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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
Afterschool Universe

Afterschool Universe is a nationally recognized hands-on astronomy program targeted at middle school children in out-of-school-time settings. The rigorously evaluated curriculum explores basic astronomy concepts through engaging hands-on activities and focuses on the Universe outside the solar system.


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.

Astromaterials Education/Solar System Science In Informal Education Settings

These are events for  students in an informal setting developed thematically around the topics of solar system science and astromaterials. These are hands-on, experiential learning opportunities designed to extend solar system science knowledge and to inspire students to learn more. These are usually offered within an existing event. 

Astromaterials Education/Solar System Science Outreach

These are Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Education events for the public. They usually are part of a larger event; our contribution is connected thematically around the topics of solar system science and astromaterials. These might include sample displays, hands-on activities, and "meet the scientists" opportunities.

Astromaterials Education/Solar System Science: Informal Professional Development

Astromaterials Education/Solar System Science: Informal Professional Development
These workshops and trainings for informal educators are developed thematically around the topics of solar system science and astromaterials. The participants are prepared to share the science appropriately with K-12 audiences by extending their knowledge and giving them hands-on experience with classroom activities. These are usually offered within a conference or larger professional development event. The standard content of solar system science and astromaterials is shared thematically to address the audiences’ needs or requests. The content is delivered through speakers, multimedia, and hands-on activities. 

Astromaterials: Lunar and Meteorite Sample/Solar System Science In Informal Education Settings

These are events for students in an informal setting developed thematically around the topics of solar system science focusing on lunar and meteorite science. These are hands-on, experiential learning opportunities designed to extend solar system science knowledge and to inspire students to learn more. These are usually offered within an existing event. 

Astromaterials: Story Mining and Sharing in Informal Education Settings

This is an ARES education activity to mine and share the stories of past and recent solar system exploration missions and the Antarctic meteorite research program. These stories will be used to connect informal audiences to the excitement of scientific discovery experienced by the people in space science research. It includes finding the stories, developing concise, well-told stories using the raw data, and sharing the stories through podcasts. 

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.
Big Explosions and Strong Gravity

Big Explosions and Strong Gravity is a curriculum for a day-long event for middle-school aged children in out-of-school-time.  During the event, students spend a day doing a series of hands-on activities on spectroscopy, cosmic abundances, supernovae, and black holes.

Calendar in the Sky: Professional Development for Informal Educators

Calendar in the Sky offers workshops and webinars for informal educators  and latino community leaders to learn about our website content, best practices in working with Latino audiences and partners, and resources they can use in their programming on these topics. We held workshops in the 6 metropolitan areas in the US with the largest latino populations: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Phoenix, and Houston. The workshops are also intended to broker releationships between local educators and latino community memebers. In addition, we hold a series of webinars on our content. We have created an online discussion space on our website for workshop participants to use.

Cassini: Ring world III-The Final Odyssey
The original Ring World planetarium show in a DVD format received an  “outstanding rating” from the NASA Education Review ( In addition  the Ring World Planetarium Show won a Tally award in 2004. It has also shown nationally and internationally to hundreds of planetariums in multiple languages plus a version for schools in English, Spanish and Letterbox for hearing impaired, and in Podcast (or “vodkas”) available for download.  This will be an update and final Ring world done for Cassini.
Cassini: Saturn Observing Campaign

Professional and amateur astronomers plus interested members of the public invited to join the Saturn Observation Campaign. A section of the mission website is dedicated to mission resources and educational material. Planetary observing tips are available as well. 

What: Conduct three or more observing programs or observing events each year, including partnering with local libraries, astronomy clubs or science centers. Members are required to report events on the mission web site. 

 Observation Campaign members will be able to participate in telecon training sessions conducted from NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Material from these training sessions are available for use in member presentations to their communities and during star parties.

Dawn Informal Education Resources

Development and adaptation of existing materials for Out-of-School time settings, including Hasta La Vesta. This includes the adaptation of existing classroom materials for K-12 settings and FY12 continued development of Explorer Guides as stand-alone materials for students. It also includes the collaboration with Discovery to develop a new activity piloted in Small Bodies, Big Concepts using art to deepen visual analysis of images from solar system bodies. The materials were received positively across the country and have extended the Dawn missions resources for OST significantly. 

Dawn Mission: i C Ceres

The Dawn Mission E/C is planning to commemorate the arrival of the spacecraft at dwarf planet Ceres with a festival called i C Ceres. We plan to hold a flagship event in collaboration with NASA JPL on the Caltech Campus with both family-oriented activities and special speakers for a variety of audiences May 9, 2015.  Events throughout that weekend will be encouraged all over the country and the world, utilizing materials, special online presentations and resources highlighted on the Dawn website. A map of events will inspire broad engagement with the mission.

Dawn Outreach Products

The Dawn bookmark combines the same data used on Solar System Night Boards and will introduce the Dawn web site in preparation for encounter with Vesta in fall 2011. In 2011 Dawn will look to designing a new product based on arrival at Vesta, the Vesta Fiesta refrigerator magnet. In 2012, we plan to update the Dawn mission events calendar to include new images from Vesta.

Dawn Vesta Fiesta Host Webinars

Webinars and Google + Hangouts in support of Hasta La Vesta and other outreach efforts.

Dawn: Presentation of meteorites and their role in the Dawn Mission

Exhibit on meteorites featuring Vestoids for 300 visitors over the weekend at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

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.

Discovery and New Frontiers "Exo's Discovery" educational interactive on the Discovery and New Frontiers web sites

"Exo's Discovery" is an online interactive learning game. Learners of all ages have an opportunity to explore and learn about our solar system with an alien named Exo who needs help.  Users travel through the solar system in a visually engaging way searching for H20, CO2, and olivine, learning about the planets and small bodies, and the missions that have explored them.

Discovery and New Frontiers: "Small Worlds" section on the Discovery web site

Small Worlds is a section that was added to the Discovery Program website to convey a wealth of information about the many Discovery missions focused on asteroids and comets, why we explore, how we explore, what we have learned, and the importance of this knowledge.  The information is conveyed through text, images, jingles, and an audio feature called Image Impact. 

Discovery and New Frontiers: "Art & the Cosmic Connection"

"Art & the Cosmic Connection" is a curriculum that uses beautiful and compelling NASA images of planets, moons, and small bodies to help students understand and analyze what they see using the elements of art - shape, line, color, value, texture. After viewing images, students choose one image to draw with pastels, honing observation skills as they learn to look and look to learn. The activity is demonstrated in educator workshops and done with students during classroom visits.

Discovery and New Frontiers: "Space Thrills" Wall Sheet

Space Thrills! is a wall sheet intended for educators of students in grades K-4.  It is designed to be visually interesting to arouse curiosity about exploring our solar system and to teach about our solar system using language arts.  It is distributed to classrooms through the ERCs, at conferences, and workshops. 

Discovery and New Frontiers: "Unlocking Mysteries of the Solar System" DVD and Activity Guide

"Unlocking Mysteries of the Solar System" is a video overview of the Discovery Program that describes the science objectives and results of the missions.  Previously an educator guide was developed to lead students through a series of activities to learn about the missions and then design their own space mission.  This new effort is to adapt the formal classroom activity for use in out-of-school time with revised language and more hands-on activities for younger students.

Discovery and New Frontiers: Mentor Training for NASA Space Science Days

Thematic training for college student-mentors preparing to lead a Discovery Program focused NASA Space Science Day event. The NSSD events are sponsored by an EPOESS grant to Charlie Galindo-ARES-JSC. The workshop offers mission content, hands-on experience with classroom activities, and strategies for implementing.

Discovery and New Frontiers: NASA Space Science Days

NASA Space Science Days (NSSD) is a science education outreach collaboration that includes NASA-JSC, Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate (ARES), the Discovery and New Frontiers Education Program, and The University of Texas at Brownsville, and Texas Southmost College.  The purpose is to encourage future generations to strive for excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Teams of presenters share 10-15 hands-on science activities throughout the one-day event. Students move through a series of activities and speakers as they actively engage in the thematic science content. The NSSD events are sponsored by an EPOESS grant, PI Charlie Galindo-ARES-JSC.

Discovery and New Frontiers: National Afterschool Association Annual Conference

The annual National Afterschool Association convention attracts a wide range of out-of-school time educators. NASA's participation allows scientists and educator specialists to bring engaging science content to build informal educator skills. NASA participants offer workshops and staff an exhibit booth where they interact with informal educators and recommend teaching materials for use in their programs. 

Discovery and New Frontiers: online quarterly newsletter

DNF has produced an online quarterly newsletter since 1999.  The newsletter features significant mission events, interviews with mission personnel, current status and E/PO highlights for all the missions.

Discovery and New Frontiers: Public Events

Public events take place in a variety of venues that attract adults and students and provide an opportunity to bring information about NASA, space exploration, and the missions to raise awareness, heighten curiosity, inform and inspire. In FY2012, D/NF funded and coordinated a NASA booth at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, aimed at engaging students in STEM activities and helping them see themselves as scientists and engineers. Attendance was 26,000. The event included a live performance of Space School Musical by 65 students from local afterschool programs.

Discovery and New Frontiers: Space School Musical

Space School Musical is a play that introduces the solar system to students while integrating science with performing arts, physical education, music, social themes and leadership opportunities. Aimed at upper elementary and middle school students, the play teaches solar system science in a fun and engaging way.  Designed for easy and successful replication, the package includes a DVD of the play performed by high school students, a CD with the songs, and a CD-ROM with teacher tips, an activity guide, manual on how to produce the play, and lyrics. More than 60 trainings from 2-5 hours on using the musical to teach students about space science have been conducted since FY'12.

Discovery and New Frontiers: Support for the Solar System Ambassador/Educator Programs

DNF provides funds to support for the SSA/SSEP networks of volunteers and educators who bring mission science to their communities and students.  DNF funds cover mission participation in the program and distribution of handout materials to participants.  DNF funds help support a part-time student who works for the two programs. 

Discovery and New Frontiers: Thematic Workshops for Informal Educators

DNF thematic workshops for informal educators are a series of workshops designed specially for informal educators.  The workshops bring engaging, hands-on science activities adapted specifically for use in out-of-school time venues such as museums, science centers, afterschool programs.  DNF partners with education specialists to train informal educators at local, regional, and national conferences and events.

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.


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. 

Five Stars Pathway - Curriculum Resources for Afterschool

Led by Multiverse at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, Five Stars Pathway: Engaging Girls in Science through Multigenerational Mentors project is developing heliophysics curriculum targeting middle school girls to be implemented in Girls Inc. afterschool programs nationwide. 

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.

Hubble’s Magnificent Universe

This traveling exhibit, dedicated to the Hubble Space Telescope’s imagery, provides an opportunity for visitors to contemplate the symbiotic relationship of art and scientific exploration. The exhibit was created through a unique collaboration between the Walters Art Museum, the Johns Hopkins University, and scientists and other experts at the Space Telescope Science Institute. Standards-based support materials are available for host institutions.

IBEX Museum Materials

This project creates resources about the IBEX mission to support the IBEX planetarium show in the form of kits, printed materials, and downloadable files. These materials are distributed by request (and as available) through U.S. educational venues that are presenting the IBEX planetarium show as well as other informal venues.

IBEX Planetarium Project

This project makes the IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System planetarium show available to museums, science centers, nature centers, and planetariums in the U.S.  The purpose of this project is to make IBEX science discoveries available to a large number of informal education venues.  The planetarium show is distributed through the IBEX E/PO program and distributers.

IBEX Special Needs - Informal

This project created resources about the IBEX mission and heliophysics in the form of tactile materials for people with visual impairments and online games and activities for people with visual impairments.  The purpose of this project was to make IBEX and heliophysics materials available to people who might not otherwise have access to similar resources.  The tactile materials were all distributed in 2011 at no cost through the Adler Planetarium to interested educators.

IRIS Informal Resources & Training

The NASA/Ames IRIS Education and Public Outreach team has developed a training presentation which has been given to members of the NASA Museum Alliance, the JPL Solar System Ambassadors program, and similar Informal Educator groups.

Juno: Education and Public Outreach through the Explore! Library Program
LPI will train librarians in rural states to use the Juno Explore! module of activities, and in solar system content, in collaboration with Juno scientists and education specialists. The librarians, in turn, will be prepared to conduct children's and family programs in  their own communities.  Funds support workshop delivery. 
Juno: Jupiter Observing Campaign

Professional and amateur astronomers plus interested members of the public invited to join the Jupiter Observation Campaign. A section of the mission website is dedicated to mission resources and educational material. Planetary observing tips are available as well.

Conduct three or more observing programs or observing events each year, including partnering with local libraries, astronomy clubs or science centers. Members are required to report events on the mission web site. Members are encouraged to send in their images to the website.

Observation Campaign members will be able to participate in telecon training sessions conducted from NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Materials from these training sessions are available for use in member presentations to their communities and during star parties.

Juno: Podcast What's Up

The first podcast was in April 2007, and it has nearly 4 million downloads since its debut. Podcasts are available on NASA, NASA IYA, JPL, Solar System, and mission websites. They can also be downloaded automatically via iTunes (the most popular format). The focus is always determined by what is A) going on in the night sky and B) mission events we can tie in. Since Jupiter shows up in September, that is when we would highlight Juno.

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:

LADEE: Ames Exploration Encounter (AEE) LADEE Activity

The AEE LADEE activity is a collaboration between the Ames Exploration Encounter and the LADEE mission to produce an interactive multimedia activity for students visiting the AEE. Students participating in the activity assume the role of a researcher receiving and interpreting data from LADEE during its mission. LADEE EPO is providing scientific and multimedia content to the AEE as they implement new activities as part of a center-funded update/renovation of the AEE.

LADEE: Challenger Center LADEE Activity

The Challenger Center LADEE activity is a collaboration between the Challenger Learning Centers and LADEE to include LADEE content in the Challenger Center's updated Mission Moon program. Students participating in the lunar mission will be introduced to the fundamentals of the lunar atmosphere and how it is studied. LADEE EPO is providing scientific and multimedia content adapted from the AEE LADEE activity as the Challenger center implements its new Mission Moon program.

LRO: Docent Package

The LRO Docent Package is comprised of science background and hands-on activities that educators can use in their institutions. The LRO Docent Package will be available for electronic download on the LRO website:

LRO: Miniature Moon Wall

The Miniature Moon Wall is a portable system that utilizes data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera and Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter to enable the use to "fly" over the surface of the Moon. The Mini Moon Wall is developed for loaning to small informal science institutions on a temporary basis.

LRO: Moon Wall

The Moon Wall is a museum exhibit at Adler Planetarium that utilizes data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera and Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter to enable the use to "fly" over the surface of the Moon.

LRO: Museum Alliance Training

The LRO Museum Alliance Training is monthly telecon presentations to the NASA Museum Alliance.  Recent science updates from the LRO mission will be delivered to the Museum Alliance along with relevant educational materials.


LRO Professional Development for Afterschool Providers (PDAP) provides sustained professional development for those whom conduct afterschool programs. The program includes professional development for afterschool club leaders and afterschool programs like the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative. The objective of PDAP is that afterschool providers identify LRO data of suitable use in their programs.

Mars Exploration Program: ChemCam E/PO: Sharing Mars Science and Exploration

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), in close collaboration with the ChemCam science team, including colleagues at the Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements in France, is: 1) implementing a week-long educator workshop; 2) implementing a two-day informal educator workshop targeting children's librarians; and 3) maintaining a new media portal. Through these activities, formal and informal educators and the general public will interact with Mars content that will inform them about Mars science, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) / Curiosity Rover, and ChemCam science, and engage them in current and future plans for Mars exploration. The programs are advertised through the SMD E/PO community and in collaboration with formal and informal science education institutions and organizations; all materials are available on the website.

Mars Exploration Program: Informal Educator Professional Development

Informal educator workshops, trainings, and personal connections support access to current Mars-related science, engineering, and educational content, as well as interactions with scientists and engineers.  The purpose is to "train the trainers" for leaders of youth programs and networks (including Mars support for Solar System Ambassadors) and to provide museum and out-of-school staff with professional development opportunities.  Training can occur both on-site with partners or through distance learning.

Mars Exploration Program: Mars Museum Visualization Alliance Project-

This alliance brings real-time, high-definition  imagery and other content to museums, science centers, and planetaria  and to  the wider audiences they serve (created by Mars, it was elevated to an agency level as the NASA Museum Alliance and expanded to include other missions and activities).   The intent is to create increasingly experiential programming that allows the public to participate in discovery as it happens and to come to know Mars as a familiar place, utilizing the big-screen and dome infrastructures at partner institutions, as well as models, in order to reach communities nationwide.  In the process, informal educators at museums have regular professional development opportunities to interact with Mars scientists and engineers so that they  can interpret current science and engineering taking place on Mars for their visitors (through the provided visualizations). 

Mars Exploration Program: MSL Curiosity: Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Professional Development for National Park Service Interpreters

Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Professional Development for National Park Service Interpreters: The SAM E/PO team reaches out to NPS interpreters who are part of the Earth to Sky network via Webinars to educate them about SAM and MSL, to help them draw linkages between Gale Crater and their own Park, and to share activities and resources that could be adapted for use in most Parks.

MAVEN: Girls go to Mars! Kits

Girls go to Mars – a Girl Scouts project to develop engaging activities using MAVEN science and engineering content, culminating in a patch for girl scouts. Estimated dissemination is ~20 troops per state with ~10 girls per troop, or approximately 2,000 troop leaders and 10,000 Girl Scouts nationwide

MAVEN: Girls go to Mars! Professional Development

Girls go to Mars Training – a Girl Scouts project to develop engaging activities using MAVEN science and engineering content.  Trainings for Girl Scout troop leaders are included in the final years of the project. 

MAVEN: Imagine Mars through Native Eyes

Imagine Mars through Native Eyes – a professional development project for informal out-of-school time educators of native young teenagers, which adapts the process-driven MEPPE Imagine Mars project. The MAVEN E/PO team expects to train 30 out-of-school time educators, with a total reach of 900 youth.

MAVEN: Invisible Mars Science on a Sphere Resources

MAVEN Invisible Mars Product – a project that builds on a previous NASA Mars Space Weather E/PO project, “Seeing the Invisible,” for Science on a Sphere. The MAVEN E/PO team adapts this script for public audiences.

MAVEN: New Media Practitioners Professional Development Workshops

New Media practitioner professional development workshops – two 2-day workshops for bloggers, journalists, and people actively involved in accurate science tweets on MAVEN-related science, technology and engineering concepts. The MAVEN E/PO team expects to engage approximately 24 media practitioners with national reach.

MESSENGER: Interactive Kiosk

The MESSENGER Informal education and public outreach (E/PO) efforts provide content-based materials for use in non-classroom settings. High-quality educational materials featuring mission-related themes are developed and disseminated through print, audiovisual, and web-based media. The objective of MESSENGER Informal Education is to provide educators and students, both within the USA and internationally, with access to high-quality, content-rich materials featuring NASA themes that both inspire and educate.

MESSENGER: Mission Poster, buttons and stickers 2012

The MESSENGER Informal education and public outreach (E/PO) efforts provide content-based materials for use in non-classroom settings. High-quality educational materials featuring mission-related themes are developed and disseminated through print, audiovisual, and web-based media. The objective of MESSENGER Informal Education is to provide educators and students, both within the USA and internationally, with access to high-quality, content-rich materials featuring NASA themes that both inspire and educate.

MMS: Launch Party Resources

The online ‘Educators Launch Kit’ will include Launch Party ideas, activities, and links to mission content, videos and social media pages. When available the page will also contain information on how to connect to the live launch. From these pages, users will be invited to join the MMS Magnetic Space Café. This collaborative website used by NASA's Science Education and Public Outreach Forum will provide an online space where educators and the general public come to chat, receive E/PO updates and ask questions. After launch, the Launch Party Kit will be modified to be an MMS Mission Party kit.

MMS: Media and Education Technology Incubation (METI) Lab

MMS will work closely with Heliophysics E/PO lead, Alex Young, to develop a Media and Eduaitonal Techlology Incubation (METI) lab. This lab will be operate as a ‘think-tank’ space to assist internal personnel from Heliopysics and Planetary in the development of mission outreach ideas and opportunities related to cutting edge technologies including 2D/3D printing, model building, chroma key use and mobile media. The evaluation will include surveys at the end of workshops to show the effect on teachers’ knowledge and intent to use, and a follow up survey nine months later on actual implementation.

MMS: Models (Paper Bookmark/Activity, Card, LEGO, Life-size)

Students can use these models to make and even stronger connection between engineering and mathematics while highlighting the importance of the MMS mission. On the models page, students can see a video of the LEGO model, make their own, make a paper model, or work on MMS card models. The MMS bookmark can be folded into a 3D model. It also has web resources and QR codes.

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: Second Life

MMS worked with Stephanie Smith (NASA Second Life Designer) to install models of the MMS spacecraft on NASA's eEducation Island. Second Life has become less of a draw for users lately but continues to be a place for MMS materials and activities. Given the capabilities of Second Life, it represents an environment that is very well suited for exploring the imagery of MMS.

MMS: Social Media

The MMS social media program is intended to communicate the science of MMS, as well as Heliospheric and STEM-related information to the general public and education professionals in an educational, fun and engaging way.


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.

MMS: Teacher Training

Teacher professional development is designed to familiarize teachers with the MMS mission, the science and technoloygy, and the education resources. A special workshop on NASA and earth and space weather was designed and offered during FY14.Teacher training efforts were identified specifically for the impact and reach of the MMS mission. In 2014, a total of 13 teacher training related activities were identified reaching over 1100 teachers, educators, administrators, and university faculty.

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: Astrobiology Citizen Science (PSU)

This project engages citizen scientists in a study of microbial diversity in distributed domestic water heaters.  It's purpose is to look at the genetic differences from isolates of similar microbes from across the globe to understand the degree to which populations of microbes are isolated and whether this isolation suggests an allopatric speciation model for prokaryotes. Two-three interested households per state in the US will complete a questionnaire and submit samples back to labs at Penn State where the data will be compiled and analyzed.  

NAI: Astrobiology Outreach Through the NASA Nationwide Consortium (WISC)

This project provides training for informal education volunteers working on behalf of NASA.  The purpose is to train the Solar System Ambassadors, SS Educators, and members of other NASA  Nationwide Consortium organizations in the use of astrobiology materials so they may use them in their outreach events.  Telecons and workshops are held to expose the volunteers to astrobiology science and educational materials. In 2011, Solar System Ambassadors held 269 Astrobiology events reaching a total of 321,000 people.  Solar System Educators hosted 31 Astrobiology educator workshops reaching a total of 1,565 teachers in the following states: California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Puerto Rico.

NASA Family Science Night

Family Science Night (FSN) is a curriculum in which middle- school-aged children and their families explore the importance of STEM in our daily lives by engaging in activities that make these concepts more practical and approachable. It covers a broad range of topics, from basic scientific processes to specific concepts such as the electromagnetic spectrum, the life cycles of stars, the reasons for Earth’s seasons, exploration of the Moon, and the ways in which we detect and study extrasolar planets.

New Horizons: Howard B. Owens Science Center - (3.1.35)

Howard B. Owens Science Center is completing the finishing touches to the New Horizons planetarium show. This interactive planetarium program will follow the New Horizons mission from launch to arrival at Pluto, allowing participants to investigate the science questions posed by the mission team. Once the spacecraft reaches Pluto, the program will be updated to include actual science data.

New Horizons: Maryland Science Center

The Maryland Science Center’s SpaceLink is a New Horizons E/PO partner that falls into both formal and informal outreach arenas. New Horizons scientists and engineers regularly support SpaceLink’s flexible programming, seminars for educators, a menu of classroom programs on request, distance learning teacher presentations, and special live events to highlight mission milestones and space-related anniversaries. This allows the guest scientists and engineers to interact directly with the public. These events will also compliment the New Horizons’ mission and instrument exhibits that are permanently housed at the Maryland Science Center. At the Maryland Science Center, exhibits include a model of the New Horizons spacecraft, a mission banner, brochures and a computer station with mission information; live programs include “science celebrations” during mission milestones; educator workshops for local pre-service teachers; and annual mission updates for educators. The funds are for exhibit on NH, special event days such as Pluto Day and Space Day featuring NH, as well as accompanying teacher workshops as well as the development of Science on a Sphere short videos.

New Horizons: U.S. Space and Rocket Center

In an effort to educate U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) museum guests about New Horizons, a model of the solar system has been set up on the Center grounds with placards providing information about each planet. A New Horizons display is set up near Pluto to educate guests about the objectives of the mission.
This is to maintain the exhibit.

NLSI - Lunar Traveling Exhibits and Online Gallery (LPI/JSC-ARES)

The LPI/JSC NLSI team is creating a series of library exhibits to share NLSI and NASA lunar science and exploration with the general public through a nation-wide network of librarians, as well as SMD and NASA networks.

NLSI: Explore the Moon! Engaging Young Explorers in Library Programs Resource Development (SwRI/LPI)

Explore the Moon! is a library program in which a team of NLSI SwRI and LPI education specialists and scientists are creating hands-on inquiry based, standards-aligned modules of activities to be used in informal learning environment programs. The activities explore the lunar environment and relate to NLSI science and exploration. The module currently is in development with a completion target of summer 2010.  

NLSI: Elementary School Planetarium Program Explaining Lunar Science

Create an adult planetarium show highlighting science that can be done from the moon.

NLSI: Elementary School Planetarium Program Explaining Lunar Science

Public events associated with the Lunar and Solar eclipses that were visible to North America.  For the handful of Lunar eclipses between 2009-2012 we had nearly 1000 people in attendance for each event.  Then for the Solar Eclipse of 2012 we had nearly 10,000 people in the Football Stadium at the University of Colorado to view it.  Our event was broadcast on NBC national news.

NLSI: Explore the Moon! Engaging Young Explorers in Library Programs Librarian Training (SwRI/LPI)

Explore the Moon! is a library program in which a team of NLSI SwRI and LPI education specialists and scientists are training children's librarians in CO, WY, MT, ID, ND, and SD to engage their communities in NLSI science and exploration. The training encompasses content discussions, exploration of how to engage children in science,  the use of hands-on inquiry based resources, and network planning.  

Planck Mission in Virtual Reality

With this interactive simulation you can follow Planck on its mission to map the microwave emissions of the universe, and 'fly' through a virtual solar system, or fly inside Planck and explore the inside of the satellite.

For PC's or Laptops running Windows XP or higher, or Linux

See to download the simulation and manual.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Transit of Venus Events

The goal of the Transit of Venus social media events was to build the excitement around this worldwide event and connect the public to Transit of Venus-related resources in their area.

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Informal Science Events & Materials

The goal of this project is to develop resources and events that improve informal education opportunities in solar and Solar Dynamics Observatory-related science.

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Social Media

This project involves active engagement, involvement and support of public communications opportunities such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, etc., for SDO. Staff makes SDO and Heliophysics visible and "likeable" to the general public by posting current sun and solar information, developing materials to post, educate the public about the sun and solar events, including space weather, making videos and images, etc.

Solar System Treks

Solar System Treks Project (SSTP) provides: 1. planetary data products that are georeferenced, 2. data services (web APIs) for data access, 3. tools (a set of web-based portals, mobile applications, VR goggles and touch table implementations) that support measurement and study of planetary terrain and facilitate 3D printing of surface terrain, 4. infrastructure/platform that support visualization, exploration and research of landscapes for planetary bodies and Earth.

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.

Stardust NExT: Building Informal Educator Capacity: DoDEA

Dawn, Stardust-NExT and EPOXI E/PO leveraged mission materials to offer OST science teachers professional development and curricular support to help them integrate space science involving small bodies into their programs through the DoDEA Space Science Extravaganza in May, 2012.Teachers will engage their students in high-interest, hands-on activities that highlight mission science and enhance learning about comets, asteroids, and the origins of the solar system. In FY13, we will be emphasizing Google+ Hangout sessions to engage learners of all ages. The E/PO team will collaborate with Dawn scientists and engineers to bring emerging science to the public backed by activities that support concept development.

Stardust NExT: Small Bodies Podcast

Podcast did not occur and was cancelled due to mission conflict in FY10 plan. Current no plans to reschedule in FY11.

Student Planetary Investigators (PI)

The Student PI program provides high school and undergraduate students with authentic research experiences in the classroom using NASA data. The program is free, open to students and their teachers nationwide, is conducted via distance learning technologies and is designed to provide maximum flexibility for student teams. Live classroom sessions are mostly conducted during after school hours and sessions are archived for teams that wish to watch at alternate times. Students communicate directly with science team members and peers through an online bulletin board system. Currently students may choose to work with curriculum and data sets from Mercury, Mars, or the Moon as they work toward developing their own hypotheses and research projects. Student capstone projects include the presentation of original research projects to fellow student researchers and NASA scientists across the country.

Sun-Earth Days

Sun-Earth Days (SED) was developed in response to a need for a highly leveraged education framework to help the heliophysics missions tell their integrated and cross discipline stories to the general public, informal and formal education communities.Sun-Earth Days is an innovative, multi-mission, exemplary, and award-winning NASA Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) program that to date has touched over one billion people in 42 countries. Sun-Earth Day provides an established and now familiar venue for heliophysics missions to tell their stories of discovery through an integrated, cross-discipline, highly-leveraged, and proven program. From a small startup project in 2001 with an audience of 40,000, Sun-Earth Day has grown steadily in size, sophistication, and impact to include many networks of stakeholders such as education, science, and minority professional societies such as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), Challenger Centers, Girl Scouts of America (GSA), Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP), the Astronomical League, the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and many more. New and cutting edge technologies have been employed including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, podcasting, YouTube, and remote instrumentation. State-of-the-art methods and strategies in E/PO have been included such as authentic research opportunities through real time access to NASA data, distance learning, themed storytelling, and hands-on student involvement. All of these activities are collected and promoted to specific audiences through the award winning Sun-Earth Days website.


This description appears in the public listing of project profiles

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.

Van Allen Probes: Maryland Science Center Partnership

SpaceLink at the Maryland Science Center is an informal education and public outreach partner for the Van Allen Probes mission. An instructional PowerPoint was produced for distribution to informal educators at museums, science centers and planetariums across the U.S. with the purpose of providing content information about the Van Allen Probes mission and science objectives, and to help educators in communicating the mission to their audiences. 

Material and activities focusing on the Van Allen Probes mission were provided by the Maryland Science Center to support the pre-launch educator workshop.  The Center’s observatory hosted special event days featuring the Van Allen Probes mission and the current solar maximum (e.g., Solar Plasma Fest); safe solar viewing by several means (white light and hydrogenalpha filtered telescopes and a Sun Spotter) as well as Sun-related activities were provided.  To interact directly with the public, Van Allen Probes mission scientists and E/PO specialists supported the events. The Solar System Exploration Wall, designed and fabricated by the Maryland Science Center and located in the Davis Planetarium queue space, features NASA exploration of the solar system and Sun-Earth connections.  Interactive exhibits are included in the queue area, one activity challenges visitors to arrange the planets in order and size.  Large panel monitors are being programmed with images relating to the Van Allen Probes, with both stills and video.  A spacecraft search activity will encourage visitors to find various spacecraft displayed on the wall mural. 

Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery

This traveling exhibit was developed in collaboration with the American Library Association and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. It consists of six two-sided panels that include images and captions that highlight relevant, historical discoveries in astronomy. The exhibit is supported by a connected suite of standards-based educational resources. Also, each exhibit panel is available as a downloadable, poster-size file.