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29 activities

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 For University Mentors and Facilitators/Pre-Service Educators

Astromaterials Education/Solar System Science For University Mentors and Facilitators/Pre-Service Educators
These are workshops and trainings for college students 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 a 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, video, and hands-on activities. 


Cassini: Products for informal: Cassini-Huygens Analysis and Results of the Mission (CHARM) for Informal Educators

CHARM-Cassini Huygens Analysis and Results of the Mission – monthly telecons with talks, PowerPoint or video supports NASA Nationwide: A Consortium of Formal and Informal Education Networks will be hosted on NASA Nationwide website archive

Training telecons and materials for networks including Solar System Ambassadors, museum alliance, Night Sky Network, Space Place etc.

Five Stars Pathway - Afterschool Program at Girls Inc.

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. 


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. 

Five Stars Pathway - Training for Afterschool Program Providers

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. 

GEONS (Geomagnetic Event Observation Network by Students)

The THEMIS Education and Public Outreach team established ground-based magnetometer stations in the proximity of rural schools in traditionally under-served, underrepresented communities. Teachers at these schools were trained in how to use the magentometer data with their students. The network of these teachers, students, and magnetometers together with other students who participate using the web is called the Geomagnetic Event Observation Network by Students (GEONS).

Heliophysics Community of Practice for Formal Educators

The Heliophysics Community of Practice for Formal Educators is a multi-mission effort led by THEMIS-ARTEMIS E/PO and supported by the Van Allen Probes E/PO, IBEX E/PO and the Heliophysics Forum. The Community of Practice provides professional development opportunities for middle and high school teachers across the country to learn more about current heliophysics research and incorporate it into their classroom. 

Heliophysics Educator Ambassador Program

The Heliophysics Educator Ambassador (HEA) program is a collaborative, multi-mission effort that provides professional development and resources to middle and high school science teachers who then train other teachers at local, regional and/or national workshops, conference and meetings. The NASA Heliophysics missions collaborating on the HEA program are: THEMIS-ARTEMIS, IBEX, Van Allen Probes, SDO, MMS, Voyager, RHESSI, STEREO, TIMED, AIM and ICON.

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.
MAVEN: Management

MAVEN Management -  management of the E/PO projects; working with the MAVEN PI and science and engineering team members; coordinating with MEPPE; and overseeing the E/PO evaluation partner, CEA.   This includes direction of all E/PO activities and  ensuring all products meet NASA SMD requirements and NRC NSES,

MESSENGER: Intern Program (Undergraduate & Graduate Students)

The internship program provides undergrad & grad students focusing on STEM careers  an opportunity to work on summer projects related to the MESSENGER mission to Mercury, and make contributions to the mission.

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: 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: 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.

NAI: Telling Your Story (MIT)

The Telling Your Story program aims to form collaborations between research scientists and K-12 teachers that will result in ongoing classroom visits by scientists, and lab visits by teachers and their students. The program brings together scientists and K-12 educators in a workshop that lets each group learn about, and from, the other. Scientists are taught effective communication skills appropriate for K-12 audiences, and work with teachers to develop ideas and formats for classroom visits.

NAI: Lassen National Park Astrobiology Internship Program (ARC)

This project is a year-long, rural high school student internship program.  Its purpose is to bring local, rural students into Lassen Volcanic National Park to collect environmental data at astrobiologically relevant field sites.  Scientists visit the students and their teacher to prepare them for the upcoming year of sampling, then students visit the Park several times per year to collect data on the hydrothermal features.  An expansion includes the installation of videoconferencing equipment in the school to facilitate more frequent interaction between students and scientists.

NAI: Student-Teacher Astrobiology Researchers (CIW)

This project is a training program for high school students in Washington, DC.  Students are guided by scientists as they perform authentic research projects in a school setting.  Participants are selected annually to attend a 10 day summer institute then return to their schools to complete projects with teacher and scientist supervision.

NLSI: Public Web Page Designed by High School Students (SwRI/LPI)

Students design a public web page for Southwest Research Institute.  NLSI project. High-school students build their understanding of lunar science - and lunar science careers - and translate the information for the public using traditional and new media. SwRI and LPI NLSI scientists and education specialists work with North High School high-school students to present accurate, interesting, and engaging lunar science and exploration content. Current efforts focus on inclusion of content and animations on the site to present the evolution of the Moon. Funds support E/PO specialist facilitation of the project, materials for the classroom.

NLSI: Summer Science Project (SwRI/LPI)

SSP is a program in which high-achieving high school students participate in a six week summer experience and work with space scientists to track asteroids. The program is designed to keep these students in the pipeline for careers in the science disciplines.  SwRI's NLSI team is collaborating with SSP to a) develop two-day lunar research projects that involve computer modeling and b) to implement these projects with the students during the summer.  Funds support involvement of students in the program, with an emphasis on working with SSP to recruit underserved and underrepresented students.  

OSIRIS-REx Target Asteroids! citizen science observing program

Target Asteroids! Is a citizen science project which engages amateur astronomers in observations of potential asteroid spacecraft targets. The purpose is to collect data (e.g., astrometry and photometry) on asteroid targets to better characterize them as well as engage amateurs in the mission and encourage interest in STEM education and careers. OSIRIS-REx team members work with amateur astronomy groups to provide guidance, monitoring and collection of data.

Planetary Science Summer School

Planetary Science Summer School (PSSS).  PSSS prepares the next generation of engineers and scientists to participate in future solar system exploration missions. Participants are highly qualified science and engineering post-docs, recent PhDs, and doctoral students with a strong interest in planetary exploration.  Through preparatory webinars and a one-week experience at JPL with Team X mentors, students develop a mission concept and present it to a "review board" of JPL scientists and engineers and NASA HQ executives.  Students learn the mission life cycle, roles of scientists and engineers in a mission environment, mission design interconnectedness and trade-offs, and the importance of teamwork.  2 sessions of approximately 18 students each are held in the summer.

Rosetta Poster for AGU
Poster presentation at AGU to discuss the U.S. Rosetta Native Initiative
Solar Dynamics Observatory - Solar Science Fair

What is the Solar Science Fair?
The Solar Science Fair is a semester-long project for students ages 13-18 as well as classrooms and the general public. Participants are expected to create original projects using solar data. There will be many opportunities to ask solar scientists questions about your project or about what they do at NASA.

How will the projects be judged?
All projects will be judged based on the use of the scientific method, use of solar data, creativity and the clarity of the presentation. Each project will be judged by a panel of three judges individually and given a score for each of the sections and also an overall score.  The winners in each category will based on the cumulative score of the subsections and the overall project.

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Data In the Classroom

This program involves development and facilitation of a laboratory activity for community college physics and astronomy students to give them an opportunity to analyze data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory mission. Professors and teachers at a local community college are involved in an SDO partnership to develop the lab exercise. The students at the community college are first year non-science majors coming from a diverse urban environment.

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.

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.