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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
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. 

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.

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: 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: 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: 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.

Discovery and New Frontiers: web sites

D/NF has two websites that provide current and historical information about the programs and the missions. The websites serve as the primary outreach tool to provide a wide array of information to the public, teachers, students, and mission personnel. The web sites are kept up to date with current news and ongoing updates.  The New Frontiers site was redesigned and updated with new content in FY'12.

EPOXI - Maryland Day

2012 marks the 14th annual MD Day, an annual open house for the University of Maryland (College Park). Colleges and departments are encouraged to "show-off" their research and educational programs via informal hands-on activities. EPOXI team members will be participating again demonstrating the mechanics of transiting exoplanets and building dry ice comets.

EPOXI: Amateur Observers' Program

The Amateur Observers' Program (AOP) is a web resource that provides information and resources for beginner, intermediate, and advanced amateur astronomers. The site provides guidance for the public to locate and share images of small solar system bodies (comets and asteroids). Amateurs from around the world use the site as a resource connected to mission events.  Funds are for site maintenance and public events at amateur venues (clubs, star parties).

ExCITES: DIY Sun Science

The DIY Sun Science app (for iPhones and iPads) allows families and educators to investigate and learn about the Sun at home, at school, or anywhere they go.


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. 

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.
Here, There and Everywhere

The physical processes of our natural world are on constant display. They shape our surroundings on scales large and small. Across the Universe, Nature does the same.

This series helps us better understand cosmic phenomena by looking and studying what we see close to home. BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS HERE, HAPPENS THERE, AND EVERYWHERE.

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.

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: JPL Outreach
Juno Outreach is handled at JPL, including the Juno NASA portal site, as well as Eyes on the Solar System,  Amateur Astronomy efforts.
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.

LRO: International Observe the Moon Night

The International Observe the Moon Night is a public "Moon party" event that was held at 627 locations around the world on October 8 2011. Amateur astronomers and the general public are invited to participate in events that provide scientific context about the Moon, tweet up events, and telescope observations of the Moon. The International Observe the Moon Night is a collaborative project between LRO EPO, NASA Lunar Science Institute, Lunar and Planetary Institute, NASA ARC, GSFC and MSFC.

Mars Exploration Program: Outreach

This area supports the NASA Strategic Plan "Outreach to Stakeholders," and typically focuses per that document on public information and outreach related to NASA's Mars and Mars mission efforts, as well as cross-themed messages within SMD and between it and other Divisions (e.g., human exploration of Mars efforts by ESMD).  Included are pass-through events such as exhibits and public talks (including support for scientist/engineer involvement); web support, including content and visualizations for Mars content areas of the NASA website (mirrored on JPL/Mars websites); citizen science interactives and participatory exploration, and HD video that captures historical moments for integration into external documentarian use (e.g., NOVA, Discovery, etc.)and other  E/PO and NASA public affairs products.

Mars Exploration Program: MSL Curiosity: Sample Analysis at Mars Outreach Events

Sample Analysis at Mars outreach events: SAM scientists, engineers, and E/PO team members regularly participate in large public outreach events that reach hundreds to thousands of people.

Mars Rover Model Celebration

This project aims to incorporate up-to-date SMD education resources and science and mission data relating to NASA’s explorations of Mars into the Mars Rover Celebration (MRC), an existing low-cost curriculum enhancement program for grades 3-8. The MRC prototype focuses on the adventure of learning and discovery, asking participating teams to propose their own scientific mission to Mars, design a rover to carry it out, and present a mock-up at an open house. The overarching goal of this program is to leverage the strong hold on children's imagination and intellectual curiosity that NASA missions in general and Mars landers in particular have possessed for decades to inspire and educate on STEM career choices.

We are modifying and refining this prototype program by enhancing the NASA content and instructional strategies employed, and strengthening the training and support provided so that educators may more effectively and successfully teach, engage and motivate students in SMD related STEM subject areas. To accomplish these objectives, this proposed program will:

1) Expand and improve the program curriculum to provide more cross referencing to appropriate SMD curriculum materials, MER, MSL and other NASA E/PO activities and updated, more complete alignment with State and National standards;

2) Specifically tackle effective instruction issues by incorporating comprehension, cooperative learning, scaffolding and modeling practices in the curricular materials developed;

3) Expand the current professional development workshops for K-12 teachers to include more STEM/ SMD content training, including training about the results from recent NASA Mars missions and in teaching the engineering design process; and

4) Develop parent education workshops to train parents and community informal educators on how best to support the program.

MESSENGER: Mosaic Postcards web-based materials

The MESSENGER K-12 education and public outreach (E/PO) efforts encompass teacher professional development and web-available content-based curriculum for K-12 students and educators. The Educator Fellowship program trains educators who commit to conducting teacher professional development using high-quality educational materials featuring mission-related themes. The objective of the MESSENGER E/PO program is to prepare classroom teachers across the nation to incorporate high-quality, NASA-developed educational materials and thus maximize student exposure to NASA themes that will both inspire and educate.

MMS: EPO Website

The E/PO section of the MMS website is specifically designed for number of MMS E/PO audiences and hosts a growing collection of lesson plans, activities, games, Interactives, podcasts, video clips and social media links, while highlighting the contributions, accomplishments and career paths of mission personnel. The MMS social media team works closely with the GSFC Office of Communications and NASA’s existing social media networks to reach the target audiences.

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: 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.


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: Biosignatures Exhibit (WISC)

This project delivers astrobiology information to the general public.  Its purpose is to excite and engage the public in an interactive debate experience featuring scientists in an informal education setting.  Future presentations in this series will be podcast and made publically available.

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.

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.  

NLSI: International Observe the Moon Night-Boulder, CO

Set up telescopes on the Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall in Boulder, CO.  Handed out flyers describing NASA Lunar Science and let people look through telescopes.  Night was pretty cloudy but still got "peeks" at the moon and people liked looking through telescopes.

OSIRIS-REx Fly me to an Asteroid! name collection program

Fly me to an Asteroid! (working title), run jointly with The Planetary Society, solicits names of individuals for etching onto a chip to fly on the spacecraft. The purpose of this project is to collect names from the public, etch the names onto a chip, place the chip in the sample return capsule for a trip to and from the asteroid, engage the public in the mission and increase interest in asteroids and science. TPS will collect names from entrants, Lockheed Martin will lead efforts to etch the names and handle the physical chip, and the mission will coordinate efforts and publicize the activity.

OSIRIS-REx Presents Great Balls of Fire! exhibit and OSIRIS-REx Presents Asteroid Academy! field trips

Visit to the Exhibit: OSIRIS-REx hosts the OSIRIS-REx Presents Great Balls of Fire! exhibit at the University of Arizona, include additional exhibit materials related to the mission, and run the OSIRIS-REx Presents Asteroid Academy! school field trips to the exhibit. The exhibit and field trips will take place during the fall months of 2012 with OSIRIS-REx Ambassadors facilitating school field trips (grades 5-8) for underserved audiences. Evaluation of the exhibit, audience feedback, etc. is for use in developing traveling exhibit for 2016-2023.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - The Sunday Experiment

Join us at the sunday experiment and learn about all the cool science and engineering going on right now at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Take part in hands on activities, meet scientists, engineers, and super cool people like us! You can even load up on free stuff, and more.

Space Place website

The Space Place program includes web site for elementary school children as well as a museum display program and partnerships with amateur astronomy clubs and newspapers.  The Space Place web site makes SMD content accessible to a variety of audiences including elementary school age kids, Spanish speakers, amateur astronomers, and teachers.  The Space Place web site is available in both English and Spanish, in upper elementary language; the Space place museum display is in over 350 museums across the country, primarily in rural areas; the amateur astronomy column is in over 250 club newsletters; and teacher resources are available in a dedicated area of the web site and in the ITEA journal.  The Space Place can be found at

Space Telescope Star Parties

During the summer months, the Space Telescope Science Institute hosts star parties for Baltimore-area families in partnership with local astronomy clubs.  Star parties feature science presentations along with an array of fun and interesting activities, such as WorldWide Telescope, hands-on activities related to light and color, visits to a portable planetarium, and night sky viewing opportunities provided via amateur telescopes and the Maryland Space Grant Observatory.

Space Weather Action Center

Imagine being able to monitor the progress of an entire solar storm from the time it erupts from our sun until it sweeps past our small planet effecting enormous changes in our magnetic field. Now imagine being able to do all of this from your classroom-based Space Weather Action Center (S.W.A.C.)! By following the basic steps in the Instructional Guide your class will soon be on its way to accessing, analyzing and recording NASA satellite and observatory data. You will also want to download the 'step-by-step' Educator's Setup Guide where you will find a variety of recommendations and diagrams showing you how to construct a fully functional SWAC inside your classroom while keeping potential limitations on classroom space and technology in mind.

Once established your class will be ready to move into the second cross-disciplinary phase of the program where they will transform their journal data into real S.W.A.C. news reports! We've made this phase easy by providing an adaptable SWAC script! All they have to do is fill in the missing pieces based on the data collected in their student journals. In the S.W.A.C. Setup Guide we have suggested several very inexpensive alternative methods by which you can produce multimedia Space Weather Action Reports.

Download the student Flip Charts and Data Collection Sheets from the Downloadable Materials page. Each Flip Chart offers 'Step by Step' instructions on how to quickly retrieve and transfer data to specified Data Collection Sheets. We have divided all of the Space Weather Action Center resources into four 'color-coded' categories: Sunspot Regions (orange), Storm Signals (green), Magnetosphere (blue) and Aurora (purple). The same color code scheme is used in the flipchart, the data collection sheets and on the Live Data and Tutorials webpage. You can always know which section you're in with one quick glance!

For those educators wishing to incorporate SWAC as a classroom learning experience, we have also provided an Instructional Guide and a Flip chart Guide.

Each SWAC contains the following elements:

  • Computer (Internet Access Required)
  • Instructional Flip Charts (Assembly Required)
  • Data Collection Clipboards or Notebooks (Assembly Required)
  • SWAC Display Board or Bulletin Board (Assembly Required)

Students are encouraged to design their action centers with readily available art supplies and downloadable NASA imagery. This artistic approach instills a sense of student ownership and establishes NASA as a visual point of interest in the classroom environment.

Use the introductory steps provided in the Flip Charts to quickly access and retrieve space weather data. Each Flip Chart is directly linked to specific Data Collection Sheets that will allow you to quickly record and analyze the necessary sets of data. You will find that the data collection sheets follow the same sequence and color coding as the flip charts: Sunspot Regions (orange), Storm Signals (green), Magnetosphere (Blue), Auroras (Purple).

Once you have created your SWAC your class will be ready to move into the second cross-disciplinary phase of the program: creating real SWAC news reports! We've made this phase easy by providing your students with a sample script! All they have to do is fill in the missing pieces based on the data collected in their student journals.

Now it's lights, camera, action! You are finally ready to turn your script into a multimedia broadcast complete with current NASA data and dazzling graphics! If your school isn't equipped with a broadcasting studio, don't worry! We've suggested several very inexpensive methods by which you and your class can produce professional looking Space Weather Action Reports.

The SWAC website is an extremely robust "one stop shopping' learning tool complete with step-by-step tutorials on how to interpret live or 'near real time' space weather data from 10 missions and 36 instruments. All of the data links required to make your space weather observations are located on a single webpage called Space Weather Data. Beside each of the 'live data' links you will also find 'tutorial' links containing easy to read tutorials that that will help you when interpreting the data. You can always find your place by returning to this page!

Stardust NExT Website

The Stardust-NExT website includes up-to-date resources and information of thematic comet content and mission specific multimedia and educational materials. Secondary pages include details of mission, science, technology, multimedia, education, community and "get involved" pages. The homepage includes features, timelines and links to where is the spacecraft is now, mission status reports, media releases and scientist/engineer interviews.

Stardust NExT: "Comet Cratering" at JPL Open House

Stardust-NExT, EPOXI, and Rosetta mission will combine resources at the annual JPL Open House event. Exhibit will feature a "Comet Cratering" activity, models of asteroids, meteorite collection, spacecraft models and science data. Personnel from all missions will be on-hand to talk with public.

Stardust NExT: Comet Outreach Events

In February, 2011 Stardust spacecraft will encounter comet Tempel 1. In support of this event a number of outreach events are planned at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as well as New York/Cornell and several other sites around the country, TBD.

Stardust NExT: Solar System Night Boards

Reprint: Combines the same data used on Solar System Night Boards and will introduce the Stardust-NExT and EPOXI websites in preparation for encounter in Nov. 2010 and February 2011.

Stardust-NExT Encounter Events

Working closely with the NASA/JPL Ambassadors Program, Solar System Educator network, Museum Alliance Network and Space Place Networks Encounter events will be organized around the country at informal science centers and museums. Stardust-NExT will connect informal educators with related resources for each event including scientists, speakers, animation, educators. Events will be as detailed as having mission personal on-site or virtually, Twitter postings, and/or Skype teleconferences into a said location hosting a comet related event.

Stardust-NExT: "Eyes on the Solar System" - Stardust

"Eyes on the Solar System" is a 3-D environment full of real NASA mission data. Explore the cosmos from your computer. Hop on an asteroid. Fly with NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft. See the entire solar system moving in real time. It's up to you. You control space and time.

Stardust-NExT: Comet Interactive

Comet Interactive was designed to introduce all levels of user to comets. Information includes overview of comets in a 3:41 second video documentary provided to the mission by; Comet Life Cycle section where user can view the changes which occur as a comet as it travels on its orbit; Comet Anatomy section which demonstrates the various components of a comet; and a Comet Specifications section highlighting Comets Borrelly, Wild 2, Tempel 1, 67P, and Hartley. This section shows detailed fact about the comets including known composition, orbit, characteristic, and NASA's mission (both past and present) that have gathered scientific data.

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. 

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”.