NASA Science Events and Activities

Let NASA bring the universe to you!

We’re inviting every student, educator, and lifelong learner to share in the excitement of scientific discovery and space exploration through unique opportunities from NASA’s Science Activation Program – a community-based approach to connect NASA science with learners of all ages. Check out these events and activities for educators, families, and students in kindergarten and up.

 

Upcoming Events & Activities

 

October 1st – International Observe the Moon Night!

Stylized illustration of silhouettes of people looking up at a large Moon in the night sky, with the text International Observe the Moon Night October 1, 2022. The sky includes faded text of the title translated in different languages.

Every year, people across the globe unite in a celebration of lunar observation, science, and exploration. Beyond “observing” the Moon, it is a time to learn more about the Moon and space science and to share Moon-inspired stories, images, artwork, and more. Get started by visiting the official International Observe the Moon Night website, and here are a few more fun activities that will send you “to the Moon!”: 

 

October 7th – Light Detection: Solving the Mystery of Galaxy Formation

Most of the information sent from the universe to astronomers is delivered as light. Astronomers spread that light out into its full spectrum to learn all they can about celestial objects and phenomena. This Friday, you are invited to join Boise State Physics for their monthly First Friday Astronomy Lecture as Professor Guy Worthey from Washington State University talks about his favorite celestial object: galaxies! How did these island universes assemble? When? How and where did its heavy elements arise? In this talk, Prof. Guy Worthey will review this ongoing mystery and point out a promising new technique for measuring a galaxy’s age.

When: October 7th at 9:30 p.m. EDT 
Watch the Livestream: boi.st/astrobroncoslive
Feel free to ask questions in the chat! 

 

Boise State Physics First Friday Astronomy Poster with a photo of Professor Guy Worthey from Washington State University (link: physics.wsu.edu/people/faculty/g-worthey/) and the following text on a pink and dark gray space-looking background sprinkled with stars: Friday, October 7th, Light Detecting: Solving teh Mystery of Galaxy Formation.

 

October 22nd & More – Free Workshops for Educators: Physics in an Astronomy Context 

Graphic that shows information about the four workshops in the Physics in an astronomy context series. Includes organizational logos, a list of team members, and shows some of the topics covered in each session.

The NASA Heliophysics Education Activation Team (NASA HEAT) is a 5-year NASA initiative leading the development of research-based instructional materials for astrophysics as part of physics/astronomy courses. In partnership with NASA HEAT, the American Association of Physics Teachers and Temple University have teamed up to offer a free workshop series for educators: Physics in an Astronomy Context. 

Each workshop session will include information and activities appropriate for introductory physics courses at the high school and undergraduate level, such as: 

  • scientific background (a presentation on the relevant astronomy), 
  • an opportunity to work through student materials, and 
  • a chance to connect with like-minded educators. 

 

Workshops will be held via Zoom from 1-2:30 p.m. EDT on the following Saturdays: 

  • September 17: Coronal Mass Ejection Science
  • October 22: Sunspot Science
  • November 19: Star Spectra Science
  • December 10: Solar Sails Science 

 

Participants are welcome to register for individual sessions or attend them all.
Register: https://bit.ly/3S7x1sS
Learn more: https://aapt.org/Resources/NASA_HEAT.cfm

 

Now Through December 4th – Design the Next NASA Mission Patch!

Mission patches are a NASA tradition used to commemorate significant milestones in space exploration. Each patch is designed to highlight the purpose and goals of the mission, and NASA wants your help creating their next patch, commemorating the “VEG-05” plant growth experiment, during which Red Robin tomatoes will be grown aboard the International Space Station. 

To join this challenge, submit your mission patch design that celebrates this historic experiment with a brief explanation of your inspiration by December 4th, 2022. The winning design will be chosen and reproduced by NASA.

Register for the Challenge

You can learn more about growing plants in space with this educational NASA eClips Our World video: Plants in Space. Find out how plants use light to make their own food in a process called photosynthesis. See how NASA uses LED lights to help grow plants in space. And even design your own plant growth chamber like the ones used by NASA!

Watch the Video

Photo of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson harvesting and cleaning the VEG-03 in the space station’s Node 2. VEG-03 used the Veggie plant growth facility to cultivate a type of cabbage to be harvested in orbit, with samples returned to Earth for testing.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is seen during harvesting and cleaning of VEG-03 in the space station’s Node 2. VEG-03 used the Veggie plant growth facility to cultivate a type of cabbage to be harvested in orbit, with samples returned to Earth for testing.

 

On-Demand Events & Activities

 

James Webb Space Telescope STEM Toolkit

an undulating, translucent star-forming region in the Carina Nebula is shown in this Webb image, hued in ambers and blues; foreground stars with diffraction spikes can be seen, as can a speckling of background points of light through the cloudy nebula

One of the first full-color Webb images released: “Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula (NIRCam Image). Read more about this image: https://bit.ly/3RwxGn

The James Webb Space Telescope will be a giant leap forward in our quest to understand the universe and its origins. Webb will examine every phase of cosmic history from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets, to the evolution our own solar system. NASA has put together a Webb STEM Toolkit so that students can participate in the excitement of the James Webb Space Telescope too! Whether you’re a student ready to learn or an educator looking to #UnfoldtheUniverse with your students, this Toolkit contains wonderful resources, activities, videos, lesson plans, and more.

Access the James Webb Space Telescope STEM Toolkit

 

Explore Planetary Defense

gaspra.png

​The asteroid Gaspra as seen by the Galileo spacecraft en route to Jupiter. Credit: NASA.

Did you know that NASA has an entire office dedicated to defending our planet?!

Asteroids and comets have slammed into planets, moons, and asteroids throughout our solar system, including our Earth. NASA scientists and engineers are studying asteroids and comets, where they are, and how to deflect them from Earth in the future.

In fact, in November 2021, NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – the first-ever spacecraft designed to impact an asteroid as a test of technology. But don’t worry – DART’s target asteroid is NOT a threat to Earth. DART is targeting an asteroid system that’s a perfect testing ground to see if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future.

Families and informal-educators can help learners discover how planetary scientists explore the characteristics of asteroids and comets using candy bars, dry ice, and more with these hands-on, interactive asteroid/planetary defense activities and resources from the Lunar & Planetary Institute.

Learn more