NASA Office of STEM education was recently awarded a 2-year project to UCSD, USC, and UC-Berkeley to develop an autonomous lunar landing vehicle and to develop a nation-wide Lunar/Martian Lander Skills competition using these landing vehicles.  This is an Artemis-relevant systems engineering and integration skills project that will require the students to develop critical thinking and hands-on skill sets that NASA needs for their upcoming (beginning 2024) Artemis missions to the moon.  UCSD students will work (remotely) with USC students and UC-Berkeley students to develop the vehicles, develop the autonomous control system, and design and develop the national competition.  The first flight competition is planned for fall of 2020.  

Are you interested in space engineering, flight hardware, autonomous controls, sensors, and/or software (python, C) programming?  Are you interested in flying the vehicle, developing the competition, writing software for autonomous flight competitions, and hosting the competition in San Diego?  Meeting and working with NASA Artemis experts from the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate?  Are you an Aerospace, Mechanical, Structural, ECE, or CSE undergraduate and available full time this summer?  Funding is available for up to three UCSD students.  Note:  You must be a US citizen to receive funding.  

If you are interested, send an email to ( by 5 PM Monday (June 1st, 2020) with your resume that includes relevant courses, experiences, demonstrated leadership, and other needed skill sets.  For example arduinos, raspberry pi, RC vehicles, cubesats, programming competitions, or club activities (AIAA DBF, AUVSI, SEDS), etc.  This is a three-campus team-project so you must be able to work remotely. 

Be a Part of NASA’s Space X Demo-2 Launch

No matter where you are you can join in the excitement of this historic event. Celebrate the first launch of American Astronauts to the ISS since 2011.

What’s involved: First, play the Rocket Science: Ride to Station App, then complete the Crew Orbital Docking (CODing) Simulation and create your own space capsule docking game. Build a docking mission capable of stumping your friends, and share it with us on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter using #LaunchAmerica. Then tune in for the Virtual NASA Social broadcast on May 20, 2020 to see if your game is selected as a winner!

How to Participate

Part One: You will start your mission by completing the Ride to Station app. Using this app, you  will go through the process of selecting your crew, building a rocket and launching to the International Space Station. Can you work your way through obstacles and get your crew to the International Space Station? 

Part Two: Next, head over to CODing Sim. Here you will use programming language to create your game. Not an expert coder? Don’t worry, this simulation is for all levels of programmers. Use the accompanying CODing Sim Guide for tips and tricks on setting up your simulation. To get started you will need to create a Snap! or Scratch account and download the necessary files for your simulation (you can find these on the CODing Sim page). Next follow the onscreen instructions to create your game. You will know that your mission is a success or failure by the sounds and on-screen visual cues.

Step Three: Share a screenshot of your CODing Sim on social media using the hashtag, #LaunchAmerica!

Summer 2020 Internship Opportunities at NASA Goddard

Research at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) emphasizes a broad study of global change, which is an interdisciplinary initiative addressing natural and man-made changes in our environment that occur on various time scales — from one-time forcings such as volcanic explosions, to seasonal and annual effects such as El Niño, and on up to the millennia of ice ages — and that affect the habitability of our planet.

The current summer internship projects being offered for high school, undergraduate and graduate students this summer include:

GISS is located at Columbia University in New York City. The institute is a laboratory in the Earth Sciences Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and is affiliated with the Columbia Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science.

  • Atmospheric Rivers in a Changing Climate
  • Characterizing the Urban Land Surface Temperature
  • Earth Observation Applications for Resiliency
  • Climate Change in the Hudson Estuary
  • Analysis of Climate Model Simulations
  • Data Management and Dissemination for the NASA Research Scanning Polarimeter
  • Hardware and connectivity upgrades for the NASA Research Scanning Polarimeter
  • Live Monitor for the NASA Research Scanning Polarimeter
  • Smartphone monitoring application for the NASA Research Scanning Polarimeter
  • Water Mass formation rates and pathways in the World Ocean
  • New method to estimate cloud droplet number concentration using remote sensing 
  • Construction of a flexible cloud mask from spaceborne lidar atmospheric profiles 

The application period for the summer closes on March 8th. Students are encouraged to apply early at: .

Cubes in Space 2020

A free STEAM project-based learning program for formal and informal educators and their students, 11-18 years of age is being offered this year. Cubes in Space provides students the opportunity to design and compete to launch small experiments into space. Selected experiments will be launched via sounding rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in late June 2020 and from a high-altitude scientific balloon from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in New Mexico in late August 2020. 

Cubes in Space was designed with the learner AND educator in mind.  Our program is an authentic, project and inquiry-based learning experience with a real opportunity to conduct scientific research and fly an experiment in space on a NASA mission in 2020.  Cubes in Space provides a way for students to engage in deep learning and critical thinking.  For more information please visit

NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) 2020

The NASA Airborne Science Program invites highly motivated advanced undergraduates who will be rising seniors in summer 2020 to apply for participation in the 12th annual NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP 2020).  Students will work in multi-disciplinary teams to study surface, atmospheric, and oceanographic processes. Participants will fly onboard a NASA research aircraft and assist in the operation of instruments to sample and measure atmospheric gases and aerosols and to image land and water surfaces in multiple spectral bands. Along with airborne data collection, students will participate in taking measurements at field sites. Each student will complete an individual research project from the data collected.

Outstanding faculty and staff for this program will be drawn from several universities and NASA centers, as well as from NASA flight operations and engineering personnel.

The eight-week program begins June 14, 2020 and concludes August 7, 2020.

Instrument and flight preparations, and the research flights themselves, will take place during the first two weeks of the program at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, in Palmdale, CA. Post-flight data/laboratory analysis and interpretation will take place during the final six weeks of the program at the University of California, Irvine.

SARP participants will receive a $5,000 stipend, a travel allowance, and free housing and local transportation during the 8-week program.

Applicants must be US citizens.

For more information and to apply:

Program Video:

NASA Unveils New Spacesuit Prototypes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – NASA on Tuesday showed off two new spacesuits tailored for future moon walking astronauts, signaling development of a crucial component to the space agency’s accelerated drive to return to the moon by 2024. Two NASA engineers strutted on a stage inside the agency’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, donning the new spacesuits, modeling and doing squats and crunches in front of a crowd of students and reporters to reveal what the first zero-gravity space-wear under NASA’s Artemis moon program would look like.

“This is the first suit we’ve designed in about 40 years,” Chris Hansen, a manager at NASA’s spacesuit design office, said.

“What you saw today was a prototype of the pressure garment. The life support system is back in a lab in Houston,” he said. “We want systems that allow our astronauts to be scientists on the surface of the moon” 

“Basically, my job is to take a basketball, shape it like a human, keep them alive in a harsh environment, and give them the mobility to do their job,” she said.

The new suits come as a much-needed upgrade to NASA’s astronaut wardrobe. Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were slated in March to conduct the first ever all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station, but the mission was called off because there weren’t enough spacesuits available on the station for both of them. 

Another attempt for the first all-female spacewalk, a roughly six-hour crawl on the exterior of the space station to install new batteries, is back on for Thursday, NASA said in a news release on Tuesday.

The Trump administration in March directed NASA to land humans on the moon by 2024, accelerating a goal to colonize the moon as a staging ground for eventual missions to Mars.

One suit of orange fabric will be worn by astronauts when inside the spacecraft. Astronauts will wear a much bigger mostly white suit on the lunar surface.

The new suits make it much easier to walk, bend and squat when walking on the lunar surface, Amy Ross, NASA’s lead spacesuit engineer, said.

The PI Launchpad: From Science Idea to NASA Mission

Important Dates:

Applications due on NSPIRES: October 4th, 2019

Selections made no later than: October 21st, 2019

Workshop Dates: November 18th-20th, 2019

Workshop Location: University of Arizona Campus, Tucson, AZ

Workshop description:

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), in partnership with the University of Arizona and the Heising-Simons Foundation, will host Launchpad to guide participants through turning their science question into a mission concept. Participants will go step-by-step through the process of developing a science case, defining requirements, building a team, securing partnerships, and obtaining support from the home institution. Participants will also have time for networking and personal reflection as they mature their mission concepts.

Are you thinking about developing your first flight mission proposal in the next few years but have no idea where to start? If you are a researcher in any NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) discipline who wants to take your career to the next level but have not yet held a leadership position on mission proposals or large science teams, this is the workshop for you. Join us November 18 – 20, 2019 in Tucson, AZ for Launchpad: an expenses-paid three-day workshop that will teach you the skills to get your mission idea off the ground.

We are interested in broadening the pool of potential NASA space mission PI’s. People with potentially intersecting marginalized identities are strongly encouraged to apply. There is no cost to attend the workshop and travel, meals, and lodging for non-NASA participants will be covered by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

We will select between 35-40 participants from the pool of applicants. For those not selected, we are planning to hold additional Launchpads in 2020 and beyond. Applicants should be currently at US institutions.

More details to come. Please watch for new announcements. 

FAA Challenge – Smart Airport Student Competition

Challenge Background

The FAA is sponsoring the FAA Challenge – Smart Airport Student Competition to recognize students with the ability to demonstrate innovative thinking focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of smart technology in and around the airport environment while enhancing the overall traveling experience.

The FAA is using this competition to:

  • stimulate and advance innovation in aviation research;
  • promote the development of a robust aviation workforce to support a growing and evolving aerospace system;
  • develop a pipeline to fill current and projected shortages via partnerships with academia and industry;
  • and drive a passion for aviation in today’s youth of all ages and backgrounds.

The FAA intends to incentivize university level students at accredited United States-based colleges and universities to think creatively in developing solutions to transportation technology challenges while addressing the human factors aspects of the traveler’s experience, and to share those innovations with the broader community.

The FAA is sponsoring the competition under authority of the FAA Acquisition Management System (AMS), 49 U.S.C. 106(l) and (m).


Submissions: The FAA Challenge competition will begin and submissions will be accepted between September 16, 2019 and 11:59 PM ET January 13, 2020.

Expression of Interest: Teams are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest to compete in this FAA Challenge by 11:59 PM ET October 16, 2019.

Finalist Announcement: A panel of FAA judges will conduct an evaluation and select three finalist teams, which will be announced by March 2020.

Demonstration and Awards: Finalist teams will be invited to New Jersey to demonstrate their concepts in May of 2020. A $25,000 award will be given to the lead university of the winning team

For more information about this Challenge, please contact:

The 2020 RASC-AL Competition

NASA’s RASC-AL Competition is a collegiate-level engineering design challenge that allows students to
 incorporate their coursework into real aerospace design concepts and work together in a team environment. With over a decade of history, the RASC-AL Competition is one of NASA’s longest running and most
student competitions.
The 2020 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) Competition is seeking proposals for new concepts that leverage innovations for NASA’s Artemis Moon program and
future human missions to Mars. Submit Proposals by 3/5/2020

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