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Feature: Enter the Dragon

dragonWhen the Space Shuttle Discovery made its final flight May 12 and landed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space annex in northern Virginia, it marked “a very emotional, poignant, bittersweet moment” for former astronaut Mike Mullane. A few short weeks later, a spacecraft named Dragon made history as the first commercial vehicle ever to successfully berth at the International Space Station.

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YouTube Launches Space Contest

space stationMove aside, cute kitties and other viral video hits. A new NASA contest could turn science into the next YouTube sensation. Space Lab, the competition announced by YouTube and computer manufacturer Lenovo on Monday, offers students the chance to make video pitches for experiments to perform in the International Space Station’s zero-gravity environment.

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Competition: NASA Design Challenge, grades 5-8. Dec. 8, 2010

490614main_kids3_226NASA’s “Kids in Micro-g” student experiment design challenge for grades 5-8, is aimed at giving students a hands-on opportunity to design an experiment or simple demonstration that could be performed both in the classroom and by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

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Contest: NASA’s Sports Design Challenge

Spaced Out Sports ContestStudents in grades 5-8 are invited to participate in Spaced Out Sports, a national design challenge that applies Newton’s Laws of Motion in the design of a game for astronauts of the International Space Station to play in space. The goal is for students to learn the “science behind the game” on Earth and in microgravity. Deadline: February 1, 2011.

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Online Magazine: Astrobiology Magazine

previewAstrobiology Magazine is a NASA-sponsored online popular science magazine, with stories that profile current exciting news across the wide, interdisciplinary field of astrobiology — the study of life in the universe. The magazine publishes new stories daily, and, in addition to a large article archive, offers a catalogue of podcasts, notes from the field, blogs, and other types of multimedia.

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Class Activity: Satellite Tracker

In this activity, middle school students use tracking software available on the Internet to monitor a very large satellite, the International Space Station. Using information from this online resource, students predict and graph the motion of the space station at their location and create a 3-D display of its path through the sky.

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Website: Students Photograph Earth from Space

EARTHKAM2

NASA’s EarthKAM helps students learn about the Earth from the unique perspective of space. Through this interactive program, middle school students take part in photographing the Earth from a digital camera onboard the International Space Station. Educators are encouraged to register now for the upcoming April EarthKAM Mission.

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