Education: November 2009 Archives

Keith's note: As most of you know by now, Charlie Bolden is relentless in his focus on the value of education.

What if you were inclined to create NASA's version of Starfleet Academy to prepare students for a career in space exploration. What would it do? What location(s) would be best? What age group(s) should it focus on? What courses would it teach? What skills would it emphasize?

I am not talking about recreating ISU. Rather, I am talking about something much broader and technically oriented - an education that actually equips students to be able to participate in all aspects of space exploration including hands-on experience with hardware, software, operations, design, and science.

What if students were to get out of the classroom and actually go on "away missions", take real risks, get dirty, make decisions in a real operational environment - both in the control room and in the field? What if students could also participate regardless of where they live?

Where should the academy begin? College? High school? Grammar school? Should the academy focus only upon training people to eventually work in space exploration or also focus on things relevant to other non-space fields?

Serious replies, please. If you have not registered, now is a good opportunity to do so.

Leonard Nimoy to Headline Space Foundation Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner April 15, Space Foundation

"Since 1988, the Space Technology Hall of Fame, in cooperation with NASA, has honored those who transform technology originally developed for space exploration into products and services that help improve the quality of life here on Earth."

Keith's note: I wonder what Mr. Nimoy's speaking fee is? I'll bet that the Space Foundation could assist several needy college students with it. Add in the cost of fireworks, entertainment, and other pointless perks at this meeting and something af real value could be done with this money. Why not have a nationwide essay contest and pick a few winners and put that money out in the real world? NASA's logo is on the Hall of Fame page so I guess they are cool with all of this expensive back-slapping - I mean, they support it year after year by sending people to attend it, right?

Butterflies On Orbit

Butterflies in Space Education Project - Update

"Join us for daily updates of the STS-129 "Butterflies in Space" experiment, and study butterfly life cycles and behaviors in microgravity and on Earth.

Images are downloaded from the International Space Station (ISS) in two batches each day."

Blue Origin Update on Opportunities for Research

"Blue Origin has selected three unmanned research payloads to fly on the New Shepard suborbital vehicle as a part of Phase 1 of the New Shepard Research Flight Demonstration Program. These payloads were selected from an excellent field of submitted proposals."

The Next Generation of Innovators, White House Blog

"President Obama today helped launch a new campaign, "Educate to Innovate," designed to energize and excite America's students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It builds on the President's pledge that he would use his position to help encourage students to study and consider careers in science, engineering, technology, and innovation--fields upon which America's future depends--and elevate those students from the middle to the top of the pack worldwide."

Educate to Innovate

"Five leading business and thought leaders (Sally Ride, Craig Barrett, Ursula Burns, Glen Britt, and Antonio Perez) will head an effort to increase private and philanthropic involvement in support of STEM teaching and learning."

Remarks by the President on the "Education To Innovate" Campaign

"NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden is in the house. Where's Charlie? There he is, right there in front."

Challenger Center Supports President Obama's Call to Action in STEM Education

"We believe that the way to engage students in STEM education is by inspiring them," said Challenger Center Founding Chairman, Dr. June Scobee Rodgers. "Middle school students who experience being a scientist or engineer, and who experience it successfully, are more likely to take more STEM courses in high school."

Keith's note: I see zero mention of this effort or how NASA intends to participate on its Education website.

Keith's update: There is a small item at the very bottom of the front page of - you know, where no one goes. But there is still nothing at the NASA education website. It took me seconds to get something online here - I guess NASA uses super duper fancy web stuff that takes longer to operate. If this event was important enough for the White House to have a big flashy event, shouldn't NASA show it the same level of exposure? Truth be known, it would seem that the White House gave NASA zero advance notice on this whole thing - except to make certain that Charlie Bolden was there.

Keith's 24 Nov update: The Education page finally has a link to the White House policy. It certainly took them long enough to do this. I am still waiting for a NASA press release on this - after all, Charlie Bolden was cited by name by the President.

Planet 51 PSA Campaign Brings NASA's Message of Exploration Down to Earth

"In a public service announcement about diversity, Johnson underscores the importance of a global work force: "On this planet promoting diversity is very important. At NASA, astronauts from all nationalities and backgrounds work together aboard the International Space Station to help improve our lives here on Earth. I'm here to tell you that every barrier is meant to be broken, whether it's the sound barrier, the furthest layer of the Earth's atmosphere, the outer limits of our solar system, or the challenges we face here at home."

Keith's note: There was a lot of talk (with no mention whatsoever of NASA or space exploration) at TEDxNASA held by NASA LaRC in Newport News, VA on Friday about dealing with poverty, racism, inclusivenes, inspiration, etc. On the same day that this event was being held, NASA HQ PAO released a PSA featuring Dwayne "Rock" Johnson, who stars in the new film "Planet 51". A DVD of this film was flown and photographed in space.

NASA LaRC Internal Email: TEDxNASA: You're Invited!

"As a reminder, the TEDxNASA event is considered a work activity. Civil servants may charge up to 8 hours to their usual WBS to attend. Contract employees must obtain their supervisor's approval. Additional information on how to volunteer or register to attend the event is provided below. But you must act quickly - sign-up ends Thursday night."

Keith's note: I have yet to hear back from LaRC PAO on my fourth simple request as to how much this event will cost and how much NASA is paying. Meanwhile they keep moving the ticket deadline back. This morning they twittered "Last day to register for TEDxNASA!" Now LaRC management says that tomorrow night is the deadline. I guess they are trying to fill some empty seats.

But wait, another Tweet by the organizers a moment ago says "Tickets now available until tomorrow at noon! ". Hmm .. Tomorrow "night" is different than "tomorrow at noon". More confusion.

Keith's 17 Nov update: According to the final TEDxNASA schedule I will have to sit through an hour and a half of official TED videos. I can see near zero connection between these videos and space exploration. Also, I can watch them on Youtube - so why not assign them ahead of time, and save the event time for live interactions? Add in the fact that more than half of the presenters are professional motivational speakers you are left with only 3 speakers with any connection to space exploration.

This is really starting to look less like an event designed to inspire a dialog with a broader audience about space exploration and more like a New Age self-help indoctrination seminar. Hmm, do I really want to do 6 hours of driving just to sit through this when I can stay home and have the webcast playing on my computer? Oh well, at least there will be some music.

Oh yes, despite 3 requests to LaRC PAO, no one has provided me with any information as to who paid for this and how much it cost.

Here are the videos:

- Jill Bolte Taylor How it feels to have a stroke
- Marc Koska: 1.3m reasons to re-invent the syringe
- Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation
- Michael Pritchard makes filthy water drinkable
- Nandan Nilekani's ideas for India's future
- Josh Silver demos adjustable liquid-filled eyeglasses
- Sixth Sense Projection Technology Demo

TEDxNASA: Right Message, Wrong Audience?, earlier post
TEDxNASA: Details Revealed, earlier post
A NASA Conference That No One Can Register For, earlier post

Keith's 17 Nov update: I just got the press release via NASA LaRC's official email distribution list - it was sent out at 9:26 am EST. I am a little baffled as to why a press release first issued only via PR Newswire 4 days ago on 13 November only gets delivered to NASA LaRC's official distribution list 4 days later - and only 3 days before the event itself - announcing that tickets are available "starting Saturday, Nov. 14" i.e. 3 days ago. Oh yes, tickets will not be available after 5 pm today - no mention of that either. And no mention whatsoever is made in the release of the fact that the event will be webcast live. One could easily get the impression that LaRC PAO is not especially interested in this event.

Keith's 17 Nov update: Someone just sent me the final TEDxNASA program and I have posted it here.

Environmental Tectonics Corporation's NASTAR Center Announces International Student Patch Design Contest for New NASTAR Suborbital Scientist Training Program

"Environmental Tectonics Corporation's The National AeroSpace Research and Training (NASTAR) Center announced today an international contest for students to design a patch that will commemorate NASTAR Center's newest training program for suborbital scientist-astronauts who will fly aboard commercial suborbital spaceflights. The winning design will become the Official Patch for NASTAR's Suborbital Scientist Training Program. The NASTAR Center will accept student artwork submissions through December 16, 2009 on its website. This contest is open to full-time students from the elementary to University levels. The winning artist and patch design will be announced January 11, 2010. The winning patch will be worn on the flight suits of all Suborbital Scientist Trainees. In addition, a cash award of $500 dollars will be granted to the winning artist along with a certificate and NASTAR gift pack."

Former Astronaut Scott Parazynski, MD Named Chair-Elect of Challenger Center's Board of Directors

"Challenger Center for Space Science Education announced today that former astronaut Scott Parazynski, MD has been named Chair-Elect of its Board of Directors. He will assume the role of the Chair of the Board in November 2010, succeeding Former Astronaut William F. Readdy. "Scott is a top-notch leader and manager with a passion for education, and I look forward to working with him this year as he transitions to his next role as Chair of the Board," said Chair of the Board William F. Readdy."

"Welcome to Here students can apply to the NASA Academy at Ames, Glenn, Goddard, and Marshall with a single application. An applicant for Research Associate with the NASA Academy must:

* have a demonstrated interest in space
* have a previous internship or project experience
* be a junior, senior, or first or second year graduate student in Fall 2010
* be in high academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or greater)
* be a US citizen (Note: The NASA Academy at Ames will also consider applicants from Canada.)"

NASA MSFC Solicitation: Implementation of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Education and Public Outreach Plan

"NASA/MSFC has a requirement for assistance and services in the implementation of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Education and Public Outreach (EPO) plan for the Lunar Quest Program Office. This procurement is for the seamless transition of LRO EPO effort from the pre-launch/commissioning mission phase and the post-launch/post-commissioning phase of the LRO mission. This effort will include the draft of a new LRO EPO Implementation Plan as well as the evaluation and recommendation of continuance of existing LRO Instrument EPO Plans. NASA/MSFC intends to purchase the items from Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI) Competition is impractical because SSAI having provided EPO support to the LPRP program is very familiar with the LRO project and can provide continued effective and timely support during this transition without any gap or duplication of cost and effort."

Keith's 30 Oct note: I am certainly all for trying to connect to a broader audience but this NASA 360 post by Johnny Alonso (the MTVish on-air host) is just silly with its attempt at teen Twitter and SMS lingo i.e. "hai guyz" and "that would totally suck. lol", "it was hawt :)" and "These cats Mike and Barry". You have to read it twice to make certain you understand the needlessly jargonized lingo. There's no reason not to use simply written language on a website where you are not constrained to 140 characters like Twitter. Like I said, its fine to be cool, but this is just annoying. According to the IMDB website, Johnny is 39. I am not sure I know too many 39 year olds who actually talk (or write) like this. But I am 54 - so what do I know.

Amazing How People Love To Slam Others...Or Should I Say Just Me? :), Johnny Alonso,

"Wow....I guess having a "colorful personality"on my posts gets some of the "anonymous" really wound up, which gives them reason to slam me :) Hai....some news for you - you don't have to read what I type :)"

Keith's note: Well, Johnny, then perhaps you should be posting these things on a personal blog - not an official website hosted by an agency of the Federal government - one paid for by taxpayers. And if you do decide to post on an official website, you should follow the practices adhered to by everyone else who does.

Keith's update: Johnny's response has been deleted. Here is what it looked like.



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This page is an archive of entries in the Education category from November 2009.

Education: October 2009 is the previous archive.

Education: December 2009 is the next archive.

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