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Fourth Annual International Planetary Probe Workshop

Monday, June 5, 2006

June 27 - June 30, 2006
Pasadena, California USA
Late Registration Deadline June 19

IPPW-4, the Fourth International Planetary Probe Workshop, is devoted to robotic exploration of planets with atmospheres through the use of entry probes, aerial platforms and the technologies of aeroassist. The workshop brings together planetary scientists, engineers and technologists with an interest in entry descent and flight in planetary and satellite atmospheres. This includes the major planets - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - with their bottomless atmospheric oceans and Mars, Venus and Saturn's moon Titan which have solid surfaces accessible to scientific investigation. The workshop will feature keynote addresses by leading researchers as well as invited and contributed papers.
The workshop will be preceded on June 25-26, 2006, by a two-day short course "In Situ Instruments for Planetary Probes and Aerial Platforms," designed to further the workshop goals.

More information: Fourth Annual International Planetary Probe Workshop

Lunar Outpost Design Challenge

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mark your calendars: Coming this fall, students will be challenged to design systems that will support living and working on the Moon. The challenge will be to design a combination of facilities that support arriving precisely, living adaptively and working efficiently that will make exploration possible on the Moon and can protect both the explorers and the Moon from contamination. As usual with Quest Challenges, students will work on these authentic problems under the watchful eye of NASA experts.

Join us as we begin with registration in September and finish with a webcast in early December. A website is available at with a growing list of reading material that will help you get started. If you have any questions, please write to:

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

March 12 Workshop on Public Understanding of Planetary Science

Friday, February 17, 2006

You are invited to participate in a one-day workshop, "Public Understanding of Planetary Science," on Sunday, March 12, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, in conjunction with the 37th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Presentations will explore how the media portrays our solar system and beyond, results from recent surveys of the public’s understanding of planetary science, and what research tells us about the best way to present science – and tackle misconceptions. During interactive sessions participants will identify misconceptions and discuss strategies for effectively sharing planetary science information with the public.

The workshop is hosted by the South Central Organization of Researchers and Educators and the Structure and Evolution of the Universe Forum, part of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s Education Support Network. The workshop is intended to bring together scientists and educators to inform these communities about - and address issues in - space science education.

Scientists and E/PO leads are invited and encouraged to participate. The workshop is free. Attendees must register using the workshop registration form at:

A limited number of travel grants are available. For more information, please contact Stephanie Shipp at 281-486-2109,

Women Working on Mars: What Do Engineers Do?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In honor of "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day," February 23, 2006, the Mars Public Engagement program and NASA's Robotics Alliance Project are hosting a webcast for young people interested in robotics and engineering;10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time .

Do you know what engineers do? Ever wonder about all the different kinds of engineering? Learn more by tuning in to the Women Working on Mars webcast!

Students will see and hear from a diverse group of women engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The 40-minute production will highlight aninside look at what they thought! about engineering when they were young and what they do now as professional engineers. A live audience and e-mail link will provide many questions for the panelists - you can even email in your own questions and have them answered during the show.

Following the shows, log on to our live web chat and ask your questions directly of women engineers working at NASA!

More: Women Working on Mars: What Do Engineers Do?

Wanted: Teachers to Evaluate New NASA Education Product

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

NASA Smart Skies solicits teachers to classroom test LineUp With Math, its newest standards-based math and science instructional activity. Math and science teachers representing grades 5-9 are invited to evaluate the web-based and print-based materials during March and April 2006.

LineUp With Math enables students to explore and resolve distance-rate-time conflicts in realistic air traffic control problems using decision-making and proportional reasoning skills. Students use a web-based interactive simulator that represents an air traffic controller's screen. Acting as controllers, students are challenged to "line up" planes safely, with proper spacing, at a given intersection of jet routes. Accompanying work books and classroom activities provide the underlying mathematics and strategies to enable students to optimize their solutions.

More: Teachers to Evaluate New NASA Education Product

Subject: NASA Mission Educator Fellowship Opportunity

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Announcement of Opportunity to become a MESSENGER Educator Fellow: MESSENGER is a NASA Discovery mission that was launched in 2004 and will reach Mercury in 2011. We are recruiting 30 practicing teachers or teacher trainers to become the next cadre of MESSENGER Educator Fellows. These Fellowshelp bring the excitement of this challenging mission to classrooms nationwide by training teachers on the Solar System-focused education materials written in support of the mission. The Fellowship includes an all-expense paid five-day training workshop in Washington, DC, in June 2006.

We would like to request you to please pass on this Announcement of Opportunity to appropriate candidates in your organization, as well as any other interested parties of which you might be aware. This is a national Announcement of Opportunity, and we wish the word to reach as wide an audience as possible to help make the candidate pool, and, therefore, the next cadre of Fellows, as strong as possible. Applications are due March 31, 2006.

More:Announcement of Fellowship Opportunity

Mars Educator Workshops

Thursday, February 2, 2006


Image Credit: 450x587

February 25, 2006: ASU Mars Education Program has great guest speakers and workshops coming up in Tempe, Arizona this month. There are applications, deadlines, and low cost associated with these, therefore, if you're interested, certainly you must soon "beam up Scotty," otherwise sign up.

Overview of Institute, Field Trip and Hands-on Workshop:This institute will have three main educational goals for teachers:
1) To help teachers understand the process of science (using current Mars exploration as the primary example);
2) To show how scientists can compare rocks and minerals on terrestrial planets (such as Earth and Mars) to learn about the history of the planet; and
3) To highlight the methods in which scientists can interpret data they collect through remote sensing methods (e.g., spacecraft at Mars).Dr. Phil Christensen will be leading this institute and is a proponent of connecting space scientists and educators together to create unique, world-class learning experiences. Join us for an extraordinary time of immersive learning that you can share with your students!

NASA/ASU Mars Educator Workshop Inspiring the Next Generation:
What They Need to Know To Go

Learn how to integrate current science into your curricular materials. Special Mars Mission guest speakers will be Dr. Mark Adler from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Dr. Phil Christensen from the Mars Space Flight Facility at ASU. All materials presented in the workshop are Standards-based and relate to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. These activities and materials can be used for interdisciplinary lessons as well. Join us for a great day of fun, classroom-friendly, hands-on activities. You won’t want to miss this workshop! Invite a friend!

More: NASA/ASU Teacher Institute and Mars Hands on Workshop