NASA Wavelength Blog Post: Ever Wondered?

Focusing on important scientific questions can engage students and the public in the very kind of thinking that is required to truly understand science ideas (concepts). NASA has always been about the “wonder and awe” of our Earth and space. This NASA Wavelength blog post invites leaners of all ages to wonder and to start by asking questions!

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NASA Seeks Student Experiments for Edge-of-Space Balloon Flight

NASA is accepting applications from graduate and undergraduate university students to fly their science and technology experiments to the edge of space on a scientific balloon mission. A fall 2016 launch is planned for the next High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) mission, a joint project between NASA and the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE) in Baton Rouge. HASP can support up to 12 student-built payloads. It houses and provides power, mechanical support, interfacing, data downlink and command uplink communications for the instruments. Launched from NASA’s balloon launch facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, flights typically last 12 to 15 hours, flying at an altitude of approximately 23 miles.

NASA’s scientific balloons offer low-cost, near-space access for payloads weighing up to 8,000 pounds to conduct technology demonstration tests as well as scientific investigations in fields such as astrophysics, heliophysics and atmospheric research. Depending on the goals and objectives of a specific mission, balloon flight durations can run hours to multiple days or weeks for longer-term tests and data collection.

Since 2006, the HASP program has selected more than 110 payloads for flights, involving more than 800 students from across the United States. Past student groups have flown instruments to flight test compact satellites and prototype long-range communication devices, perform space science experiments, sample particles at the edge of space, perform remote sensing experimentation, test rocket nozzles, and measure infrasound to correlate with geophysical events.

A panel of experts from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, and LaSPACE will review the applications and select the finalists for the 2016 flight opportunity. The deadline for applications is Dec. 18. A question-and-answer teleconference for interested applicants is scheduled for Nov. 13 at 10am CT. Interested school teams can contact Greg Guzik at for more information.

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Carbon and Climate: An Interactive Discussion

Our planet is changing and carbon is driving it. On November 19, join NASA scientists Emily Wilson (atmospheric carbon), Jeremy Werdell (ocean ecology), Peter Griffith (land ecology) and NOAA scientist Dwight Gledhill (ocean acidification) as they answer your carbon and climate questions. This interactive discussion will take place at the Maryland Science Center but will also be available on live webcast. NASA scientist, Stephanie Schollaert Uz, will moderate the panel. Live attendance is free and limited with online registration required. This event will be webcast at 7pm EST, with the Ustream channel accessed from

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Art and the Cosmic Connection

Geology meets art! In this free, 2 hour workshop, educators will use art to recreate craters, mountains, rivers, wind-driven landscapes as well as learn to read planetary and Earth images. This workshop meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for “Earth Systems: Earth’s Place in the Universe” with climate change and social studies integration. Participants are invited to participate in a simulated space mission in the Challenger Learning Center after the workshop from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The workshop will take place on November 14 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm and is aimed at educators for grades 3 and up. Click here to learn more.

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JPL Climate Change Workshop

NASA JPL’s Educator Resource Center is offering a free 2.5-hour workshop on November 7 at 10:00 am that will give educators for grades 3-8 an overview of what we know about climate change and how we know it. Enjoy some simple chemistry, videos, games and student inventions. This is a great, standards-based way to teach and inspire students to think about how humans impact on the environment. Call the Educator Resource Center at 818-393-5917 to reserve your spot. Click here to find out more.

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Revising the Solar System: Exploring Worlds Formerly Known as Planets

Teachers in the DC, VA, MD area (and beyond) are invited to a full day workshop on Sunday, November 8, at the AAS meeting packed with NASA resources, education best-practices, and scientist presentations. The workshop centers on the planets that were – Pluto and Ceres. If you are interested in connecting with K-12 teachers about one of these topics, please contact Sarah Horst, or Christine Shupla,

For more information, visit

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Call for Video Suggestions: University of Colorado Fiske Planetarium

NASA has awarded the University of Colorado Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium funding to develop short, full-dome and flat-screen videos about space science-related discoveries that will be distributed for free to hundreds of planetariums nationwide. They will be designed to play before a main feature, and not require any schedule changes. The project, led by Fiske Director Douglas Duncan, will target the general public, K-12 students and college students and provide videos that highlight exciting NASA work in all of the SMD’s research areas. The videos plan to feature a diversity of scientists and engineers, to help attract the NASA workforce of the future. The Planetarium is calling for suggestions of science, engineering, projects or people that they think would make a compelling video short. There is no continuing theme; each video is independent. All who are interested are welcome to email Dr. Douglas Duncan at

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Announcing EONET: The Earth Observatory Natural Event Tracker

NASA’s Earth Observatory Group is proud to announce the release of EONET: The Earth Observatory Natural Event Tracker. More and more NASA imagery is being made available via web services (WMS, WMTS, etc.) and a significant percentage of it is being produced and published in near real time (within a few hours after acquisition). This ability means that NASA imagery can be used more routinely to examine current natural events as they happen.

The public can currently browse the entire globe using specialized client applications (e.g., NASA WorldView, Google Earth) to look for natural events as they occur. Storms are regularly spotted in the tropics, dust storms over deserts, forest fires in the summers. These events are occurring constantly and NASA imagery can represent them all using a variety of different data parameters. However, the user’s experience is guided, and therefore restricted, by the client application. What if there was an API that provided a curated collection of natural events and provided a way to link those events to event-related image layers? What if this API enabled developers to build their own client applications? Enter EONET.

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What’s Up in the Atmosphere? (Elementary)

New Elementary GLOBE book on aerosols, with four activities: See the Light, Up in the Air, Why (Not) So Blue?, and Sky Observers.

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NASA eClips: Real World (Middle School)

NASA eClips™ are short, relevant educational video segments. These videos inspire and engage students, helping them see real world connections. The Real World series of NASA eClips™ connects classroom mathematics to 21st century careers and innovations and are designed for middle school students to develop an appreciation for mathematics through real-world problem solving. Following are new NASA eClips available on the NASA Wavelength catalogue.

Ozone Alerts

In this video clip, learn how NASA’s SAGE III instrument is providing valuable information to help understand how our global Earth system is changing. Find out the difference between good ozone and bad ozone.

ICESat-2 and Earth’s Cryosphere

In this video clip, learn about the cryosphere – all of Earth’s frozen structures including sea ice, ice caps, and permafrost. Understanding changes in the cryosphere provides scientists with valuable information about the past, present, and future.

What is Soil Moisture?

In this video clip, see how NASA measures soil moisture from space with the Soil Moisture Active Passive Mission, or SMAP. Learn to calculate soil moisture in your own backyard and discover the real world applications for this data.

Global Cloud Observation Day

In this video clip, learn about precipitation and how clouds are formed. Find out why scientists study clouds and how students can help NASA collect cloud observation data.

Lightning Protection System for Launch Complex 39

See how NASA is using a rolling spheres lightning protection system to expand the cone of safety currently used on Launch Complex 39.

History of Winter – Abiotic Conditions

In this video clip, join scientists and teachers as they learn how to measure some of the abiotic conditions of winter.

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