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Fruit Flies go into Space

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

FlyHey, kids! Find out why NASA is sending real fruit flies into space. You’ll know whether fruit flies are going into space for a Martian vacation, or to make an alien fruit fly drink that will produce report cards that your parents like, or if NASA’s scientists and future explorers will use the fruit flies to study humans.

Once you find out the answer, you can participate in Flies in Space web chats, which will be live chats where you can ask questions in English on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 between 9-10:00 a.m. (PDT) or in Spanish between 10-11:00 a.m (PDT). If you happen to be in school during this time, questions may be placed into the chat rooms early, and if answered will appear in the archive later that day.

I know you're dying to know when the flies are leaving to space. So, I'll tell you: they are going onboard the space shuttle mission STS-121 in July 2006. Mark your calendar. Have Fun!

For more information and answers to questions visit NASA's Flies in Space website.

Become a NASA Teacher-Mentor!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Airspace Systems Education Cohort (ASEC). Educators selected for this opportunity will attend a 3-day institute at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA July 19-23, 2006. This institute will engage participants in scientific inquiry at the leading edge of education and technology and prepare them to share their experiences with students and colleagues. Go to the NASA Quest website and follow the link for Airspace Systems Education Cohort. Application Deadline: Postmarked by March 31, 2006. Notification will be mailed the week of April 24, 2006.

Space Fans Surf Mars

Thursday, March 16, 2006

No need to pack your bags, acquire driver’s license or get insurance. Interplanetary explorers and space fans now have Google Mars and are in for a good tour. They can view geographical features on Mars with a click of their mouse on maps provided to Google by NASA.

The images were captured by NASA’s Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor, probes that are currently orbiting Mars. In collaboration with NASA researchers at Arizona State University, Google created scientific maps of Mars. Interplanetary explorers can see the planet using three different types of maps: The shaded relief map shows elevation and was generated with data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft; it is color-coded by altitude. The Visible map consists of a mosaic of images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, and finally there is a mosaic of infrared images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft where warmer areas appear brighter, and colder areas are darker. Clouds and dust in the atmosphere are transparent in the infrared.

Users can zoom in on any of the three maps to view geographical features such as mountains, canyons, dunes and craters. The maps also pinpoint the locations of unmanned space probes that have landed on Mars and mark the sites of previous unmanned missions to Mars, including the final landing site of the British probe Beagle 2, which launched in 2003 but failed on landing.

To whom do space enthusiasts owe this honor? The site was launched to celebrate the 151st anniversary of the birth of Percival Lowell, an astronomer who mapped and studied Mars in the 19th century, and is a joint collaboration between Google and NASA.

More:Google Mars