Archive for the ‘NASA Opportunities’ Category

NASA Call for Abstracts for the 71st International Astronautical Congress

This “Call for Abstracts” is a precursor to a subsequent submission of a final paper, which may be presented at the 71st IAC. Student authors are invited to submit an abstract regarding an original, unpublished paper that has not been submitted in any other forum. A NASA technical review panel will select abstracts from those that have been accepted by the IAF. This opportunity is for graduate students majoring in fields related to the IAF research topics. Students may submit technical (oral) presentations and/or interactive presentations. Students may submit abstracts that are co-authored with their Principal Investigators. However, the student must be the “lead author,” and only the student will present at the IAC. Students must be available to travel to the conference to represent NASA and their universities. Students must be U.S. citizens, who are attending a U.S. university and plan to enter a career in space science or aeronautics. Pending the availability of funding, graduate students selected by NASA to participate in the IAC will be considered for subsidy funding from NASA. Only abstracts selected by the IAF will be considered for NASA sponsorship.         

Many students and professors are currently involved in NASA related research that could be considered for this submission. Students submitting abstracts are strongly encouraged to seek advice from professors, who are conducting NASA research and/or from NASA scientists and engineers. Abstracts must be related to NASA’s ongoing vision for space exploration, to include Artemis Program (; and fit into one of the following IAC categories:

The criteria for the selection will be defined according to the following specifications:

Submit your abstract to NASA at no later than 11:59 PM EST on Thursday, February 27, 2020.  Please submit proof of U.S. citizenship and current enrollment in U.S. University or college no later than February 27, 2020 to Submit your abstract to the IAF at their website, by Friday, February 28, 2020 (23:59:00 GST).

IAC Paper Selection:
Submitted abstracts will be evaluated by the Session Chairs on the basis of technical quality and relevance to the session topics. Selected abstracts may be chosen for eventual oral or interactive poster presentation. Any such choice is not an indication of quality of the submitted abstract. Their evaluation will be submitted to the Symposium Coordinators, who will make acceptance recommendations to the International Programme Committee, which will make the final decision. Please note that any relevance to the Congress main theme will be considered as an advantage.

The following information must be included in the submission: paper title, name of contact author, name of co-author(s), organization(s), full postal address, phone, email of the author and co-author(s). Abstract should specify purpose, methodology, results and conclusions and should indicate that substantive technical and/or programmatic content, as well as clearly indicate that the material is new and original and explain why and how.

Please check the IAF website ( regularly to get the latest updates on the Technical Programme.

James Webb Space Telescope Training Workshop

A team formed by members from the Florida Space Institute, the Planetary Group at the University of Central Florida, Arecibo Observatory, and the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, was selected to attend the JWST Master Class Workshop, hosted by STScI. The purpose of the Master Class Workshop was for the team to learn the fundamentals in JWST proposal planning and to be a local resource for the scientific community.

We attended the Master Class this past November and it is now our turn to train other researchers interested in using JWST. Our goal is to host a useful and practical workshop in time for the Cycle 1 General Observer call for proposal, which will open on January 23, 2020.

Please visit the following link for information on the 2-day workshops we are planning:  

The workshop will be available at:

Both workshops can be attended either in-person or online, but attendees must register at the above link. Registration will be open until February 17th, however, we encourage you to register before January 10th, so that we can effectively plan for your attendance.

One of the goals of the Master Class is to disseminate information that we learned in order to create a network of researchers who can effectively  propose for observing time to JWST. We learned the necessary tools to apply for observing time, for example: the Astronomer Proposal Tool, the Exposure Time Calculator, and the Visibility Tools. Additionally, we learned about the tools to find the information needed for proposal preparation. We hope to convey this useful information to our local scientific communities.  

Please feel free to distribute this information to interested parties so that we can maximize the number of attendees.

Estela Fernández-Valenzuela

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Florida Space Institute (UCF)

(+1) 407-823-6394

12354 Research Parkway

Partnership I building, Suite 211

Orlando, FL 32826 (USA)



Use of the NASA Physical Sciences Informatics System – Appendix F

NASA has released the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) titled “Use of the NASA Physical Sciences Informatics System – Appendix F” on September 16, 2019. 

The NRA solicits ground-based research proposals – both experimental and numerical studies – utilizing experimental data residing in NASA’s Physical Sciences Informatics (PSI) system ( This online database provides investigators access to the raw and processed experimental data from physical science reduced-gravity flight experiments conducted on the International Space Station (ISS), Space Shuttle flights, Free Flyers, or commercial cargo flights to and from the ISS, and from related ground-based studies. The PSI system is a tool designed for researchers to data mine information from reduced-gravity physical sciences experiments and use it to further science in accordance with the open science approach, while also meeting the requirements of the nation’s Open Data Policy. The current call for proposals solicits proposals in the five research areas – Combustion Science, Complex Fluids, Fluid Physics, Fundamental Physics, and Materials Science – for which eligible experimental data will be available in the PSI by the proposal due date of December 16, 2019. Data from 63 investigations are eligible for this NRA. The call is open to two types of investigators: established researchers and graduate students. The award for each proposal selected will be a maximum of $100,000 per year for a total maximum award amount up to $200,000 for a two-year period.

The NRA is available at:

NASA plans to conduct a proposers’ conference via WebEx at 2 pm Eastern Time on October 8, 2019. To participate, navigate to and enter the meeting information: meeting number: 909 907 088 / meeting password: rPTgbB@4. To hear the audio for the conference, call 1-844-467-4685 and enter the conference passcode: 544479#. If you want to submit questions about the PSI or the NRA before the conference, please send your questions to For additional information, see the PSI website.

Milestones connected to this NRA:

Sep 16, 2019 – Release NRA Appendix F

Oct 8, 2019 – Conduct Proposers’ Conference via WebEx

Oct 28, 2019 – Notices of Intent Due

Dec 16, 2019 – Proposals Due

June 15, 2020 – Announce Selections (target)

If you have any questions about the NRA or the PSI system, please do not hesitate to contact the PSI NRA team.


Fran Chiaramonte, Preethi Manoharan, Teresa Miller, Cheryl Payne, Karen Stevens, and Harri Vanhala


The 2020 RASC-AL Special Edition: Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge

NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) invite your teams to participate in the 2020 Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge! Through this challenge, teams have the opportunity to demonstrate unique methods for harvesting resources on lunar and Martian surfaces.

The 2020 RASC-AL Special Edition: Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge asks eligible undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S. to design and build prototype hardware that can extract water and assess subsurface density profiles from a simulated off-world test bed to advance critical technologies needed on the surface of the Moon and Mars.

Up to 10 teams will travel to NASA’s Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, VA during the summer of 2020 to participate in a multi-day competition where the universities’ prototypes will compete to extract the most water from an analog environment simulating lunar and Martian surfaces, while simultaneously using system telemetry to distinguish between overburden layers (i.e., prospecting) and create a digital core of the various layers. 

To see what the challenge is like, please watch our Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge video.

The challenge? Each simulated subsurface ice station will contain solid blocks of ice buried under various layers of overburden (terrestrial materials of varying hardness that represent possible materials found on lunar or Martian surfaces). Teams will also be asked to provide a digital core that represents their knowledge and understanding of where each of the overburden layers are, the general hardness of each different layer, and the thickness of each layer. The water extraction and prospecting system is subject to mass, volume, and power constraints.

Interested student teams and their faculty advisors should submit an online Notice of Intent by October 4, 2019 and submit project plan proposals by November 24, 2019.

Based on a review of the project plan proposals, the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Steering Committee will select up to 10 finalist teams, who will each receive $10,000 to build their prototype and test its capabilities at the on-site competition at NASA LaRC next June.

In addition to the demonstrating their prototype technology, Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge finalists will submit a technical paper and give a poster presentation to NASA and industry judges detailing their concept’s “paths-to-flight” (i.e. how the design can be modified for use on the surface of the Moon or Mars).

For full competition details, including submission guidelines, please visit the RASC-AL Special Edition Website:

If you have any questions, please contact the RASC-AL Program Team:

Kindest Regards,

The RASC-AL Program Team: Shelley Spears, Stacy Dees, Victoria “Tori” O’Leary

NASA Invites K-12 Students IN U.S. public, private and home schools to Name Next Mars Rover

NASA Invites Students to Name Next Mars Rover

Red rover, red rover, send a name for Mars 2020 right over! NASA is recruiting help from students nationwide to find a name for its next Mars rover mission.

Starting Tuesday, K-12 students in U.S. public, private and home schools can enter the Mars 2020 Name the Rover essay contest. One grand prize winner will name the rover and be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Name the Rover contest is part of NASA’s efforts to engage students in the STEM enterprise behind Mars exploration and inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“This naming contest is a wonderful opportunity for our nation’s youth to get involved with NASA’s Moon to Mars missions,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “It is an exciting way to engage with a rover that will likely serve as the first leg of a Mars Sample return campaign, collecting and caching core samples from the Martian surface for scientists here on Earth to study for the first time.”

The Mars 2020 rover is a 2,300-pound robotic scientist that will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

“Our Mars 2020 rover has fully taken shape over the past several months, as the project team installed various components onto the chassis: the computer brain and electronics; wheels and mobility system; robotic arm; remote sensing mast; the seven science instruments; and finally, the sample caching system,” said George Tahu, Mars 2020 program executive. “All that’s missing is a great name!”

To enter the contest, students must submit by Nov. 1 their proposed rover name and a short essay, no more than 150 words, explaining why their proposed name should be chosen. The essays will be divided into three groups, by grade level – K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 – and judged on the appropriateness, significance and originality of their proposed name, and the originality and quality of their essay, and/or finalist interview presentation.

Fifty-two semifinalists will be selected per group, each representing their respective state or U.S. territory. Three finalists then will be selected from each group to advance to the final round.

As part of the final selection process, the public will have an opportunity to vote online on the nine finalists in January 2020. NASA plans to announce the selected name on Feb. 18, 2020 – exactly one year before the rover will land on the surface of Mars.

For complete contest and prize details, visit:

The naming contest partnership is part of a Space Act Agreement between NASA, Battelle of Columbus, Ohio, and Future Engineers of Burbank, California, in educational and public outreach efforts.

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