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LiftOff 2017- Texas Space Grant Consortium


Beginning in the summer of 1990, the NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium initiated week long professional development training for teachers. This aerospace workshop, called LiftOff, emphasizes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning experiences by incorporating a space science theme supported by NASA missions. Teacher participants are provided with information and experiences through speakers, hands-on activities and field investigations that promote space science and enrichment activities for themselves and others.


A solar system is a star and all of the objects that travel around it – planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and meteoroids. NASA is conducting an unprecedented array of missions that will seek new knowledge and understanding of Earth, the solar system and the universe.

Multiple NASA missions are studying our sun and the solar system, unraveling mysteries about their origin and evolution. By understanding variations of the sun in real-time, we can better characterize space weather, which can impact exploration and technology on Earth. In August 2017, a total eclipse of the Sun is visible from a narrow corridor that traverses the U.S. Educators will receive background information on the Sun while analyzing the characteristics of objects in the solar system that allow life to exist. Learn about Day and Night, Seasons, and Tides.

The first human footsteps on Mars will follow rover tracks. A fleet of robotic explorers already is on and around Mars, dramatically increasing our knowledge about the Red Planet. The planet once had conditions suitable for life, making it a rich destination for scientific discovery and robotic and human exploration as we expand our presence into the solar system. The formation of Mars and its evolution are comparable to Earth, helping us learn more about our own planet’s history and future. Future exploration could uncover evidence of life on Mars, answering one of the fundamental mysteries of the cosmos: Does life exist beyond Earth?

NASA telescopes also are peering into the farthest reaches of the universe and back to its earliest moments of existence, helping us understand the universe’s origin, evolution, and destiny.

Technology drives exploration. On Earth and in space, NASA is developing, testing and flying transformative capabilities and cutting-edge technologies for a new future of human and robotic exploration. We take emerging technologies and mature them, delivering innovative solutions that can improve our capabilities to explore, save lives and create economic growth.

To help humans reach an asteroid and Mars, we’ll continue to evolve technologies like advanced solar electric propulsion, large-scale solar sails, new green propellants, and composite cryogenic storage tanks for refueling depots in orbit. These new space technologies will spawn new knowledge and capabilities to sustain our future missions.

Join us as we reach for new heights to reveal the unknown at: Starry Night!


  • Presentations by NASA scientists and engineers
  • Tours of NASA and Space Center Houston
  • Hands-on, inquiry based classroom activities aligned to educational standards
  • Career Exploration
  • Teacher Feature (sharing of classroom lessons and activities)
  • Opportunity to interact with researchers dedicated to space missions


  1. Currently employed as a 4-12 grade classroom educator
  2. Minimum one year teaching experience prior to workshop
  3. Demonstrate willingness to share information with others
  4. Must be a U.S. citizen


  • Texas Participants: FREE – All expenses paid by TSGC upon selection
  • Out-of-State: $750 registration fee + travel to Houston, Texas
  • Applications: Must be submitted online

The deadline for receiving applications is April 14 for LiftOff 2017 and should be submitted through the online system:

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About Heidi DeGarmo, South-Metro Salem STEM Webmaster (137 Articles)
Heidi DeGarmo is a senior at OregonTech majoring in IT-Health Informatics. As a combat veteran it is a passion of hers to pay it forward. The South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership (SMSP) is a collaboration of school districts, community colleges, universities, out-of-school programs and business and community partners that is focused on increasing student access and success in STEM fields.