Earth and Space Science News for Educators

Calendar Workshops and Courses Events Get Involved Grants and Awards Resources Mission News and Science



March 15, 2021
OSIRIS REx capsule returns to Earth

April 20, 2021
Ingenuity Mars helicopter test flight

July 22, 2021
DART mission launch to asteroid

August 12, 2021
Perseid Meteor Shower

October 16, 2021
International Observe the Moon Night

October 16, 2021
Lucy mission launch to asteroids

October 31, 2021
Launch of James Webb Space Telescope

November 1, 2021
Artemis 1 Launch

December 14, 2021
Geminid Meteor Shower


Workshops and Courses

Greater Houston Area Virtual STEM Conference: "STEM Innovations and Impact on Educational Communities"
UHCL's College of Education would like to invite you to join us at our STEM Virtual conference, "STEM Innovations and Impact on Educational Communities" on Saturday, March 6, 2021, via Zoom.

NASA Educator Professional Development Workshop
This is a list of NASA's current and future events for educators, administrators, and science enthusiasts across all levels.

NISE Network Online Workshops
The National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network runs a series of free online workshops as professional development opportunities for partners.



Owls in Space Symposium - March 6th
On Saturday, March 6th, 2021, on the ForagerOne Symposium Platform, SEDS Rice is hosting the 3rd Owls in Space Symposium with Keynote Speaker NASA Johnson Space Center Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche. The 2021 Owls in Space Symposium is hosted by SEDS Rice and Rice Eclipse Rocketry Team and in partnership with the Rice Space Institute and Rice University.

March 25 - 2:00-3:00 pm CT - Virtual Hobby-Eberly Telescope Tour
Explore McDonald Observatory’s 10-meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope nestled in the mountains of Far West Texas. Learn how 91 mirrors collect starlight, why the telescope spins on air, and who we need to keep a research facility operating. Hosts Martinique Pautzke and Saul Rivera will use pictures and videos to engage all ages in this program.

March 6 - 10:00-11:00 PM CT - Live Deep Sky Tour
Join us for a tour of galaxies, nebulae, star clusters and more with live telescope views from McDonald Observatory. We’ll discuss the unique features and scientific observations of each target. Your host, Stephen Hummel, and moderators will be available to answer questions during the program. In the event of poor weather, previously taken images will be shown.

March 5 - 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CT - Live Solar Viewing
McDonald Observatory staff will provide live, safe views of the Sun from specially equipped telescopes. Learn about solar features, as well as how, when and where to view the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Your host, Joe Wheelock, and moderators will be available to answer questions during the program. In the event of inclement weather, previously taken images will be shown.


Get Involved

The McDonald Observatory is offering more digital programming!
Students and teachers are invited to visit McDonald Observatory remotely from home or school for incredible educational experiences. Each program is 40 minutes long and requires a Zoom account for each connection. Thanks to support from the Friends of the McDonald Observatory and the Meyer-Levy Charitable Foundation, these programs are available at no cost to participants.


Grants and Awards

Toshiba Grants for Grades 6-12
Toshiba America Foundation accepts applications from teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students.

NSTA Awards
NSTA Awards Programs honor teachers and principals from all grade levels for outstanding work; nominate yourself, a fellow teacher, or a student.

Toshiba Grants for K-5
K-5 grade teachers are invited to apply on-line for a $1,000 Toshiba America Foundation grant to help bring an innovative hands-on project into their own classroom. Grant applications are due on October 1st each year.

Donors Choose Teacher Grants
Donors Choose is funding teacher projects for all subject areas.

Motorola Solutions Foundation's Innovation Generation Grants
These grants support innovative, hands-on STEM programs serving K-university students and teachers in the United States.

Kinder Morgan Foundation Education Grants
$1,000 to $5,000 go to educational programs for K-12 youth in the United States and Canada in communities focusing in areas of academic programs, including tutoring, arts education programs, and environmental education programs that work with local schools and meet curriculum standards.



Download the 2021Explore Science Wall Calendar
Download the full-color, printable calendar that features NASA pictures of nature's artwork on Earth and in Space.

Solar Week Toolkit
Solar Week, a week of online lessons, games and hands-on activities about the Sun for grades 5-9 or ages 9-14, happens twice a year, approximately mid-to-late March and mid-to-late October.

Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin
This newsletter explores issues related to planetary science and exploration.

Solar System Ambassadors (SSA) program
The Solar System Ambassadors (SSA) program works with motivated volunteers across the nation to share the latest science and discoveries of NASA's missions through a variety of events that inspire their communities.


Mission News and Science

Glacial lakes are growing worldwide as glaciers melt
In the largest-ever study of glacial lakes, researchers using 30 years of NASA satellite data have found that the volume of these lakes worldwide has increased by about 50% since 1990 as glaciers melt and retreat due to climate change. The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, will aid researchers assessing the potential hazards to communities downstream of these often unstable lakes and help improve the accuracy of sea level rise estimates by advancing our understanding of how glacial meltwater is transported to the oceans.

Hurricanes are taking longer to weaken after landfall
Atlantic hurricanes are taking longer to weaken after making landfall than they did 50 years ago, thanks to climate change. Over the past 50 years, increasingly warm ocean waters have juiced up the storms, giving them more staying power after they roar ashore, scientists report in the Nov. 12 Nature. That could potentially extend storms’ destructive power farther inland, the researchers say.

A supervolcano may be hidden underneath Alaska's Aleutian Islands
A mysterious, previously undiscovered supervolcano may be lurking beneath Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. A new study suggests a wide crater, created when the supervolcano exploded, connects at least four existing volcanoes. It’s so big that if the supervolcano erupted during the last few thousand years, it could have disrupted civilizations around the world, says John Power, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Volcano Observatory. Power presents the findings at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on December 7.

Colliding neutron stars that may have formed a magnetar
A surprisingly bright cosmic blast might have marked the birth of a magnetar. If so, it would be the first time that astronomers have witnessed the formation of this kind of rapidly spinning, extremely magnetized stellar corpse. That dazzling flash of light was made when two neutron stars collided and merged into one massive object, astronomers report in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal. Though the especially bright light could mean that a magnetar was produced, other explanations are possible, the researchers say.

Arecibo has collapsed
In August and November, two cables supporting a 900-metric-ton platform of scientific instruments above Arecibo’s dish unexpectedly broke. After assessing the damage, the National Science Foundation, which funds Arecibo, announced that the telescope could not be safely repaired and would be torn down (SN: 11/19/20). But before the telescope could be dismantled, the entire instrument platform crashed down into the dish on December 1.

Salty lakes may exist below the south pole of Mars
Fresh intel from Mars is sure to stir debate about whether liquid water lurks beneath the planet’s polar ice.New data from a probe orbiting Mars appear to bolster a claim from 2018 that a lake sits roughly 1.5 kilometers beneath ice near the south pole (SN: 8/18/18). An analysis of the additional data, by some of the same researchers who reported the lake’s discovery, also hint at several more pools encircling the main reservoir, a study released online September 28 in Nature Astronomy claims.

OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft collected samples from the asteroid Bennu
NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has successfully stowed the spacecraft’s Sample Return Capsule (SRC) and its abundant sample of asteroid Bennu. On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the mission team sent commands to the spacecraft, instructing it to close the capsule marking the end of one of the most challenging phases of the mission.


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