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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 SMD Education and Communications Activity Overviews and Impacts

Youth and Public Engagement
Undergraduate Student Experiences
Working with Diverse Audiences
Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment

The overarching goals of this program are to exploit NASA’s unique position to provide top-notch training and education and to engage and motivate youth to follow STEM careers while simultaneously increasing public awareness and public support for NASA’s earth science activities and missions. While the ATTREX EPO effort is envisioned as an excellence program that favors quality over quantity, we envision the integration of a science, engineering and aeronautics curriculum that can be easily adapted to target different levels of education and skills.


AirMOSS E/PO is an Education project for the K-12 students, teachers, informal education community, and the general public. The AirMOSS E/PO team will provide such services as  web-based applications and resources. The objective of AirMOSS E/PO activities is to inform and/or increase the public’s understanding of the global carbon cycle, especially how the exchange of carbon dioxide between the land and the atmosphere affects global climate; and how NASA airborne science instruments contribute to this body of knowledge, while encouraging students to pursue the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


NASA’s Aqua satellite was launched on May 4, 2002, with six instruments designed to collect data about the Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and cryosphere. Since the late 1990s, the Aqua mission has involved considerable education and public outreach (EPO) activities, including printed products, formal education, an engineering competition, a video competition, webcasts, and high-profile multimedia efforts. The printed products include Aqua and instrument brochures, an Aqua lithograph, Aqua trading cards, NASA Fact Sheets on Aqua, the water cycle, and weather forecasting, and an Aqua science writers' guide.


Aquarius Communications and Public Engagement (CPE) provides content on salinity, ocean circulation, the water cycle and climate for educational purposes. The content is made available through in-person (e.g., workshops, presentations at conferences) and online events (e.g., webinars).

Aura Mission
Aura develops and maintains print and online content for use at informal education events (e.g., local community events) and to be used by informal educators at their institutions (e.g., museum programs). This effort entails developing, testing, and revising as appropriate informal education materials – hands-on activities, fact sheets, web content – and making these materials available via the Aura website and kits that can be checked out by local educators and scientists. The objective of this content is to engage students and educators (outside the classroom), and the general public about science related to Aura’s mission questions and content applicable other NASA Earth Science missions.

CALIPSO provides educator professional development for K-12 teachers.  Professional development opportunities are delivered both in-person and virtually through collaborations with The GLOBE Program, MY NASA DATA, and S’COOL.  The objective of the professional development activities is to inform teachers understanding and build their confidence and capacity to teach about topics related to clouds and aerosols.

CloudSat provides educator professional development for informal educators, specifically the Solar System Ambassadors (SSAs), and content-based curriculum to Girl Scouts. CloudSat scientists train the SSAs so that they can convey CloudSat-related information to the general public across the nation; and the CloudSat team also supports the development of new Girl Scout “Earth Science” Patches for Daisies, 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.
Digital Earth Watch/Picture Post Network

Digital Earth Watch (DEW) and the Picture Post Network involves individuals, schools, organizations and communities in a systematic monitoring project of their local environment, especially vegetation health. The key concepts behind DEW are that plants are like "green canaries" and act as sensitive indicators of changing environmental conditions. A Picture Post is an easy-to-use and inexpensive platform for repeatedly taking digital photographs as a standardized set of images of the entire 360° landscape, which then can be shared over the Internet on the Picture Post website. This simple concept is creating a wealth of information and data on local environmental conditions, and also strengthens observations of phenological and other time-series events for citizens, scientists and decision makers to understand and adapt to environmental change.


DISCOVER-AQ is an EPD/SE project for middle/high school grades. It leverages the content and locales of an intensive series of airborne flight campaigns, through the GLOBE program, to engage educators and their students in NASA research. The objective of DISCOVER-AQ E/PO is to involve K-12 teachers and students in NASA Earth science activities.

Earth to Sky Partnership: Building Climate Literacy for Informal Educators

Earth to Sky (ETS) is an interagency partnership between NASA, the National Park Service (NPS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), that enables and encourages informal educators to access and use relevant NASA science, data, and educational and outreach products in their work.

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.

Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)
The GPM Master Teacher program involves having a small pilot group of 3 middle school teachers develop and implement Earth/Space Science lessons with middle school students. Teachers will use existing NASA resources to develop lesson plans and then implement them as a part of a quasi-experimental study to attempt to gauge the impact of replacing existing curriculum with curriculum that includes NASA resources. This project has been designed to gauge the impact of using alternative lesson plans, which include NASA resources,on the acquisition of content on middle school students, and we will also develop both lesson plans and activities which will be sent to SMD Product Review.

GLOBE is an international program that encourages and supports students, teachers, informal educators, and scientists to collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of their local environment, sharing results over the internet. The objective of GLOBE is to promote the teaching and learning of science, enhance environmental literacy and stewardship, and promote scientific discovery.

GLOBE at Langley
GLOBE at Langley focuses on EPD for regional K-12 teachers. GLOBE at Langley offers a variety of educator professional development workshops. The objective of GLOBE at Langley is to revitalize the GLOBE program in southeastern Virginia, and eventually the whole state.

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.


The ICESat-2 mission E/PO implementation plan, in direct collaboration with other NASA Earth-observing missions, strives to focus its impact on NASA’s identified target audience outcomes in education and outreach. Each current and new project will not target each and every audience, but rather focus on one or two specific audiences.

Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM)
The Landsat Education and Public Outreach program uses a variety of mechanisms to provide NASA content and professional development for educators and learners in both classrooms and informal contexts such as museums and parks. Landsat EPO produces online content and in-person professional development workshops, often through partnerships, to train educators on how to integrate Landsat science, engineering, and mathematics into their programs, with an emphasis on how to use Landsat data. The objective of Landsat EPO is to inspire the public and to help learners of all ages to appreciate and use Landsat resources.

MY NASA DATA (MND) is a Web-based project for K12 students and educators. MND makes NASA Earth science data easily accessible for authentic learning in the K-12 classroom. The objective of MND is to engage K-12 students in STEM activities through the ability to explore the same data that scientists use.

NASA Know Your Earth Campaign

The NASA Know Your Earth Campaign is a partnership among 22 of NASA's Earth-observing missions. This educational project focuses on educating students, teachers and the public about cutting-edge NASA Earth science research. This campaign also focuses on the “on-the-go” and “smart-technology” public in big cities is vital to informing the public about how our Earth works and how NASA research is increasing our understanding of our home planet.

Ocean Subsurface Topography (Jason-1, OSTM/Jason-2, and Jason-3)

Ocean Surface Topography (Jason-1, OSTM/Jason-2) E/PO is an Education project for K-12 students and teachers. The OST E/PO team provides such services as classroom demonstrations, specialized JPL visits/tours, web resources, and distance learning events; and in conjunction with partner organizations and in-service training for teachers. The objective of OST E/PO is to provide students, and their teachers with information on the role of satellite altimeters in understanding the global ocean, while encouraging students to pursue the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2

The OCO-2 E/PO Program is committed to bringing the latest and most relevant carbon dioxide science and findings to a broad audience, and informing them about why we need to study this greenhouse gas. What we will learn from OCO-2 will improve our understanding of carbon dioxide and its role in climate studies. This improved understanding will help policy makers and business leaders formulate decisions that address climate change issues and, at the same time, improve our quality of life.

S'COOL - Student Cloud Observations OnLine: Terra, Aqua, and NPP

S’COOL is a Web-based project for K12 students and educators, and citizen scientists. S’COOL involves students in authentic science with NASA, through sky observations which serve as ground truth for the CERES instruments in orbit. The objective of S’COOL is to engage students actively in NASA Earth science research.


The SAGE III on ISS Education and Public Outreach program shares the excitement of the SAGE III on ISS mission (planned launch 2014) highlighting its pathfinder qualities, its legacy and role in climate study continuity, and its partnerships with the ISS, other NASA centers, and international collaborators. The program uses formal and informal education approaches to engage students, teachers, and the public in atmospheric science topics including ozone and aerosols, engineering, and technology. The program also strengthens NASA's future workforce by contributing to STEM education initiatives and by attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines. The E/PO activities consist of a diverse range of programs and events that leverage ongoing activities and partnerships across NASA Earth Science missions and other agency educational and outreach programs including GLOBE and MY NASA DATA, as well as create new avenues for reaching target audiences.

SMAP Mission EPO

SMAP provides Educator Professional Development opportunities for K-12 educators through our partner network and the regional NASA centers. The professional development opportunities will be offered to all K-12 educators who are interested in incorporating the latest soil moisture and freeze-thaw science and technology in the classroom. The objective of SMAP is to offered the latest advances in remote sensing science and technology to support the existing science standards in the classroom.

Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) Solicitation: NNH15ZDA010C

Through a pilot cooperative agreement notice or CAN the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the 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 Space Grant are paying 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 that involves WFF, HEO and Space Grant, SMD 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 at:

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