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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 STEM Instruction

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

The Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors project aims to measurably enhance student STEM achievement & engagement in selected school districts via professional development for teachers consisting of: (1) astrophysics & planetary science content & pedagogy 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 connections with astrophysics & planetary science subject matter experts. AAA impact on student STEM learning & engagement is evaluated by WestEd.

Amazing Space STEM Projects Website

This site serves as a repository of current and future STEM opportunities available from the Space Telescope Science Institute.  Currently, the site features overviews of the Hubble Space Telescope Student ERO Pilot Project and the James Webb STEM Innovation Project. The site will be updated with additional information and opportunities over time.

Amazing Space Website

This award-winning website includes a comprehensive collection of standards-based, space science education materials. Site visitors can explore a variety of resources such as A Hubble Gallery, Online Explorations, Tonight’s Sky, and Star Witness News science content readings. The “For Educators” side of the site includes support materials such as science background information and overview pages that provide strategies for using Amazing Space activities in educational settings.


Astro-H is an X-ray observatory, scheduled for launch in 2015, that will explore extreme phenomena such as black holes, supernovae explosions, and clusters of galaxies. Astro-H is Japan's sixth X-ray astronomy mission, and is being developed at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA) with significant collaboration from U.S. (NASA/GSFC) and Japanese institutions. The Astro-H Education and Public Outreach portfolio will include elements to cover a range of audiences from formal and informal to outreach to the general public.

Astronomy Summer School of East Texas (ASSET)

ASSET is a summer workshop program for grades 6 - 12 in-service and pre-service science teachers from academically underachieving school districts. ASSET will instruct teachers on how to convey the nature of science to their students, as well as cover astronomy concepts, using NASA data. Each year 15 teachers will be selected from a group of applicants to participate in a two-week astronomy workshop. They will be instructed on the use of a number of lesson modules that incorporate NASA data, in a format that will allow them easily incorporate the material into their classroom lesson plans.


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:

Galileo Educator Network

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific and partner organizations are carrying out the "Galileo Educator Network" project, creating distributed and leveraged professional development nationwide with the primary goals to: (1) Help teacher educators and teacher professional development providers engage and educate teachers of astronomy (and general science), especially in grades 3-9, using effective instructional strategies and educational resources, with engaging and inspiring content; and (2) Promote the effective use of NASA-developed and NASA-supported resources by teacher educators and teacher professional development providers, through integration of astronomy/space science content with Galileo-inspired science inquiry and exploration

HEASARC Education and Public Outreach Program

Using data in the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) archive, scientists throughout the world study black holes, stars, supernovae, and the big bang. Through its Education and Public Outreach program, the HEASARC brings these objects to teachers and students using our Imagine the Universe! and StarChild websites, print materials, and educator workshops. 


IMPRESS-Ed provides an enriching STEM-oriented summer research experience in the space, earth, and atmospheric sciences for pre-service K-12 educators. This project is designed to give future teachers specialized training in research techniques in the physical sciences, in pedagogical techniques for teaching science, and to provide participants with an authentic research experience. Students participate in a two-week common module composed of interactive lectures and activities followed by a mentored research experience with physics faculty conducting research related to NASA missions.

James Webb STEM Innovation Project (SIP)

This standards-based, interdisciplinary STEM project focuses on the engineering aspects and potential science of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) while incorporating elements of project-based learning. It allows students to apply STEM processes, answer scientific questions, and develop cooperative learning skills. The SIP is underway in all 50 states and we are recruiting additional schools to participate.

Kepler Education and Public Outreach Program

Most of the products of Kepler E/PO and the resources we use in our presentations and teacher workshops are freely available on the Kepler website (  These include:



Computer Interactives:

Planetarium shows:

Presentation archive:

The Arts:

Media Galleries:

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. 

Physics of the Cosmos and Cosmic Origins

The overall strategy of Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) and Cosmic Origins (COR) Education and Public Outreach is to infuse PCOS and COR science topics into established programs, as well as develop new projects to reach audiences from formal and informal education and the general public.

Space Forensics

NASA's Space Forensics project takes students in formal and informal education settings through astronomy problem-solving narratives that parallel crime scene forensics. Each standards-aligned Space Forensics case fuses STEM and literacy, using mystery narratives and hands-on activities to take students through the process of scientific problem-solving. This approach tells the story of "doing science" and meets educators' needs for resources that encourage reading, writing, and speaking outside of the English Language Arts classroom.

Space Telescope Professional Development Program

The Space Telescope professional development program is designed to support the needs of formal and informal educators and enhance educators’ science content and pedagogical knowledge. Scientist and educator teams present STEM topics and the latest educational research, while emphasizing real-world connections. The purpose is to share information about the James Webb Space Telescope mission, support the teaching of standards-based science, and incorporate Hubble discoveries into educational settings.

X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission - Newton

Synergistically combining resources from several other high-energy X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy missions, the XMM-Newton E/PO program from 2003-2010 was aligned with all three of NASA’s Education Outcomes. Outcome 1: We have contributed to the development of the STEM workforce by working with dozens of students at the community college and university levels in partnership with SSU’s new MESA Engineering program and similar programs at other local community colleges. We have also engaged dozens of high school and college students in authentic XMM-inspired research experiences through our Global Telescope Network. Outcome 2: We have attracted and worked to retain hundreds of underserved students in STEM disciplines through after-school programs in partnership with local schools, where we use NASA-approved products to enhance science and technology education. We have also trained thousands of K-12 teachers with our highly popular and NASA-approved formal educational products. Outcome 3: We have built strategic partnerships with informal education providers to promote STEM literacy and awareness of NASA’s mission, inspiring tens of thousands of the public and young people through multi-media presentations, websites and the Night Sky Network and bringing exciting XMM-Newton mission science to diverse audiences.

Beginning in 2010, due to significant reductions in the XMM-Newton E/PO program budget, we have chosen to strategically focus our efforts on highly-leveraged and demonstrably successful activities, including the wide-reaching Astrophysics Educator Ambassador program, and our popular website Epo’s Chronicles. We have also continued to make major contributions working collaboratively through the Astrophysics Science Education and Public Outreach Forum (SEPOF) on identified high-need activities: the on-line educator professional development course “NASA’s Multiwavelength Universe” and the Astro 4 Girls program.