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The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Communications portfolio includes products, events, and programs aligned with priority areas identified by the federal Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (CoSTEM). This portfolio of activities engages audiences in the story, the science, and the adventure of NASA's scientific explorations of our home planet, the solar system, and the universe beyond.

This Projects Tab contains links to individual project descriptions, including overviews, audiences served, reports, evaluation information, contact information, websites, and other features, organized by CoSTEM goals. The list of projects can be narrowed using the filters on the left sidebar. Click on a project’s name to view details. View activities that have been completed.

These projects are applicable to Working with Diverse Audiences

Youth and Public Engagement
Undergraduate Student Experiences
Working with Diverse Audiences
Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA)

The Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors project is aimed to measurably enhance student STEM engagement and achievement in selected school districts via professional development for teachers consisting of: (1) STEM Professional Development in astrophysics and planetary science delivered via webinars & in-person workshops; (2) a week-long STEM immersion experience at NASA’s science research aircraft facility in Palmdale, California, including participation in research flights on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA); (3) follow-through involving continuing webinars fostering reflection and connections with astrophysics & planetary science subject matter experts. Impact on student STEM learning & engagement will be evaluated via a controlled protocol.

Chandra X-ray Observatory Education and Outreach Program

Chandra provides a multifaceted Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program encompassing press relations, public outreach and education that reaches a large and diverse audience of national and international scope. Chandra’s program plays a key role in NASA’s EPO portfolio, synthesizing and disseminating results from NASA’s exploration of the high-energy Universe into a broad suite of programs and activities focused on increasing science literacy and contributing to science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM) education. 


Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts:
• Create a new sequence of Girl Scout Space Science badges for all program levels, ages 5-18 • Develop Volunteer Tool Kit Space Science badge online support for girls and leaders • Provide Train-the-Trainer experiences for GSUSA leaders at authentic observatory and NASA sites • Enable a network of NASA SMEs and astronomy and space science volunteers (e.g. Night Sky Network) to connect with and support Girl Scouts • Offer GSUSA Destinations including 2017 total solar eclipse • Provide interactive experiences in person and online with NASA SMEs • Develop a sustainable relationship between NASA and GSUSA


The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) has trained nearly 1000 librarians and other community educators to bring Earth and space science and engineering to their youth programs through its Explore program. Over the course of its 15-year history, Explore has reached 35 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Explore was originally funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and has since grown to encompass NASA missions and ongoing science, as well as additional NSF projects. 


The purpose of the Fermi E/PO program is to increase student and public understanding of the science of the high-energy Universe, through inspiring, engaging and educational activities linked to the mission’s science objectives. The E/PO program has additional more general goals, including increasing the diversity of students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pipeline, and increasing public awareness and understanding of Fermi science and technology. Fermi’s multi-faceted E/PO program includes elements in each major outcome category:

Girl Scouts Earth Science Patch

 The CloudSat team also supports the development of new Girl Scout “Earth Science” Patches for Daises, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes. The objective of the CloudSat informal education programs is to provide a NASA mission-connected pathway to help learners better understand the nature of clouds and their role in Earth's atmospheric system.


The GLOBE Mission EARTH (GME) is embedding NASA assets into the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program and integrating it into the grades K-20 science and STEM curricula. GME is leveraging existing partnerships and networks and supported through state departments of education, as  a systemic, effective, and sustainable approach to meeting NASA’s science education objectives. 


The GRACE higher ed program provides summer research experiences, short workshops, seminars to early career scientists, pre-service education faculty and students underrepresented in Earth and Space Science. The project is carried out through SMD missions and competitively selected awardees working in partnership with higher education institutions. The objective is to deepen their understanding of SMD science and technology so they are better prepared to contribute to the STEM workforce and training of future educators.

High School Intern Program

 STEM Enhancement in Earth Science, or SEES, is a nationally competitive summer intern program for students in grades 10 and 11. NASA, the Texas Space Grant Consortium and The University of Texas at Austin Center for Space Research, or UT/CSR, have joined forces to provide this opportunity for high school students to increase their understanding of and interest in STEM careers.

Scientists and engineers at UT/CSR are conducting NASA-supported research in astronomy, remote sensing and space geodetic techniques to help understand Earth systems, natural hazards and climate science. The SEES project provides selected students with exposure to Earth and space research. Participants will learn how to interpret NASA satellite data while working with scientists and engineers in their chosen area of work.

Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the home of the Hubble Space Telescope and the future James Webb Space Telescope. E/PO programs for the Hubble and Webb space telescopes are designed to bring the wonders of the universe to the general public and the formal and informal education communities, and engage our target audiences in the adventure of scientific discovery.

LADEE: Navajo Tech Model Building

The Navajo Tech Model Building activity is a collaboration between LADEE and the Computer Aided Design and Modeling Program at Navajo Technical College. Students in the program learn to produce solid 3-D models of the LADEE spacecraft for use by the LADEE mission and its EPO programs. The faculty of Navajo Tech provides students with instruction on equipment, materials, software, and techniques for model building while LADEE provides spacecraft CAD files, a lunar science overview, and mission briefing.

MMS: NASA EDGE (Video Mission Updates/Career Interviews)

NASA EDGE is an unscripted, non-traditional video podcast or vodcast designed to highlight all things NASA in a unique and fun way. Built in the framework of sports talk radio (i.e. Mike and Mike in the Morning - ESPN Radio), NASA EDGE has generated a positive buzz for NASA in a way in which young teens and adults can relate. Produced vodcast segments will focus on a particular components of the MMS mission. For example, one segment might focus on the science instruments and another on the engineering design of the MMS satellite. In addition, the team will produced a series of 5min MMs career-based video clips that are promoted on the MMS YouTube channel, website and social media venues. In March 2015, NASA EDGE will produce a live webcast from the MMS launch site.

MMS: Space Math (Instructional Guide)

This guide uses examples from the MMS Mission to introduce mathematics in a real-world context to fifth through eighth graders. It is meant to help students learn about math utilizing the NASA MMS mission and be able to produce artifacts that can be shared with their peers and with their families. The main area of mathematics covered in this guide is geometry. The guide focuses on two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometry to assist students in developing spatial skills. There are also some activities that involve algebra and computational skills.


STEAM Camp - Dublin ISD piloted the MMS Challenge during the summer STEAM camp of 2012 and hosted a NASA national student summit in April of 2012 to help generate excitement about NASA’s MMS mission. Student experiences included hosting a digital art, physics, and robotics exhibition. Although Dublin ISD is a small and rural school, the impact of DISD STEAM camp led to an after school robotics program during the fall of 2012. The NASA MMS Challenge was piloted in Dublin ISD during the spring of 2012 and during Dublin ISD’s STEAM 2012 camp. The program was featured at ASCD 2012 fall conference, ISTE 2012, TCEA 2013, and was showcased at SITE 2013 and ISTE 2013. This program provides Dublin ISD and NASA the opportunity to extend on the previous experiences to focus on solar renewable energy and to pilot a fabrication unit to build academic vocabulary relating to renewable energies, solar weather, and magnetic space topics. The objective is to increase students’ interest in the MMS mission and science. The evaluation was the spinoff programs offered by the district as a strong indicator of student interest.

MOU American Camp Association

A memorandum of understanding between NASA and the American Camp Association went into effect November 30, 2012. It is the intent of NASA to provide printed and Internet-accessible material and information to be disseminated to youth utilizing the ACA capabilities. Through this partnership, NASA will:

  • broaden the STEM-related educational resources that are available to the camp community,
  • promote ACA and ACA-resources to broader audiences,
  • enhance professional development opportunities for camp professionals.

This cross-forum effort is being led by the Planetary Science Forum.

NAI: Montana Native American Outreach (MSU)

This project hosts three science days during the school year at three elementary schools in the St. Labre school system (nearly 100% Native American from the nearby Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations) in eastern Montana.  Its purpose is to expose elementary students underrepresented in STEM to astrobiology science and careers. Teachers and students conducted three pre-lessons, the science day, and a post-lesson to evaluate  the value of the interaction.  

NASA All-Stars

NASA All-Stars is a summer STEM research experience for teams of students, teachers, and librarians from Chicago-area public, private, and parochial schools.  Assisted by program staff, four experienced teacher-mentors, and scientists from the Astronomy & Astrophysics Center, teams undertake authentic research projects using astronomical data as they discover astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum.  The program makes use of our Multiwavelength Astronomy website, which presents the history, science, tools, and impact of astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum, through story-based lessons told by scientists who are pioneers in their field.  The story-based lessons include personal accounts of scientists' early life, education, and career to highlight the various pathways into the scientific enterprise.  NASA All-Stars program elements include small-group, hands-on activities led by teacher-mentors, labs and demonstrations provided by scientists, Skype sessions with scientist-contributors the Multiwavelength Astronomy website, tours of campus and the University libraries, and presentations by college bridge and admissions staff.  Students who participate in the program receive a computing device for reading lessons, doing research, presenting their work, and blogging.  The blogging is an important component of the program for documenting students' experience.  Each student also receives a family membership to the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum.


The purpose of the NuSTAR E/PO program is to increase student and public understanding of the science of the high-energy Universe, through a multi-faceted education and outreach program that capitalizes on the synergy of existing high-energy astrophysics E/PO programs to support the mission’s objectives. Science content goals of the E/PO program are aligned with mission science goals and include: Facilitate understanding of the nature of collapsed objects; Develop awareness of the role of supernovae in creating the chemical elements ; Facilitate understanding of the physical properties of the extreme Universe. The E/PO program has additional more general goals, including increasing the diversity of students in the STEM pipeline, and increasing public awareness and understanding of the NuSTAR science and technology program. 

Rosetta Native American Initiative

The ROSETTA education and public outreach (E/PO) informal efforts include work with Native American Reservation Educators and Administrators to bring space and planetary science to Native American communities. The ROSETTA team is working with Reservation Educators and Administrators to bring together Tribal Elders and First Speakers to better understand the community needs and concerns in planetary and space science through language preservation. Rosetta Project Scientist and Education Lead continue to work with Native Americans using language to introduce STEM Education and activities in the classroom.  This fiscal year we will work closely with Reservation Educators and Administrators to bring together Tribal Elders and First Speakers to better understand the community needs and concerns in Planetary and Space Science through language preservation.

Solar Week

A twice-yearly week of online games, activities  and curriculum about the Sun for middle school and early high school students.  There is a special emphasis on engaging girls in science, but students of both genders are welcome. There is also an interactive element where students can ask questions of leading solar scientists (who are all female) on an online bulletin board. Solar Week takes place each fall and spring, during the latter parts of October and March.

Tactile Astronomy

Tactile Astronomy supports efforts in bringing the wonders of the universe to everyone, regardless of their visual ability. This section of the Amazing Space website features "Images of the Month" — a collection of the latest Hubble images that can be printed in a tactile format.  The images are specifically designed to be downloaded and printed on a thermal paper expansion machine, thus allowing the visually impaired to feel what they cannot see. 

Total Solar Eclipse: Live from the U.S.A

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the U.S.A. The glorious sight of the fully eclipsed sun will be visible along a 60-mile-wide path arching from Oregon to South Carolina. Millions of people are expected to travel to this “path of totality” to watch as the moon entirely covers the face of the sun.

People in the rest of the country will experience a partial eclipse. For those who can’t make it to the path, the Exploratorium, with our NASA partners, will be filming the event from two different locations and sharing it with the world by live stream. Audiences can join us on this website, by mobile phone, or at special events in the museum and other institutions across the globe.

Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) Solicitation: NNH15ZDA010C

Through a pilot cooperative agreement notice or CAN the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the Office of Education (OE) National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant) awarded more than $8 million through the competitively selected Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) to 47 teams of undergraduate students to conduct hands-on flight research. 8 SMD cooperative agreements shared $550,000 in total with award sizes ranging from $50,000-$100,000. Space Grant awards averaged $200,000 for each of 39 cooperative agreements. In addition, SMD and OE plan to cover the cost of government-furnished launch and other services described in the 2015 USIP CAN NNH15ZDA010C available at:{FABD5D3A-878E-A99F-5D05-87AAD356CC9E}&path=closedPast

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), in Wallops Island, Virginia, leads technical and scientific reviews for the 47 teams planning to fly on suborbital and orbital vehicle platforms, such as CubeSats, aircraft, sounding rockets, and balloons. In addition, USIP CubeSats are part of the larger NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative  or CSLI managed by the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. CSLI provides opportunities for small satellite payloads built by universities, high schools and non-profit organizations to fly on upcoming launches. For more CSLI information visit:

Prior to the collaborative CAN NNH15ZDA010C pilot  involving WFF, HEO and OE, SMD's did a proof-of-concept CAN numbered NNH13ZDA004N that resulted in 10 awards. A copy of the first USIP CAN and the selection abstracts can be downloaded from:{0C22969D-FD8F-1AEB-CBFB-5DAACA749452}&path=closedPast

CAN NNH15ZDA010C's 47 project titles and list of awarded higher education institutions can found at:

The 39 Space Grant funded abstracts are located on the Office of Education's website at:

The 8 SMD-funded abstracts are in a PDF that may be downloaded from the section of this page entitled:

Please upload any program element / activity documents (reports, publications, or other) to share with the Public, Community, and SMD


Van Allen Probes: Girl Power STEM Expo

Girl Power is an annual STEM expo for middle and high school girls exploring careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics hosed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the event is free and open to the public.  The one day event is designed to attract and retain girls in STEM fields, stressing that women are making a difference, changing the world, and transforming the future.  Van Allen Probes E/PO staff, scientists and engineers host a booth at the event, and discuss the science and engineering of this Sun-Earth mission.  Girl Power features hands-on activities and challenges, cool demonstrations, workshops, and take-home material.  Girls have the opportunity to talk with professional women in STEM careers such as aerospace, computer science, electrical engineering, geology, information technology, and space mission engineering, cyber awareness; college and career presentations are provided.  Girl Power is in alignment with the goal of “developing and providing transformative STEM outreach opportunities that help prepare our future workforce to be problem solvers and thought leaders who have the ability to make critical contributions both locally and globally”.