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Student Resources from NASA

Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS) Course:

              VESSS is a free program that allows high school juniors and seniors to earn up to five transferable college credits by engaging in a NASA developed course using an Environmental/Earth Science theme. The online course teachers a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning. Based on course performance, scholar may be selected to participate in al all-expense paid seven-day residential Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center.


This transferable, four-credit, Topic GOL 195 dual-enrollment course, offered through Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC), engages the student in real-world investigations of the Earth and its highly dynamic systems through the use of the latest research and data from NASA’s Earth Science missions. Students develop an understanding of the Earth’s responses to both natural and man-made changes to climate, weather, and natural hazards. Students will explore NASA’s major Earth Science missions addressing how the global Earth System is changing, how the Earth system will change in the near future. Students have the opportunity to earn additional transferable credit when enrolled in the independent research, GOL 195, course.

Residential NASA Summer Academy.

Students selected to participate in the free seven-day Summer Academy are immersed in the design of a hypothetical mission to study one of the Earth’s major spheres and how the spheres are interconnected. Students will address a real-world scenario based on NASA mission which are currently being studied or that will be studied in the Earth System Science. Students can earn an additional transferable independent research credit in GOL 195.

For more information, please visit www.vsgc.odu.edu/VESSS or contact Joyce Corriere at joyce.h.corriere@nasa.gov.

NASA LaRC (Langley Research Center) – MARS InSight

The MARS InSight Webinar was hosted by guest speakers, Michelle Munk and Soumyo Dutto. Michelle is the EDL system capability lead for NASA and looks over EDL technology all across NASA. Soumyo is Aerospace Engineer in Atmospheric Flight at the entry systems branch at NASA Langely, and his current research focuses on flight mechanic simulation and modeling of planetary entry systems. Both worked on the landing trajectory for MARS InSight as well other aspects. This webinar goes over the Seven Minutes of Terror, the landing foot print, the 3D models of MARS InSight, and the use of virtual simulations. After their discussion they go into questions they received from students. For example, why it is not possible for humans to go to Mars yet, how much InSight costs, and how ellipses and hyperbolas relate to the movement through space. After these questions were answered, they proceeded to display different sites pertaining to MARS InSight, as well as the classroom activity. Below are the links for the webinar, classroom activity, the recap on InSight’s landing, and MARS InSight’s home page at NASA.

For the Webinar, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9ZO9ULFEOU&feature=youtu.be.

For the Classroom activity, please visit https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/teach/activity/robotic-arm-challenge.

For the MARS InSight Recap Landing, please visit https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/timeline/landing/watch-online/.

For more information on MARS InSight, please visit https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/.

Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics
PO Box 73593
Richmond, VA 23235

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