ROADS on Mars (soft) launch 🚀

Thank you to everyone who patiently waited out our technical difficulties yesterday and was able to join us for our launch of the ROADS on Mars Challenge.

Our sincerest apologies to everyone who tried to join us and encountered our meeting ID error problem.

For everyone who couldn’t join us, or who just wants to review the information presented, you can access a video of the meeting on our YouTube channel. The video is also presented below for convenience, followed by a list of the questions asked during the Q&A session.

Full details coming soon

Challenge manual — The final, official version of the ROADS on Mars Challenge manual will be available by the end of this week. We do have a draft version available for your perusal.

Registration — Registration for the ROADS challenge will also open by the end of this week.

Zoom meeting video

NESSP Director Robert Winglee provides a quick walking tour of the ROADS on Mars Challenge. Assistance provided by:

  • Kay Ratcliff — Field scientist
  • John Correy — Roboticist
  • Tedrick Mealy — Drone pilot
  • Christina Jarvis — Hub liaison
  • Mary Denmon — Q&A moderator
  • Chris Wallish — Camera crew

Questions from the Zoom meeting

What does someone need to do if they want to host the Challenge?

Contact Christina at cjarv@uw.edu. She’ll provide you with a document outlining a hub’s responsibilities, and then you’ll discuss with her all of the details about going forward.

How do we buy the 3D map online?

Also contact Christina! She’ll give you all the info you need to order from our partner, Seattle Design and Print. Christina’s email is: cjarv@uw.edu.

NESSP will provide maps to all hubs, so confirmed hubs don’t need to worry about ordering their own.

NESSP will also provide materials and information on how to create the 3D aspects of the map, including the crater.

What are the Challenge dates?

It depends on each regional hub. The Washington regional hub challenge will be Sunday, April 5, 2020, at the University of Washington in Seattle.

When will registration open?

By the end of this week.

Is NESSP using Google Drive for Challenge documents?

Yes, hubs will have access to a Google Drive with all documents. There is also a Google Drive for educators. To request access, email Christina: cjarv@uw.edu.

Is the manual online?

Yes! A draft manual is available now. The final, official Challenge manual will be online by the end of this week.

Four days ’til Mars

Are you ready for what comes after the giant leap? NASA’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline invites you to join us on September 23 for the launch of the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge!

When

Monday, September 23
1 p.m. Pacific Time

Where

Online — The launch will be via Zoom meeting. Details below.

About ROADS

NESSP’s previous project, the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge, gave students the opportunity to recreate Apollo 11’s moon landing using drones and robots. In total, more than 3,000 students participated in the challenge, with the top teams from 15 hubs across the U.S. receiving trips either to Johnson Space Center or Goddard Space Flight Center. The challenge also engaged educators in professional development, with over 300 educators receiving training through the program.

The ROADS on Mars challenge aims to provide similar hands-on experiences for students and educators, this time following in the steps of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. Student teams will, again, pilot a drone to land on the surface — in the Jezero crater on Mars, just as the rover will — and will then use a LEGO Mindstorms robot to navigate the surface and complete science objectives. ROADS stands for “rover observation and drone survey,” which are key components of the Mars challenge.

But ROADS on Mars also introduces several mini-challenges that will incorporate biological and geological concepts. Mars 2020 will be searching Mars for signs of past life, and student teams will likewise explore their local environments to identify biosignatures. Teams will also investigate both how craters are formed and the effects of erosion on a landscape.

The challenge will culminate in final events across the U.S. in the spring. Top teams will win trips to Kennedy Space Center to watch the launch of Mars 2020 in the summer!

Joining us for the ROADS launch

The NESSP staff will convene a meeting via Zoom, an online video conferencing service. Staff will present an overview of the challenge as well as brief demonstrations. There will be Q&A at the end. Budget approximately one hour to attend this virtual launch, especially if you’d like to be sure your questions are answered. A video recording of the Zoom meeting will be available later in the week.

You can join the meeting either via the Zoom service or by simply calling in on the phone.

Joining online

https://washington.zoom.us/j/216199324

Joining via phone

+1-669-900-6833,,216199324# US (San Jose)
+1-646-876-9923,,216199324# US (New York)

ROADS details and registration

The full challenge manual will be available on our website the day of the launch. Registration for the challenge will also open the day of the launch.

Questions

If you have questions about the launch, please contact Christina Jarvis at cjarv@uw.edu .

Resources for educators

Demo videos for some aspects of the challenge are available on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1p2GTGjWAoiE_sAE7LeZQrtfl0KzdWml

More resources for educators will be available via Google Drive after the launch. To be added to our distribution list, please contact Christina Jarvis at cjarv@uw.edu.

Ground control to UW campus — Seeking campus-savvy volunteers for lunar mission

Have you, too, heard the call of space and wondered how you can respond? NASA’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP), headed by Washington NASA Space Grant and based out of Johnson Hall, invites you to join us on our next mission — to the moon.

Black and white image showing 5 pairs of feet standing on a map of the lunar surface.

On Friday, July 19, 2019, teams of middle- and high-school students from around Washington state will convene on the UW campus in Seattle for NESSP’s Apollo Next Giant Leap Student (ANGLeS) Challenge. The ANGLeS Challenge is a national challenge celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by giving students the chance to recreate the moon landing using drones and robots, focusing on making it accessible for underrepresented and underserved communities. The July 19 event at the UW is the final event for teams in Washington state, who have worked throughout the spring on honing their skills in flying drones to deliver their lunar module to the moon, programming their robot to traverse the lunar landscape, and working together as a team to overcome mission challenges. The team who achieves the highest score at the UW event will win a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they’ll join other top teams from across the country and participate in a showcase of the Challenge.

How can you help? NESSP is looking for volunteers from the UW community to assist us as mission support staff. Enthusiasm for space is helpful, as is an enjoyment of working with young STEM explorers — but really, the most important qualification you can bring is simply your knowledge of the UW campus. Teams will be arriving from all across Washington state, and with ANGLeS Challenge events happening at several campus locations all day long we could use your help in keeping everything running smoothly and teams pointed in the right direction as they move between buildings.

We have volunteer shifts in two hours and four hours. If you’d like to sign up, please complete this Google Form (sign-in is required). If you have questions, please contact our volunteer coordinator: Mary Denmon — maryd1@uw.edu. All volunteers will receive a small “thank you” gift commemorating the event.

Deadline to sign up

Sign-up will close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17.

It takes a team to send a mission to the moon. We hope you’ll join our team as we support these students in taking their next giant leap.

ANGLeS Challenge event details

Friday, July 19

  • 8:30 a.m. — Opening ceremony
  • 9:15 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Teams run challenge
  • 6 p.m. — Closing ceremony

Locations

It’s time to post your team’s mission patch!

There are two important deadlines coming in the next week for the ANGLeS Challenge.

April 15 — Deadline for organizations to register. All teams must be associated with an organization, so it’s crucial that the organization registers by the end of the day on Monday, April 15. There’s no penalty for registering and then not participating in the Challenge! We encourage all organizations who think they may be interested to register now and make your decision later so that you don’t miss the registration window.

April 19 — Every NASA mission has a mission patch that illustrates the goal and spirit of the project, where the project originates from, and which institutions are participating. Each team is encouraged to create and submit a Mission Patch. We encourage teams to get creative and design a mission patch that represents themselves, their community, and their mission in the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge.

Please post your Mission Patches to the social media with the hashtags #ApolloNextGiantLeap and #Apollo50, then submit the link to us using the form linked below. Note, you will need your team number (e.g. WA999A) to submit the form, so please have that ready. You can find that number in your registration confirmation email.

https://forms.gle/B7z1i38KWr7CiiCK9

For inspiration, here are some examples of NASA mission patches from over the years. NASA’s description of the Apollo 11 patch states:

The American eagle, symbolic of the United States, was about to land on the Moon. In its talons, an olive branch indicated the crew “came in peace for all mankind.” The Earth, the place from which the crew came and would return safely in order to fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the nation, rested on a field of black, representing the vast unknown of space

ANGLeS Challenge registration extended to April 15!

Have you been thinking about registering for the ANGLeS Challenge, but been worried you won’t have time?

We’re pleased to give you a little more time — the ANGLeS Challenge registration deadline for organizations is now April 15! Read all the details on our registration page to be sure your organization and team(s) have been properly registered. Registration is necessary in order to receive the NASA certificate and, most importantly, to have a chance at one of the grand prize trips to a NASA center!

(There are no penalties for registering now and choosing later to not run the Challenge. If you’re interested, it’s better to register now to be sure your organization/team is signed up, then decide later if you’ll run the Challenge or not.)

Once you’ve registered, check out the resources and supplies pages to make sure you have everything your team needs for the Challenge. And don’t forget the timeline page to make sure all the important deadlines are on your calendar.

See you on the launch pad!

#ApolloNextGiantLeap

Black and white image showing 5 pairs of feet standing on a map of the lunar surface.

Picture yourself on the moon, taking that “one small step” onto the surface.

A side image showing Bobak "Mohawk guy" Ferdowsi's hair during the Mars Curiosity landing.

Or picture yourself in the control room as the next rover is setting down on Mars.

Back in the 1960s, NASA’s Apollo program landed the first humans on the moon.  In the 1970s, NASA sent the Viking probes to Mars. In the 1980s, the Space Shuttle program took astronauts into space on a regular basis and for longer and longer missions.

And now, NASA is looking to the not-too-distant future when humans will step onto the moon again — and when they’ll take that long, giant leap onto Mars.

These University of Washington students demonstrate the challenge involving a lunar lander (left, orange) a Lego Mindstorms robot (center) and rock samples (right).

Now it’s your turn.

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and to prepare for the next giant leap, NASA’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) invites students to enter the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge — the ANGLeS Challenge. Open to students in grades 5-12 across the United States and territories, the event challenges student teams to recreate the Apollo 11 moon landing using a drone and a LEGO Mindstorms robot.

Organizations will run the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge locally to select a team to advance to the nearest regional challenge hub. The top team at each regional challenge hub will earn the grand prize of a trip to a NASA center!

Who can participate?

The ANGLeS Challenge is open to all students in the United States and territories who are in grades 5-12. We encourage everyone to give the challenge a try!

Registration opens February 1, 2019.

What are the prizes?

The top team from each regional challenge hub will receive a trip to Johnson Space Center in August 2019.

The top team from each state, Washington D.C., and territories will receive official recognition, even if your area doesn’t have a regional challenge hub.

What’s the challenge?

Each team will build a replica of the lunar module and use a remote-controlled drone to land it on an 8-by-10-foot map of the moon’s surface. Students will modify and program a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot to then explore the lunar surface and bring back a rock sample.

High school students will also use the drone to retrieve the team’s lunar module and bring it back to the starting line.

Full details of all stages of the challenge will be in the manual, to be available on February 1, 2019.

Where are the regional challenge hubs?

Washington state

What’s the timeline?

February 1 — Registration opens! Register your team and start getting ready for the challenge.

April, May, & June — Practice your drone and robotics skills.

July 15–20 — Regional hubs will hold their final challenges.


UW-based group launches national challenge to recreate first moon landing — with drones and Lego robots

A Lego Mindstorms robot, with a plastic astronaut strapped to the front, approaches the lunar lander. Student teams will program the robot to explore the moon's surface.

A Lego Mindstorms robot, with a plastic astronaut strapped to the front, approaches the lunar lander. Student teams will program the robot to explore the moon’s surface. Dennis Wise/University of Washington

By Hannah Hickey
UW News

On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission landed the first two people on the surface of the moon. NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first steps and famously proclaimed: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

This July will mark the 50th anniversary of that landmark event. The University of Washington’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline is calling on the next generation of astronauts and aeronautical engineers to recreate the historic event using modern technology.

A flying drone carries a lunar lander above a map of the moon's surface. The landing spot is the actual site of the Apollo 11 landing. Other craters that teams will explore are circled in red.

A flying drone carries a lunar lander above a map of the moon’s surface. The landing spot is the actual site of the Apollo 11 landing. Other craters that teams will explore are circled in red. Dennis Wise/University of Washington

At a kickoff event Jan. 30 in Kent, Washington, the organizers will officially open the Apollo 50 Next Giant Leap Student Challenge, known for short as the ANGLeS Challenge, in collaboration with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

“This is a truly interdisciplinary challenge, involving computer programming, robotics, remote sensing and design,” said Robert Winglee, director of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline and a UW professor of Earth and space sciences. “We’re calling it the ‘next giant leap.’”

Teams of students from fifth to 12th grades are invited to participate. Each team will build a replica of the lunar lander and use a remote-controlled drone to land it on an 8-by-10-foot map of the moon’s surface. Students will modify and program a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot to then explore the lunar surface and bring back a rock sample.

High school students will also use the drone to retrieve the team’s lunar module and bring it back to the starting line.

As in a real-life expedition, teams will also create a mission patch, design uniforms, do event outreach and leave a “culturally significant artifact” on the lunar surface.

Organizers emphasize that it’s a challenge, not a contest. Teams will be judged on multiple criteria and can earn various prizes. No experience is required; registration opens Feb. 1.

These University of Washington students demonstrate the challenge involving a lunar lander (left, orange) a Lego Mindstorms robot (center) and rock samples (right).

These University of Washington students demonstrate the challenge involving a lunar lander (left, orange) a Lego Mindstorms robot (center) and rock samples (right). Dennis Wise/University of Washington

The challenge has no entry fee. A $500 kit contains subsidized equipment including the drone and Lego Mindstorms parts, and loaner equipment will be available to schools that qualify. Accommodation at the UW campus will be covered for teams at schools with more than 50 percent subsidized lunches. The organizers will also help all teams with fundraising, and can provide drone and robotics training on request.

“An important aspect of the project is to provide access to NASA science and technology for many of the underserved and underrepresented communities across the U.S.,” Winglee said.

Teams must include one adult to act as the coach, and a five-member “flight crew” all under the age of 18 who will be on the challenge field to pilot the drone, operate the robot, identify rock samples and guide the pilot. Other members of the mixed-grade teams will help with building equipment, designing logos and other off-the-field tasks.

The Northwest challenge will be held in July in Seattle and is open to teams from schools or recognized informal education programs in Washington. Twelve other NASA regional hubs will also host events the week of July 15-20. The winning team from each location will win a trip in early August to visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The initial sponsors of the national challenge are drone maker Force1, NASA, the Museum of Flight, Pacific Science Center and the City of Kent. Organizers are seeking more event sponsors, and volunteers to help advise teams and host the challenges.

The UW-based Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline consortium was created in 2016 with a $10 million cooperative agreement that established a “NASA hub” in the Pacific Northwest. The group conducts teacher trainings, especially in underrepresented communities; its past events include a NASA Pow Wow in Ellensburg and a NASA Fiesta in Seattle.

“Smaller-scale, related STEM efforts in recent years have shown that student participants have increasing interest and skill in doing STEM activities,” Winglee said. “The Apollo effort seeks to expand this effort on a national scale.”

###

More information is at https://nwessp.org/apollo50/. The challenge email is apollo50@uw.edu

Members of the media can contact communications officer Chris Wallish at 206-221-7743 or cwallish@uw.edu.


Originally posted at UW News.

NASA Fiesta in Seattle — Monday, July 9, 2018

As part of a unique NASA weeklong science education training for teachers and educators, the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) will co-host the NASA Fiesta de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (Science and Technology Festival) at El Centro de la Raza in Seattle on Monday, July 9, 2018.

This family friendly event is free and open to the public.

The Fiesta will honor the spirit of joy and gathering through music, food and language, while offering the chance for those young and old to engage in fun activities to learn science through hands-on activities. This event offers an opportunity for the public to come together, meet with NASA scientists, meet old friends and make new ones, while celebrating culture, heritage, science and technology.

The NASA Fiesta de la Ciencia y la Tecnología is presented with the support of NESSP, El Centro de la Raza, outreach groups from different departments at University of Washington, and other members of the Latinx community planning to attend.

When

Monday, July 9, 2018
6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Where

El Centro de la Raza
2524 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Flyers

English
Español

NASA Pow Wow in Ellensburg — Wednesday, June 27, 2018

As part of a special weeklong NASA science education training program for teachers and educators, the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) will co-host the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Inter-Tribal Pow Wow at Central Washington University on Wednesday, June 27, starting at 5 p.m.

The Pow Wow is a family friendly event that is free and open to the public.  Prior to the Pow Wow, there will be rocket launches, drone demonstrations, archery competitions and photography exhibits running Wednesday afternoon, 1-5 p.m. There will also be a payload building station for children, with the contents launched in a high altitude balloon at 8:15 a.m. on June 28.

The event is being presented with support and representation from the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Wanapum, Spokane Tribe and other tribes planning to attend.

The NASA Inter-Tribal Pow Wow will honor the traditions of the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest through song, dance, food and games, while offering the chance for those young and old to engage in fun activities to learn science in a culturally relevant way.

A pow wow—derived from the Narragansett word powwaw meaning “spiritual leader”—has historically been a gathering of North America’s Native people. More modern pow wows have become a cultural celebration for Native American and First Nations people to meet, dance, sing, socialize and honor their cultures.

This event offers an opportunity for the public to come together, meet with NASA scientists, meet old friends and make new ones, while celebrating culture and heritage.

2018 Red-Tailed Hawks Aviation Day Camp

The Red-Tailed Hawk Flying Club is looking for students entering grades 6-12 for a one day exposure to the world of aviation. Students will meet aviators and engineers, learn some aviation history, engage in aerospace related STEM activity and fly with the Red-Tailed Hawks.

Aviation Day Camp will be held July 28, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM, at The Museum of Flight.

Sign up by June 22nd.
To sign up, please contact Roland Bradley, Camp Director, and provide the following:
Student’s full name, grade, and age, parent’s name, email, and phone number.

Roland Bradley
rolandbradley1947@gmail.com
206-949-8118

2018 Red-Tailed Hawks Aviation Day Camp Flyer
2018 Red-Tailed Hawks Aviation Day Camp Flyer

High Altitude Balloon Academy at Central Washington University

A Math and Science Intensive Overnight Academy

Students will plan, build and pre-launch a high altitude balloon. Participants will learn about flight, sensors, payloads, and ballooning through hands-on activities.​

Who: Students 15-16 years old
When: July 29th – August 3rd, 2018
Where: Central Washington University
Cost: FREE

Applications requested by May 25, 2018
For more information and to apply visit: www.cwuhabacademy.com

2018 HAB Flyer

Red-Tailed Hawks FLY Program 2018

Two weeks of flying!

The Red-Tailed Hawks FLY program is geared toward providing underrepresented groups the opportunity to learn about flight and aviation science. For 2018, the program is being run from July 14 through the 28th.

Applications for the program are due May 15th, and cadet selections will be made by June 1st. Early submission is highly encouraged.

Download the Red-Tailed Hawks FLY Cadet Application using the link below:

2018 RTH FLY Application

or email flyWA.BPA@gmail.com

or contact by phone: 425-512-0089

For more information about the program, see the FLY program brochure:

RTH FLY Brouchure 2018

STEM Bridge Program at Everett Community College

Free Summer Science Classes

Everett Community College is offering free summer science classes for qualifying high school seniors through a NASA-funded grant program.

Students enrolled in this program receive:

• Full tuition, fees, and books
for summer quarter 2018
• Financial aid coaching
• Personalized advising
• Career exploration field trips
• 12-14 college credits for
completing classes
• $5000/yr scholarships for
qualifying low-income
students with good grades
during summer

The application deadline is March 30, 2018.

Apply at: EverettCC.edu/STEMbridge

For more information contact EvCC instructor Kristine Washburn at 425-388-9431 or email kwashburn@everettcc.edu

PDF:
ECC STEM Bridge program flyer – 2018

PDF En Español:
ECC STEM Bridge program flyer – 2018 – SPANISH

Apply now for NESSP Regional Summits

Applications for NESSP’s 2018 STEM educator summits are still open.

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Our education summits will bring together formal and informal educators to discuss and be trained in engaging hands-on activities with a culturally relevant focus designed to motivate and enable middle and high school students to be more successful in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) topics.

Topics will also include connections to NASA missions and scientists.

Lodging and meals will be provided for participants at no cost. Travel assistance is also available. Preference will be given to educators who commit to facilitating a NESSP-funded summer camp in their community.
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The first summit — Expanding NASA Opportunities for Native American and Alaska Native Learners — will be held June 25-29, 2018 in Ellensburg, WA.

The second summit — Expanding NASA Opportunities for Underserved Communities Summit — will be held July 10-14, 2018 in Seattle, WA.

Questions? Please email nwesspipeline@gmail.com or call (206) 543-1943.

Apply Now for NESSP Regional Summits and Teacher Workshops

Applications for NESSP’s 2018 STEM educator summits and teacher training workshops are now open.

[row][col size=m6]

Our education summits will bring together formal and informal educators to discuss and be trained in engaging hands-on activities with a culturally relevant focus designed to motivate and enable middle and high school students to be more successful in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) topics.

Topics will also include connections to NASA missions and scientists.

Lodging and meals will be provided for participants at no cost. Travel assistance is also available. Preference will be given to educators who commit to facilitating a NESSP-funded summer camp in their community.
[/col]

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The first summit — Expanding NASA Opportunities for Native American and Alaska Native Learners — will be held June 25-29, 2018 in Ellensburg, WA.

The second summit — Expanding NASA Opportunities for Underserved Communities Summit — will be held July 10-14, 2018 in Seattle, WA.

Unable to make these dates? See our schedule of weekend workshops planned throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Once you have applied to participate in a Summit or Workshop, you can register the summer camp you would like to offer in your community at: https://goo.gl/forms/yk2HAEGFwXVcNmfA3

Questions? Please email nwessp@uw.edu or call (206) 543-1943.

Expanding NASA Opportunities for Native American and Alaska Native Learners — Ellensburg, June 2018

Whether you are a classroom teacher or work with after-school and out-of-school programs, the Expanding NASA Opportunities for Native American and Alaska Native Learners Summit will help you create and implement new hands-on learning opportunities for students underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The summit will be held in Ellensburg, WA from June 25 – 29, 2018. Lodging and meals will be provided for all participants at no cost. Travel assistance is also available. Please visit our new page to learn more details.

NESSP STEM Educator Summits apply a co-creation model wherein participants first understand education gaps, then develop methods for creating culturally relevant STEM activities infused with NASA science, to engage and successfully prepare underrepresented students through academic excellence for high wage and high demand careers. Summits will also include training for educators to offer week-long, NESSP-funded summer camps in their community.

Preference will be given to educators who commit to facilitating a summer camp in their community, and educators that can demonstrate the ability to recruit a high number of underserved students (i.e. students underrepresented in STEM and students receiving free or reduced-fee lunches) to participate in a summer camp.

Camp facilitators will be provided with camp curriculum, required materials, and access to a network of subject matter experts. Lead camp facilitators will receive a $1,500 stipend to compensate them for their efforts. Camp para-educators will receive a $1,000 stipend. Camp facilitators will commit to securing the location for the summer camp, recruiting students, facilitating the summer camp, and returning all loaned materials and required reporting.

Topics will include training for facilitating student learning activities involving LEGO® Mindstorm Robotics and Rocketry, examples of making cultural connections to the material, and an overview of related NASA Missions.

Expanding NASA Opportunities for Underserved Communities Summit — Seattle, 2018

Whether you are a classroom teacher or work with after-school and out-of-school programs, the Expanding NASA Opportunities for Underserved Communities Summit will help you create and implement new hands-on learning opportunities for students underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The summit will be held in Seattle from July 10 – 14, 2018. Lodging and meals will be provided for all participants at no cost. Travel assistance is also available. Please visit our new page to learn more details.

NESSP STEM Educator Summits apply a co-creation model wherein participants first understand education gaps, then develop methods for creating culturally relevant STEM activities infused with NASA science, to engage and successfully prepare underrepresented students through academic excellence for high wage and high demand careers. Summits will also include training for educators to offer week-long, NESSP-funded summer camps in their community.

Preference will be given to educators who commit to facilitating a summer camp in their community, and educators that can demonstrate the ability to recruit a high number of underserved students (i.e. students underrepresented in STEM and students receiving free or reduced-fee lunches) to participate in a summer camp.

Camp facilitators will be provided with camp curriculum, required materials, and access to a network of subject matter experts. Lead camp facilitators will receive a $1,500 stipend to compensate them for their efforts. Camp para-educators will receive a $1,000 stipend. Camp facilitators will commit to securing the location for the summer camp, recruiting students, facilitating the summer camp, and returning all loaned materials and required reporting.

Topics will include training for facilitating student learning activities involving LEGO® Mindstorm Robotics and Rocketry, examples of making cultural connections to the material, and an overview of related NASA Missions. For a an overview of the summit and NGSS alignments, please see NGSS-STEM Educator Summits. A full agenda will be posted in the near future.

Native American youth launch high-altitude balloons for unique perspective on solar eclipse

By Michelle Ma
UW News

Video by Mary Marshall

While many people across the country donned viewing glasses and prepared to watch Monday’s solar eclipse, a group of 100 teenagers from tribes across the Pacific Northwest launched balloons thousands of feet into the air, gaining a novel perspective of the eclipse — and the chance to send meaningful artifacts to the edge of space during a memorable moment in history.

The high school students released their balloons from Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs land in north central Oregon, directly in the path of totality that allows viewers to see the moon completely cover the sun. Close to 400 people, mainly tribal members and students, gathered to watch. The event, organized by University of Washington-based Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium and the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, was the largest effort involving Native American tribes during the eclipse.

Students prepare to launch the balloons. (Mark Stone/University of Washington)

In addition to launching the giant weather balloons, students from each school attached culturally significant items, called payloads, to the balloons and sent them high into the sky. Their artifacts nearly reached space before returning to the ground.

“This is the first time many of the students get to participate in a cutting-edge experiment of this type,” said the consortium’s director, Robert Winglee, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences. “Seeing their own payloads at the rim of space is quite exciting. This different perspective will hopefully awaken other ideas for gaining different perspectives on their own lives and their own career paths.”

The total eclipse, as seen from Warm Springs, OR. (Dennis Wise/University of Washington)

Over the past couple of years, consortium staff visited many of the schools participating in the eclipse balloon launch, introducing students to space research and various NASA projects. The goal is to bring STEM-related topics to the students in culturally relevant ways, said outreach specialist Isabel Carrera Zamanillo.

The eclipse project is a tangible way to further involve these students.

“Participation in this eclipse is just a next step for students,” said Carrera Zamanillo, who is also a graduate fellow with the UW’s Center for Environmental Politics. “This is a continuing effort from two years of visiting tribes, and it is a nice event where we can congregate together.”

Each of the 12 student teams created a small payload to attach to the high-altitude balloons. These items are important artifacts to students and included carved wooden instruments, feathers, whistles and a small paddle. Some students also designed electronic sensors that were placed in the balloons and delivered data on temperature, altitude and distance traveled as they soared high into the sky.

The balloons can reach altitudes of 110,000 feet and were fitted with cameras and GPS trackers. The four balloons were released in pairs before the start of the total eclipse, with the hope that the cameras would capture a unique perspective.

Students created payloads, or significant artifacts, to travel up with the balloons. (Mark Stone/University of Washington)

As expected, the balloons popped after two and a half hours of flight, and parachutes helped the artifacts and electronic equipment fall safely to the ground. The items landed about 20 miles from the launch site and teams planned to recover them with the help of GPS. About 35 UW-affiliated volunteers, including undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty, joined consortium staff in Oregon to help with the event.

NASA released several similar weather balloons in conjunction with the solar eclipse — including a launch off the Oregon coast — that intended to provide different views along the path of the eclipse.

The consortium’s leaders hope this experience will encourage students to build payloads that could hitch a ride on current space-flight missions. Blue Origin, for example, has carrying capacity for such artifacts, Winglee said.

“We can encourage the students and say, ‘Look, you’ve done high-altitude balloons, why don’t you go all the way?’ I think this is a steppingstone for students,” he said.


Originally posted at UW News.

Black Pilots of America Legacy Gala

Come dance with us at the BPA Legacy Gala on Saturday, August 19th, 6-11 pm, at the Future of Flight Aviation Center, Paine Field (PAE).

For the first time, the National Meeting of Black Pilots of America is coming to Washington and we are celebrating this historic event with dining and dancing. See the flyer for details, and purchase your admission at www.bpapilots.org/chapter-events.

We have a reach legacy based in the love of aviation. Checkout this video about our matriarch:

At this Legacy Gala, we are going to honor our founder, Les Morris, who has the distinction of being the first black pilot hired by Eastern Airlines and created what is now the BPA Summer Flight Academy 46 years ago.

Purchase your admission online. You can also send a check/money order to:
Red-Tailed Hawks, PO Box 1403, Mukilteo, WA 98275

$50 dollars per person or $100 per couple.

Red-Tailed Hawks Flying Club
PO Box 1403
Mukilteo, WA 98275