virginia Space Grant Consortium Member Institutions Listed Below. Minority students are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Deadline: March 13


The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is offering renewable scholarships of $1,000 to undergraduate students studying STEM. The STEM Bridge Scholarships are available to students who are U.S. citizens and are enrolled full time at The College of William and Mary, Hampton University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia or Virginia Tech. Scholarships are awarded for the academic year following application. Applicants must be classified as sophomores during the 2020-21 academic year.


2020-21 Virginia Space Grant Consortium Community College STEM Scholarship

Audience: Virginia Community College Freshmen

Application Deadline: March 13


The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is offering $2,000 scholarships to students at schools in the Virginia Community College System. Applicants must be majoring in a STEM field, and be interested in pursuing a career that supports NASA’s mission, including careers in the aerospace sector. Applicants must be U.S. citizens. Scholarships are awarded for the students’ sophomore year.


Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science (SPOCS)

Audience: College Students

Proposal Deadline: March 27


The International Space Station remains the sole space-based proving ground for reaching the Moon in 2024 through NASA’s Artemis program. To celebrate 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station, NASA STEM on Station will fund five payloads to the space station, including return, through the Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science (SPOCS). This opportunity is co-designed and executed through NanoRacks, who will provide payload integration support and training.

Teams of students will propose experiments related to bacteria resistance or sustainability research, topics that are critical not only to the space station but also to future exploration. Selected teams are expected to involve K-12 students as citizen scientists in a substantial part of their experiment and conduct educational outreach activities.


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