Bringing the Universe Closer to You

October 23, 2012

One of our Education and Public Outreach specialists is a primary host, interviewer, blogger, and editor for NASA Blueshift, a portal to all things related to Goddard’s Astrophysics Science Division. Their main web page is the entry point for podcasts, blogs, and downloads that help the public better understand the groundbreaking discoveries, innovative technology, new missions, and other exciting stories coming out of the Goddard. You can also check out their Facebook page, where they post daily updates, or follow them on Twitter as @NASAblueshift.

SESDA III Outreach Extends to India

October 22, 2012

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Education and Outreach team was part of a delegation that included scientists, engineers, and outreach professionals from NASA HQ, GSFC, JPL, Stanford University, and Grove of Hope, who were invited to the Coimbatore Space Festival hosted by Bharathiar University in Coimbatore, India in July 2012. The festival was a resounding success with over 100,000 people attending the six day event that celebrated space science, and engineering. The team lead thousands of students through a series of hands-on engineering and science activities, as well as conducting several public lectures and daily teacher workshops for both elementary and high school teachers. This first of its kind festival was designed to inspire students to be involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields and studies and was inaugurated by former Indian President and scientist Dr A.P. J. Abdul Kalam.

Curiosity survives “seven minutes of terror”

August 8, 2012


Congratulations to our SESDA II team supporting the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover. The rover successfully survived a challenging and harrowing landing on Mars early on August 6th. After years of planning, designing, building, and testing, the SAM instrument suite will now play a vital role in the search for habitability on Mars as the rover begins its nominal two year mission investigating the Martian surface.

Outreach Staff Create New Earth Science Videos

August 3, 2012

Our SESDA Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Outreach Team played key roles in creating two new six-minute data animations entitled, "Earth's Water Cycle" and "The Ocean – a Driving Force for Weather and Climate" . Both animations represent a joint endeavor between NASA JPL's Solar System Visualization Project and NASA GSFC, and are sponsored by the ESDIS Project at GSFC. Both animations are unique in that they showcase NASA's contributions in studying Earth as a set of interrelated systems by visualizing a variety of NASA EOSDIS data sets across multiple data centers, platforms and from multiple NASA sensors.

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Build It Yourself: Satellite!

July 30, 2012

A fun and educational new computer game for students and adults, created by a SESDA II web developer working with the James Webb Space Telescope project, was recently released on the JWST website. The Flash-based game has players choose what science their satellite will study, and then decide what wavelengths, instruments, and optics will help them to learn the most about the science they chose. After "launch," the player will see what their satellite looks like, and learn which real mission returns data similar to what their new satellite might produce.

SESDA Staff Support Major Science and Engineering Festival

June 11, 2012

Also in the EPO arena, a dozen SESDA science and outreach staff planned and operated exhibitions demonstrating NASA science at the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival, held April 27-29 at the Washington DC Convention Center. More than 150,000 visitors attended over the 3 days; including the Exhibitors, volunteers, and staff, the headcount came to nearly 200,000 people actively participating in this momentous Festival celebration. The DC Convention Center has reported that the Festival is the second most attended event in the history of the Center! SESDA staff gave talks on science missions, including the James Web Space Telescope and the Global Precipitation Mission.

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TRANSIT of VENUS was 5-6 June 2012; the next is December 2117

June 11, 2012

Our SESDA Sun Earth Day team joined with NASA Edge to broadcast the event live from Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Thanks in part to our Heliophysics system administrators and our HECN network groups, their website drew about 150 million hits without a single crash; likely more people watched the NASA Edge video live feed than watched Prince William’s wedding.

We are still compiling numbers from museums, classrooms, amateur astronomers, and ABC, CBS, CNN, USA Today, and many other news organizations that reported on our program or (like ABC and CBS) carried us live on the day of the transit NASA web servers carrying the event – set up and maintained by SESDA staff – recorded an astonishing 100 million hits!

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Comet Lovejoy Survives Passage Through The Corona

June 7, 2012

SESDA II science and operations personnel played vital roles in planning special observations of the dramatic plunge and survival of Comet Lovejoy through the hot multi-million degree solar corona during 15-16 December 2011. By swiftly disseminating last minute changes in ephemeris predictions, staff assured successful observations of the comet’s passage by an armada of spacecraft including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), and Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

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SpaceMath@NASA Enters the Classroom

April 24, 2012

We have all heard that mathematics is the language of science, but we rarely get to see how it is actually spoken. SpaceMath@NASA is a program for students and teachers that goes behind the scenes of NASA press releases to reveal the often simple mathematics that scientists and engineers use to make major discoveries or engineering breakthroughs.  Developed by SESDA’s Dr. Sten Odenwald and supported by NASA grants, the program has recently announced a partnership with Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt Publishing – America's leading textbook publisher.  Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt is a national STEM textbook publisher that specializes in science and math textbooks for middle and high school students. The collaboration provides textbooks with real-world math examples drawn from many NASA science and engineering programs to highlight how math principles are applied to actual problem solving. The learning modules feature a video segment, press releases, and an interactive modeling. Some of its current exercises feature data and discoveries by the International Space Station, Mars Science Laboratory, Webb Space Telescope, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Opportunity Rover, and CERES.

Details of this collaboration can be found in the NASA press release

“The Sun as Art” Exhibit Hits the Road

February 9, 2012

SESDA II media specialist Steele Hill has produced a traveling exhibit called “The Sun as Art” which opens at the Maryland Science Center on February 9, 2012. The exhibit uses stunning images of the Sun captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and presents them in a variety of colors and formats for a unique perspective of the Sun as viewed from space.   The exhibit will run for three months before traveling to other venues around the country, and can be viewed online at: