NASA has been in the news a lot lately – President Obama just named Charles Bolden as its new administrator a few days ago, the Hubble Telescope was repaired successfully, and soon NASA will prepare to launch the space shuttle Endeavour for a jouney to the International Space Station. For those citizen scientists interested in learning more about astronomy and physics, NASA has an excellent citizen science website filled with many ways that you can both access and contribute to their ongoing collection of observations. I am thrilled that NASA is beginning to make access to their research more public in the hopes that other governmental organizations will soon follow suit. Listed below are ways that you can become more involved in the future of space travel.
- Night Sky Network: Are you a part of an astronomy club? Like looking at photos from space? Or maybe you are interested in spreading the word about NASA missions to your local community? All of these resources and more are available in NASA’s Night Sky Network. One particular note of interest are the funding resources on this site that are available for high school astronomy groups.
- MY NASA DATA: My NASA Data, or Mentoring and inquirY using NASA Data for Atmospheric and earth science for Teachers and Amateurs (say that three times fast!) is an excellent resource for classroom teachers interested in new ideas to enrich next year’s astronomy curriculum. Teachers can make custom data sets from published data sets collected by NASA that their students can learn how to analyze, or students can simulate what an actual satellite orbit patterns might look like.
- What’s Observable Tonight?: Visitors can search by an observation date, location and other constraints to find all asteroids and comets that are observable on that night.
- Space Calendar: The Space Calendar covers space-related activities and anniversaries for the coming year. Included are over 1,700 links to related home pages!
There are many more activities where this short list comes from, and I hope all of you will check out the vast amount of information on the NASA website. Many thanks to Paul Shin, one of our Science Cheerleader subscribers, for suggesting this citizen science resource. As always, should you have any citizen science information that you would like to share with our readers, feel free to contact us here.