July 2014

Teacher Submissions
Partner Announcements
Windows to the Universe Facebook Group

Enjoy Summer!
by Roberta

Summertime is upon us (for those of us in the northern hemisphere!).  I hope you are enjoying a pleasant break, with a chance to get out and see some beautiful sights that remind us of why we do what we do!  Up here in the northeast, we are finally enjoying some really lovely weather, and gardens are ablaze with flowers. 

Summer brings a chance to prepare for the coming year at Windows to the Universe, and we are busily preparing for our fall conferences at NSTAs in Richmond, Orlando, and Long Beach.  We will soon send out a notice of all our sessions at the upcoming conferences, and we hope to see many of you there.  In the meantime, we are still offering web seminars on planetary science and astronomy associated with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Galileo Educators Network project (funded by NASA).  Upcoming web seminars include (all offered at 7-8 pm Eastern):

  • July 2 - Using Authentic Data for Space Science Education
  • July 23 - Using Freeware for Analysis in Space Science Education
  • August 27 - Distances in Space and How We Know Them
  • September 9 - Comets, Dwarf Planets, and Asteroids
  • September 24 - Tides and Orbital Motions of the Earth-Moon System

Note that we send participants that attend the full web seminar a link to a personalized certificate documenting their participation in the web seminar, for their own advancement purposes.  Recordings of past web seminars are available on the Windows to the Universe web seminar page, and Windows to the Universe Educator Members can download the PowerPoint files used in the web seminar for their own class use!  All of this is available from the Windows to the Universe web seminar page

Based on the success of these web seminars, we will soon be expanding our web seminars to cover additional topics, including a set of web seminars for teachers on climate change, with updates on both the recent IPCC 5th Assessment and the recently released National Climate Assessment

As you start getting ready for the fall semester, you might consider looking into our course management tools available for Windows to the Universe Educator Members including course web-pages, quizzes, assignment upload and download, and more! 

Now that you might have a chance to read something in peace, perhaps this is a good time to direct your attention to the free issues of the National Earth Science Teacher's Association's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist.  These openly available issues have been sponsored by organizations that share our mission to provide access to exemplary K-12 Earth and space science educational resources and professional development for educators.  The issues are available on the NESTA website under the Past Issue Archive, and are indicated by a little "Free PDF" cloud graphic at the upper left of the title. 

Of course, members of NESTA have access to all of the issues, and receive them either in print (frequently including beautiful posters), or can access them online as PDFs.  If you're not a member, please join today!  Not only do you have access to this great publication, but you also receive NESTA's monthly e-newsletter, and you provide support for NESTA's efforts to advance Earth and space science education at the K-12 level. 

In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

  Site and Science News

Help Support the Windows to the Universe Earth and Space Science Education Newsletter

If this newsletter is useful to you, please consider a charitable contribution to the Windows to the Universe project at the National Earth Science Teachers Association Producing this free newsletter alone costs about $1500 each month! 

Thanks to donations by dozens of individuals, we have received over $700 in support of this newsletter.  If everyone that subscribes to this newsletter donated just $5, our newsletter production costs would be covered for the entire year!  Better yet, become an Educator Member, and get access to all the resources and services available through Windows to the Universe - without advertising, too! 

NESTA/Windows to the Universe Web Seminars

We are happy to announce a series of free web seminars offered by NESTA and Windows to the Universe on topics in space science, planetary science, and astronomy.  The series will feature Ardis Herrold (NESTA Past-President, 35-year science teacher, planetarium director, and JPL Solar System Ambassador Master Teacher) and Roberta Johnson (PhD, Geophysics and Space Physics; NESTA Executive Director; Clinical Professor, University at Albany; Director, Windows to the Universe).  All seminars will be at 7 pm Eastern and will continue approximately every three weeks through the end of September 2014.  Our next web seminar is on July 2 and will focus on Using Authentic Data for Space Science Education.  Register and find out more on the Windows to the Universe Web Seminar page.  

Please Add Us to Your Address Book!

To our newsletter subscribers:
Unfortunately, our newsletters sometimes end up in your junk folder or are rejected by your email provider's spam filters.  Also, some spam filtering systems require all senders to respond to a system-sent email to confirm they are not spammers.  Our newsletter goes to thousands of users and we are not able to deal with these individual requests.  To continue receiving the Windows to the Universe newsletter in your mailbox, please add windows@windows2universe.org to your address book.  If you wish to change your email address or unsubscribe from the newsletter, please log in to the members' area.

Rosetta Off to Decipher a Comet's Secrets

"Hello World."  Upon hearing that brief message, scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) and followers around the world sent up a collective cheer!  Rosetta - the ESA spacecraft currently on a 10-year mission to orbit and land on a comet - awoke in January after a three-year hibernation, and was ready to get to work.

The Rosetta spacecraft launched on March 2, 2004, and will study Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  In August, Rosetta will enter the comet's orbit.  By November, scientists will plant a lander on the comet, in the hope of learning more about the conditions at the dawn of our solar system.

Read all about Rosetta's mission and what scientists hope to learn about our origins in the July issue of EARTH Magazine.

The Most Colorful View of the Universe

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have assembled a new picture of the evolving universe that is among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 image is a composite of separate exposures taken from 2003 to 2012.  These exposures combine measurements made in near-infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light, and the resulting image shows nearly 10,000 different galaxies that date back in time to within a few hundred million years of the Big Bang.

For Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 images and more information about Hubble, click here.

The U.S. Clean Power Plan Proposal

On June 2nd, at the direction of President Obama and after an unprecedented outreach effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States.  The Proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment, and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power.

By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids.  The hope is that the Power Plan will spur innovation and strengthen the economy.

Some things to know about the proposed plan:
1) Fights climate change:  Our climate is changing, and we're feeling the dangerous and costly effects today.
2) Protects public health:  Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S.  Although there are limits for other pollutants like arsenic and mercury, there are currently no national limits on carbon.  Americans will see significant public health and climate benefits now and for future generations.  Ex:  Yearly, Plan could help us avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits.
3) Cuts particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit.
4) Shrinks electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.
5) Key is flexibility and putting states in the driver's seat:  With EPA's flexible proposal, states choose the ways we cut carbon pollution, so we can still have affordable, reliable power to grow our economy.

For more information, view the following fact sheets:

Find out more about this proposal, how you can comment, and what you can do at #ActOnClimate.

New Space Observatory to Study Carbon Conundrums

NASA’s first spacecraft dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere is set for a July 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.  The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission will provide a more complete, global picture of the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as their “sinks,” the natural ocean and land processes by which carbon dioxide is pulled out of Earth’s atmosphere and stored.

Once launched, OCO-2 will assume a near-polar orbit roughly 438 miles above the Earth.  It will become the lead satellite in a constellation of five other international Earth monitoring satellites that circle Earth once every 99 minutes and cross the equator each day near 1:36 p.m. local time, making a wide range of nearly simultaneous Earth observations.

The spacecraft will sample the global geographic distribution of the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide and allow scientists to study their changes over time more completely than can be done with any existing data.  Currently, less than half the carbon dioxide emitted into Earth’s atmosphere by human activities stays there.  Some of the remainder is absorbed by Earth’s ocean, but the location and identity of the natural land sinks believed to be absorbing the rest are not known.  OCO-2 scientists hope to coax these sinks out of hiding and resolve a longstanding scientific puzzle.

Find out more information about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 or follow OCO-2 on Twitter at https://twitter.com/IamOCO2

Upcoming Undersea Missions

NASA is returning to the bottom of the ocean.  Twice this summer, aquanauts participating in the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) will conduct activities on the ocean floor that will inform future International Space Station and space exploration activities.

These studies provide information that correlates directly to life aboard the space station, where crew members must frequently perform critical tasks that present constraining factors similar to those experienced in an undersea environment.

NEEMO 18, a nine-day mission beginning July 21, will focus on studies in behavioral health and performance, human health issues, and habitability.  Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will command NEEMO 18.  He will be joined by NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps and Mark Vande Hei and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

NEEMO 19, which begins September 7 and runs seven days, will focus on the evaluation of tele-mentoring operations for ESA.  Telementoring is when a crew member is given instruction for a task by an expert who is located remotely but is virtually present via a video and voice connection.  NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik will command this second mission.  He will be joined by Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, and Herve Stevenin, ESA’s Head of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Training at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany.

The NEEMO crews will live 62 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, 5.4 nautical miles off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, in Florida International University’s undersea research habitat Aquarius Reef Base, along with two professional habitat technicians.  Both NEEMO missions will include EVA objectives and engineering investigations to mature technologies and training techniques for use on the space station and in asteroid exploration. 

What's in a Name? Atlantic Hurricanes!

It has been a very calm start to the 2014 hurricane season for the Atlantic basin (with no named storms yet for the month of June).  The hurricane season traditionally begins on June 1st of every year, and lasts until the end of November.  NOAA’s 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook indicates that a near-normal or below-normal hurricane season is likely this year.  On the whole, as climate change warms ocean waters long-term, hurricanes will become more frequent.

Did you ever wonder how hurricanes get their names?  All tropical storms with winds reaching 39 mph or higher are given names to make it easier to refer to them and track them.  For many years, storms were named based on the saint’s holiday they occurred on, but in the mid-1950’s, the U.S. Weather Service began using female first names for storms.  In 1979, male first names were added, and as storms occurred, they were given a name based on an alphabetical list that has one name for every letter in the alphabet except for Q, X, and Z.  The first storm of the season has a name that starts with A, the second storm has a name that starts with B, and so on.  In the Atlantic, all names are English, Spanish, or French, since those are the dominant languages spoken by the countries affected by the storms. (Of course, names for the Pacific Basins and other areas are different.)

The World Meteorological Organization has 6 lists of names that rotate, each one being used once every six years.  The names alternate from male to female, and a name is replaced on a list only if it represents a storm that was particularly costly or deadly.  The 2014 Atlantic names start with Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, and Dolly.  Let's hope Arthur and Bertha are long in coming!

Be sure to prepare for a hurricane before it strikes.  Individuals, communities, and businesses can plan ahead by reviewing EPA's suggestions for what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.  And check in at NOAA's National Hurricane Center to see any updates regarding tropical storm or hurricane activity for the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific basins.

A Picture is Worth – A Lot!

A good photo or illustration can make teaching a difficult topic so much easier – especially for younger learners and for visual learners of all ages.  Check out our Image Galleries and use the images freely in your classroom!  We update these image galleries frequently, so check back often.

NESTA also hosts a great geoscience image collection and you are encouraged to submit photos of your own for relevant topics.  The Earth Science World Image Bank is a service provided by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI).  Finally, NASA has combined its entire past image archives into one impressive site that you can easily search.  You won’t be disappointed looking through the NASA Images web site.  Enjoy!

Travel the Ecosystems of the World!

Are you on summer vacation?  If so, what a great time to visit a new ecosystem!

Can't take a trip right now?  Then take yourself on a virtual trip by visiting the ecosystems section of Windows to the Universe.  There you can travel from the tropical rainforest to the Arctic tundra with just the click of your mouse.  Explore the desert, temperate forests, or grasslands.  Or perhaps you'd rather head to the ocean?  Whether you are taking a virtual trip or an actual trip this summer, be safe and have fun!

Apollo 11's 45th Anniversary

Do you remember where you were when Neil Armstrong took his "one small step?"  For those of us over 45 years old, this question reminds us of a defining moment in our lives.  Did you know that about 2/3 of the >7.2 billion people alive today were born after the moon landing -- including most teachers and all of your students?

The first manned moon landing took place on July 20, 1969.  At 8:17 pm (GMT/UTC), Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, nicknamed Eagle, on the Sea of Tranquility.

When the Eagle was safely on the surface of the moon, Neil radioed mission control in Houston, Texas, saying, “Tranquility base here - the Eagle has landed.”  It’s been estimated that over half a billion people around the world watched when Neil stepped onto the lunar surface over 6 hours later.  After Neil said his famous line - "That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” - he was joined by Buzz Aldrin, and they spent the next 2 1/2 hours taking photographs, collecting samples, and setting up experimental instruments.

Of all the people who have flown in outer space, only 12 people have walked on the moon (and all walked on the moon in just 3 1/2 years - between July 1969 and December 1972).

Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower

Every day, about 100 tons of meteoroids -- fragments of dust and gravel and sometimes even big rocks – enter the Earth's atmosphere.  Stand out under the stars for more than a half an hour on a clear night and you'll likely see a few of the meteors produced by the onslaught.  But where does all this stuff come from?  Surprisingly, the answer is not well known.

The Delta Aquarids meteor shower, which occurs steadily throughout late July and early August, is thought to be caused by Earth crossing through the orbit of an unknown comet.  The meteors radiate from the constellation Aquarius, for which the shower is named.  The shower produces approximately 15 meteors per hour and the optimal viewing time is an hour or two before dawn.  Meteor watchers in tropical latitudes (both in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Northern Hemisphere) enjoy the best views.  The peak of this year's shower will happen on July 29-30 and a waxing crescent moon (through new moon) will make the rather faint Delta Aquarids easier to see.

If you turn your gaze skyward during the summer and see something you don't recognize, check out the NASA All-sky Fireball Network web site to figure out what you saw.  This site hosts data from a network of cameras that observe and track meteors brighter than the planet Venus (also called fireballs).

  Partner Announcements

Climate Education Resources from NOAA, NASA and CIMSS

Tune in to this 1-hour webinar on Thursday July 10th for updates on trusted climate education resources, starting with NOAA’s climate.gov website, recent recipient of a Webby Award – learn why!  This will be followed by an overview of NASA’s amazing on-line resources and suggested uses in science classrooms.  Finally, a few resources from CIMSS at the UW-Madison will be discussed, including the new Climate Digest product which provides a visually appealing global climate brief every month. 

TO JOIN the session at 11:00 MT on Thursday July 10, 2104, 
1. Go to https://esipfed.webex.com/esipfed/j.php?MTID=m84eb1404b8803924743c96a83c183f62 
2. If a password is required, enter the Meeting Password:  23138379 

Geobiology Resources from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Earth is a dynamic planet that has guided —and been affected by— the evolution of life.  This collection of classroom resources highlights the deep connections between life and environment.  Choose from short films, supporting classroom lessons, posters, animations, online interactives, apps, and lectures.  Many of our resources are targeted to a high school and undergraduate audience, but can be easily adapted to different levels of instruction.  They can be used in a flipped, blended, or traditional classroom.  Visit us at http://www.BioInteractive.org.

DataStreme Atmosphere, Ocean or Earth’s Climate System Courses

Fall and Spring Semesters

The American Meteorological Society’s Education Program offers the DataStreme courses as free professional development for K-12 teachers.  These courses are intended to train educators who will promote the teaching of STEM topics across the K-12 curriculum.  Successful participants will receive three free graduate credits through these semester-long courses in meteorology, oceanography or climate science.  Precollege educators who teach classes with STEM content are encouraged to apply.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ametsoc.org/amsedu/

Digital Earth Watch and Picture Post Network - Activities and Tools for Observing and Measuring Environmental Change

The land, water, and air around us are changing.  Often, the changes are subtle and we cannot see them without the help of modern technology.

Repeat photographs reveal measurable changes in vegetation including phenology, growth patterns and plant health, snow and water levels, and sky conditions.  A Picture Post is an easy-to-build platform for collecting panoramic photographic data from the same vantage point.  Participants upload their pictures and share findings on the Picture Post website.  As a whole, the Network contributes to national climate change monitoring programs.

Collecting pictures is just the beginning!  Picture Post and Digital Earth Watch (DEW) are online resources for educators, students, communities, and citizens to design and carry out investigations, challenges, and environmental stewardship projects with low-cost, do-it-yourself tools and a free software program, Analyzing Digital Images (ADI), that measures spatial features in a picture and analyzes plant health based on color.

For more information, contact Dr. Annette Schloss, University of New Hampshire, 446 Morse Hall, Durham, NH 03824.  Email: picturepostsupport@picturepost.unh.edu  Phone: (603)862-0348

The Picture Post Network is part of the Digital Earth Watch (DEW) environmental-monitoring program.  Picture Post is based at the University of New Hampshire and was developed with funding from NASA.

The American Geophysical Union

The American Geophysical Union, a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing more than 62,000 members in 142 countries, is dedicated to the furtherance of the Earth and space sciencesand to communicating our science’s ability to benefit humanity.  We achieve these goals through publishing scientific journals and other technical publications, sponsoring scientific meetings, supporting education and outreach programs designed to increase public understanding of and support for our science, and a variety of other activities.

  Sponsored Announcements

$125,000 Salary for Master Science Middle School Teachers!

The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School is currently seeking outstanding science teacher candidates.

Featured in The New York Times and on 60 Minutes, TEP is the school that pays its teachers a $125,000 salary to work on a team of master practitioners in an environment that values and develops teaching excellence.  We are currently hiring 5th-8th grade teachers with significant K-12 lead teaching experience.

TEP is a 5th through 8th grade middle school serving low-income students in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.  In each of the past 2 years, TEP has earned an overall grade of “A” from the NYC Department for Education and placed in the top 10% of all public middle schools in New York City.

Apply now, or forward this opportunity to any science teacher whom you feel would be a good match for TEP.  Application process details can be found at www.tepcharter.org/apply.php.

  Calendar of Events

July is UV Safety Month

July is UV Safety Month.  We can all use this month to raise awareness about skin cancer and help people take action to prevent it – both at home and in the larger community.

Summer is here (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere at least!), and with it comes trips to the beach or pool.  When you go outside this summer, make sure to wear your sunglasses and to slather on sunscreen.  Ultraviolet "light" can cause sunburn or even skin cancer (melanoma can affect even teens and young adults).  UV radiation can also damage your eyes.  Fortunately, our atmosphere's ozone layer absorbs most ultraviolet radiation before it reaches us on the ground.  Thanks to our protective atmosphere, a few simple precautions can help keep us safe from the remainder of this potentially dangerous type of radiation!

Check out the EPA's recommendations for sun safety and find out how to spread the word about UV Safety.

NASA Launches Earth Science Challenges with OpenNEX Cloud Data

NASA is launching two challenges to give the public an opportunity to create innovative ways to use data from the agency’s Earth science satellites.

The challenges will use the Open NASA Earth Exchange.  OpenNEX is a data, supercomputing and knowledge platform where users can share modeling and analysis codes, scientific results, knowledge and expertise to solve big data challenges in the Earth sciences.  A component of the NASA Earth Exchange, OpenNEX provides users a large collection of climate and Earth science satellite data sets, including global land surface images, vegetation conditions, climate observations and climate projections.

“OpenNEX provides the general public with easy access to an integrated Earth science computational and data platform,” said Rama Nemani, principal scientist for the NEX project at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.  “These challenges allow citizen scientists to realize the value of NASA data assets and offers NASA new ideas on how to share and use that data.”

The first "ideation" stage of the challenge, which runs July 1 through August 1, offers as much as $10,000 in awards for ideas on novel uses of the datasets.  The second "builder" stage, beginning in August, will offer between $30,000 and $50,000 in awards for the development of an application or algorithm that promotes climate resilience using the OpenNEX data, based on ideas from the first stage of the challenge.  NASA will announce the overall challenge winners in December.

To educate citizen scientists on how the data on OpenNEX can be used, NASA is releasing a series of online video lectures and hands-on lab modules.  To view this material, and for information on registering for the challenges, visit:  https://nex.nasa.gov/OpenNEX

Be an Asteroid Hunter in NASA's First Asteroid Grand Challenge Contest Series

NASA’s Asteroid Data Hunter contest series will offer $35,000 in awards over the next months to citizen scientists who develop improved algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids.

Managed by the NASA Tournament Lab, the entire contest series runs through August and is the first contest series contributing to the agency’s Asteroid Grand Challenge.  This contest series is being conducted in partnership with Planetary Resources Inc. of Bellevue, WA.

“Protecting the planet from the threat of asteroid impact means first knowing where they are,” said Jenn Gustetic, Prizes and Challenges Program executive.  “By opening up the search for asteroids, we are harnessing the potential of innovators and makers and citizen scientists everywhere to help solve this global challenge.”

NASA Invites Public to Send Names to Asteroid Bennu

NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip that will be on a spacecraft headed to the asteroid Bennu in 2016.

The "Messages to Bennu!" microchip will travel to the asteroid aboard the agency's Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft.  The robotic mission will spend more than two years at the 1,760-foot (500-meter)-wide asteroid.  The spacecraft will collect a sample of Bennu's surface and return it to Earth in a sample return capsule.

"We're thrilled to be able to share the OSIRIS-REx adventure with people across the Earth, to Bennu and back," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission from the University of Arizona in Tucson.  "It's a great opportunity for people to get engaged with the mission early and join us as we prepare for launch."

Those wishing to participate in "Messages to Bennu!" should submit their name online no later than Sept. 30 at:  http://planetary.org/bennu

After a person submits their name, they will be able to download and print a certificate documenting their participation in the OSIRIS-REx mission.  "You'll be part of humankind's exploration of the solar system - How cool is that?" said Bill Nye, chief executive officer of The Planetary Society, the organization collecting and processing the entries.

Earth Science Week 2014: ‘Earth’s Connected Systems’

AGI is pleased to announce that the theme of Earth Science Week 2014 (October 12-18) will be “Earth’s Connected Systems.”  This year’s event will promote awareness of the dynamic interactions of the planet’s natural systems.

Earth Science Week 2014 learning resources and activities will engage young people and others in exploring the ways that geoscience illuminates natural change processes.  By deepening our understanding of interactions of Earth systems - geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere - Earth science helps us manage our greatest challenges and make the most of vital opportunities.

“With this theme, Earth Science Week cuts to the core of Earth science and what it means to society,” says Geoff Camphire, AGI’s Manager of Outreach.  “The interactions of Earth systems are at the heart of our most critical issues, from energy and the environment to climate change and emerging economic realities.  No matter where we come from or where we’re going, we all need to understand Earth’s connected systems.”

Reaching over 50 million people a year, Earth Science Week offers opportunities to discover the Earth sciences and engage in responsible stewardship of the Earth.  The program is supported by the U.S. Geological Survey; the AAPG Foundation; the National Park Service; NASA; Esri; National Geographic; the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration; the Geological Society of America; and the American Geophysical Union.  To learn more, go to http://www.earthsciweek.org.

NASA Offers Space Tech Grants to Early Career University Faculty

NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of outstanding faculty members who are beginning their independent careers.  The grants will sponsor research in high priority areas of interest to America's space program.

NASA expects to award about five grants this fall, funded up to $200,000 each per year for as many as three years, based on the merit of proposals and availability of funds.  Funded research will investigate unique space technologies in areas such as soft machines for robotic mobility and manipulation, science-based digital materials and manufacturing, and low size, weight, and power lasers.

For information on the solicitation, including specific technology areas of interest and how to submit notices of intent and proposals, click here.   Deadline to submit proposals is Thursday, December 18, 2014.

  Other Announcements

Environmental Summer Reading List by Project Learning Tree

Do you want to motivate your students to learn more about the environment over the summer?  Would you like to brush up on some nature literature yourself?  During summer break, it's the perfect time to check out Project Learning Tree's Environmental Summer Reading List that will help students (and teachers) develop the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and leadership they will need to tackle the environmental challenges of the future.

This list is sorted according to age group.  Please take a look – we hope you find something inspiring for your students – and maybe even for yourself!

Looking for Something to Fill Those Summer Hours? Check Out This NOAA Activity Book!

NOAA has a great activity book about the principles of climate science - Discover Your Changing World With NOAA has ten activities to keep your kids and students engaged this summer.

Chapters include:

  • How does the Sun drive Earth's climate system?
  • How have plants, animals, and humans affected Earth's climate?
  • How do the ocean, ice, clouds, and atmospheric gases affect the impact of the Sun's energy on the Earth?
  • How may Earth's changing climate affect plants, animals, and humans?

Are your students ready to discover their changing world?  This free activity book will introduce students to The Essential Principles of Climate Science, and they will learn what they can do to explore, understand, and protect our Earth.  Download the full activity book or complete individual activities and have fun!

Encourage Your Students To Be Junior Paleontologists

The National Park Service’s Junior Paleontologist program seeks to engage young people in activities that allow them to discover the significance of fossils and the science of paleontology, and introduces them to the national park system and to the mission of the National Park Service.

Besides learning about Earth’s history, ancient life, and past changes to climate and environments, Junior Paleontologists explore the ways paleontologists work to protect fossils found in more than 230 national park areas that preserve these scientific resources.  This is a great way to prepare for the third annual National Fossil Day, taking place on Wednesday, October 15, during Earth Science Week 2014 (October 12-18). 

The Junior Paleontologist Program is a part of the National Park Service's Junior Ranger Program, which aims to connect young people to their national parks.  Download the Junior Paleontologist Activity Booklet for children ages 5 to 12 here.

Disney's Friends for a Change

If you're looking for a way as a parent or as a teacher to get your teens and tweens involved in a fun, safe environmental movement, you should take a look at Disney's Friends for Change.  It encourages kids to get involved to help the planet in a variety of ways.  And as you can imagine coming from Disney - they make things just plain fun!

'Disk Detective' Lets Public Search for New Planetary Nurseries

NASA is inviting the public to help astronomers discover embryonic planetary systems hidden among data from the agency's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission through a new website, DiskDetective.org.  Disk Detective is NASA's largest crowdsourcing project whose primary goal is to produce publishable scientific results.  

The WISE mission was designed to survey the entire sky at infrared wavelengths.  It took detailed measurements on more than 745 million objects, representing the most comprehensive survey of the sky at mid-infrared wavelengths currently available.  Astronomers have used computers to search this haystack of data for planet-forming environments and narrowed the field to about a half-million sources that shine brightly in the infrared, indicating they may be "needles":  dust-rich disks that are absorbing their star's light and reradiating it as heat.  But galaxies, interstellar dust clouds, and asteroids also glow in the infrared, which stymies automated efforts to identify planetary habitats.  There may be thousands of nascent solar systems in the WISE data, but the only way to know for sure is to inspect each source by eye, which poses a monumental challenge.

Disk Detective incorporates images from WISE and other sky surveys in brief animations the website calls flip books.  Volunteers view a flip book and classify the object based on simple criteria, such as whether the image is round or includes multiple objects.  By collecting this information, astronomers will be able to assess which sources should be explored in greater detail, for example, to search for planets outside our solar system.

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures

The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures, featuring noted scientists giving nontechnical illustrated lectures on recent developments in astronomy, are now available on their own YouTube Channel at:  AstronomyLectures.  The talks are also available for direct download and you may listen to them as mp3 files.  Recent topics include:

The lectures are taped at Foothill College near San Francisco, and are co-sponsored by NASA's Ames Research Center, the SETI Institute, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

GeoWord of the Day From the AGI

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has a free GeoWord of the Day service.  GeoWord of the Day is a fun and convenient way to learn a new geoscience term every day.  Each morning (US ET), the service will highlight a new word or term featured in the Glossary of Geology, ensuring daily authoritative terms and definitions for years to come.  Users may choose to receive the GeoWord of Day directly through email by subscribing online.

Space Math @ NASA

Are you looking for a way to bring math into your geoscience curriculum?  Check out the Space Math @ NASA site posted by Dr. Sten Odenwald.  To date, there are over 680 problems posted!  Problems range from upper elementary to high school level, and use math to solve real problems in the Earth and space sciences!

Take a Second for the Environment!

Did you know there are over 80,000 seconds in a day?  Individual environmental actions only take a few seconds.  Together, we can make a huge impact with simple everyday actions.  NEEF invites you to learn about the environment and see how just a few seconds add up to a huge impact.

Watch NEEF's Take a Second video and be inspired, learn from the EPA how simple everyday environmental actions add up to a huge impact, and share how you are taking a few seconds for the environment to help inspire others at takeasec.org.

Are You Weather-Ready? Be a Force of Nature with NEEF

From floods and drought to heat waves and tornado outbreaks, the United States experienced 7 weather and climate disasters in 2013, each with losses in excess of one billion dollars.  Severe weather can strike at any time, anywhere, and it affects all of us.

Be a Force of Nature:  NEEF (National Environmental Education Foundation) is proud to be recognized as a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador and recommends taking a few minutes to know your risk, prepare for severe weather, and share your knowledge and actions with friends, family, and your community.

For more information, graphics, and resources, visit earthgauge.net/beaforce.

SEED Program and Web Site

SEED (Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development) is a volunteer-based, nonprofit education program that empowers Schlumberger employee volunteers and educators to share their passion for learning and science with students aged 10 to 18.  The SEED “learning while doing” methodology draws on the technology and science expertise of volunteers to engage students in global issues such as water, energy, and climate change.

SEED’s School Network Program invites qualified underserved schools to apply for grants that provide various resources, typically including funding for computer hardware and software, and Internet connectivity.  Educational programs offer students and educators in SEED network schools hands-on workshops and online activities using a project-based approach.

The Online Science Center provides educational resources and opportunities to learners and educators in seven languages:  Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.  Learning materials include ready-to-go SEED experiments, activities, and articles from the Online Science Center.  Find out more at http://www.planetseed.com/home.

Earth Gauge Online Weather and Environment Courses

Earth Gauge provides a series of free, online courses and training materials that address the connections between weather and environment.  Appropriate for adult learners, the courses cover topics including Climate Change, Weather and Health, Weather and the Built Environment, and Watersheds.  

Project Learning Tree Blog

If you’re like most educators, you want your students to have a deep understanding of the environmental issues in our country – but if you’re like most educators, you probably also have difficulty incorporating environmental education into a classroom schedule that’s already packed. And with the proliferation of new standards, your job isn’t getting any easier.

Project Learning Tree works to support teachers like you by creating environmental education materials and curriculum resources that link with existing educational mandates, such as the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, National Social Studies Standards, as well as state-specific learning standards.

With Project Learning Tree, you can help your students develop the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and leadership they will need to tackle the environmental problems of the future – all while enhancing student achievement.  Please visit the PLT blog to see what curriculum resources and activities might fit your needs and teaching standards.

Visit EPA's Blogs

Join the conversation(s)!  EPA's blogs are organized under the "Greenversations" group to make it easier to find topics you're interested in.  Here's a sneak peek:

Conversando Acerca de Nuestro Medio Ambiente:  http://blog.epa.gov/espanol

Environmental Justice in Action:  http://blog.epa.gov/ej

EPA Connect (Leadership Blog):  http://blog.epa.gov/epaconnect/

It All Starts With Science:  http://blog.epa.gov/science

It's Our Environment:  http://blog.epa.gov/blog/

Other blogs are location-specific and cover New York City, the Mid-Atlantic or the Midwest regions of the U.S.

Table of Contents


Support Newsletter
W2U Web Seminars
Address Book
Rosetta Comet Secret
Colorful Universe
Clean Power Prop
Spacecraft - Carbon
Undersea Missions
Hurricanes 2014!
A Picture is Worth
Ecosystems Section
Apollo 11 Anniv
Delta Aquarid MS

Climate Ed Resources
Geobiology HHMI
DataStreme Courses
DEW & Picture Post
Am Geophysical Union

Science Teacher Job

UV Safety Month
ES Challenge
Asteroid Hunters!
Send Name-Asteroid
ES Week 2014 Connect
Space Tech Grants

Env Summer Reading
NOAA Activity Book
Junior Paleo
Disney's Friends
Disk Detective
Si Valley Astronomy
GeoWord of the Day
Space Math @ NASA
Take a Second
SEED Program
Earth Gauge Courses
PLT Blog
EPA Blogs














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