joe acaba

Back to School Resources

Need help with your science homework? We’ve got you covered! Here are some out-of-this world (pun intended) resources for your science and space questions.

Let’s take a look…

NASA Space Place

From questions like “Why does Saturn have rings?” to games that allow you to explore different galaxies, NASA Space Place has a variety of content for elementary-age kids, parents and anyone who likes science and technology topics. 

Visit the NASA Space Place website or follow @NASASpacePlace on Twitter.


Targeting middle-school students and teachers, this NOAA and NASA partnership has games and useful information about weather and other Earth science subjects. 

Visit the SciJinks website or follow @SciJinks on Twitter. 

NASA Education

The NASA Education website includes an A-Z list of education opportunities that we offer throughout the year, as well as education programs, events and resources for both students and educators. 

We have a diverse set of resources for multiple age groups:

Visit the NASA Education website or follow @NASAedu on Twitter. 

Want to get NASA Education materials for your classroom? Click HERE

A Year of Education on the International Space Station

Although on different crews, astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold - both former teachers - will work aboard the International Space Station. K-12 and higher education students and educators can do NASA STEM activities related to the station and its role in our journey to Mars. Click HERE for more. 

Sally Ride EarthKAM

Also on the International Space Station, the Sally Ride EarthKAM @ Space Camp allows students to program a digital camera on board the space station to photograph a variety of geographical targets for study in the classroom. 

Registration is now open until Sept. 25 for the Sept. 26-30 mission. Click HERE for more. 

NASA eClips™

NASA eClips™ are short, relevant educational video segments. These videos inspire and engage students, helping them see real world connections by exploring current applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, topics. The programs are produced for targeted audiences: K-5, 6-8, 9-12 and the general public.

Space Operations Learning Center

The Space Operations Learning Center teaches school-aged students the basic concepts of space operations using the web to present this educational content in a fun and engaging way for all grade levels. With fourteen modules, there’s lots to explore for all ages.

The Mars Fun Zone

The Mars Fun Zone is a compilation of Red Planet-related materials that engage the explorer inside every kid through activities, games, and educational moments. 

Fly Away with NASA Aeronautics

Frequent flyer or getting ready to earn your first set of wings? From children’s books for story time to interactive flight games, we’ve got Aeronautics activities for students of all ages that are sure to inspire future scientists, mathematicians and engineers. 

On Pinterest? We have a board that highlights NASA science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lessons, activities, tools and resources for teachers, educators and parents. 

Check it out here: 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:


Expedition 53/54 crew members Alexander Misurkin, Joe Acaba, and Mark Vande Hei left Earth in their Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft and arrived at the International Space Station on September 12-13, 2017, ahead of a five-and-a-half month stay aboard the ISS.

“The Soyuz rocket is rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. Expedition 53 flight engineer Mark Vande Hei of NASA, Soyuz Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, and flight engineer Joe Acaba of NASA will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan the morning of September 13 (Kazakh time.) All three will spend approximately five and a half months onboard the International Space Station.”

— via NASA

100 Days in Houston

A lot can happen in 100 days…

At our Johnson Space Center, located in Houston, it has been busy since July 10. Here are six things that have been going on in Houston with our astronauts, the International Space Station and our next great telescope! Take a look:

1. Our James Webb Space Telescope is Spending 100 Days in a Freezing Cold Chamber

Imagine seeing 13.5 billion light-years back in time, watching the birth of the first stars, galaxies evolve and solar systems form…our James Webb Space Telescope will do just that once it launches in 2019.

Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, studying every phase in the cosmic history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems.

On July 10, the Webb telescope entered Johnson Space Center’s historic Chamber A for its final cryogenic test that lasts about 100 days behind a closed giant vault-like door. 

Why did we put Webb in this freezing cold chamber? To ensure it can withstand the harsh environment it will experience in space.

The telescope has been in a space-like environment in the chamber, tested at cryogenic temperatures. In space, the telescope must operate at extremely cold temperatures so that it can detect infrared light – heat radiation – from faint, distant objects. 

To keep the telescope cold while in space, Webb has a sunshield the size of a tennis court, which blocks sunlight (as well as reflected light from the Earth and Moon). This means that the sun-facing side of the observatory is incredibly hot while the telescope-side remains at sub-freezing temperatures.

2. Our 12 new astronaut candidates reported to Houston to start training

Our newest class of astronaut candidates, which were announced on June 7, reported for training on August 13. These candidates will train for two years on International Space Station systems, space vehicles and Russian language, among many other skills, before being flight-ready. 

3. Our Mission Control Center operated for 2,400 hours

While astronauts are in space, Mission Control operates around the clock making sure the crew is safe and the International Space Station is functioning properly. This means workers in Mission Control work in three shifts, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., 3 p.m. – midnight and 11 p.m. – 8 a.m. This includes holidays and weekends. Day or night, Mission Control is up and running.

4. Key Teams at Johnson Space Center Continued Critical Operations During Hurricane Harvey

Although Johnson Space Center closed during Hurricane Harvey, key team members and critical personnel stayed onsite to ensure crucial operations would continue. Mission Control remained in operation throughout this period, as well as all backup systems required to maintain the James Webb Space Telescope, which is at Johnson for testing, were checked prior to the arrival of the storm, and were ready for use if necessary.

5. Crews on the International Space Station conducted hundreds of science experiments.

Mission Control at Johnson Space Center supported astronauts on board the International Space Station as they worked their typical schedule in the microgravity environment. Crew members work about 10 hours a day conducting science research that benefits life on Earth as well as prepares us for travel deeper into space. 

The space station team in Houston supported a rigorous schedule of launches of cargo that included supplies and science materials for the crew living and working in the orbiting laboratory, launched there by our commercial partners. 

6. Two new crews blasted off to space and a record breaking astronaut returned from a stay on space station

Houston is home to the Astronaut Corps, some of whom end up going out-of-this-world. On July 28, NASA Astronaut Randy Bresnik launched to the International Space Station alongside Italian astronaut Paolo Naspoli and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy. Joining them at the International Space Station were NASA Astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei who launched September 12 with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

When NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson landed with crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyoder Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, she broke the record for the most cumulative time in space by a U.S. astronaut. She landed with over 650 days of cumulative flight time and more than 53 hours of spacewalk time. Upon her return, the Human Research Program in Houston studies her health and how the human body adapted to her time in space.

Learn more about the Johnson Space Center online, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:


@AstroKomrade: Our Earth is but an island in the cosmos. Exp 53 crew is embracing the island lifestyle with our @Space_Station Hawaiians on #Aloha Friday!

Go Behind-the-Scenes at NASA

Are you active on social media? Want to go behind-the-scenes at NASA and meet our scientists, engineers, astronauts and managers? Want to see and feel a rocket launch in-person? Then you would love our NASA Social events!

A NASA Social is a program that provides opportunities for our social media followers (like you!) to learn and share information about our missions, people and programs. Formerly known as NASA Tweetups, these socials include both special in-person events and social media credentials for people who share the news in a significant way. To date, this program has brought thousands of people together for unique social media experiences of exploration and discovery.

NASA Socials range from two hours to two days in length and include a “meet and greet” session to allow participants to mingle with fellow socialites and the people behind our social media accounts. The participants are selected from those who register their interest for the event on the web.

Do you need to have a social media account to register for a NASA Social? 

Yes. The socials are designed for social media users who follow @NASA on a variety of platforms. The goal of NASA Socials is to allow people who regularly interact with each other via these platforms to meet in person and discuss one of their favorite subjects: NASA!

What types of events have we hosted in the past? Take a look:

Participants for a NASA Social surrounding the launch of a SpaceX cargo vehicle to the International Space Station met with former Deputy Administrator Lori Garver underneath the engines of the Saturn V rocket.

A participant at a NASA Social in Washington tweets as he listens to astronaut Joe Acaba answer questions about his time living aboard the International Space Station.

Juno launch Tweetup participants pose for a group photo with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden with the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in the background at Kennedy Space Center.

And of course, some of our NASA Socials culminate with a rocket launch! You can experience one in-person. Apply to attend a once in a lifetime experience. 

For more information about NASA Social events, and to see upcoming opportunities, visit:

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:


Today was incredible. Earlier this afternoon, NASA provided me and 13 other social media users the opportunity to speak with the Expedition 32 crew who are aboard the international space station. My question to astronaut Suni Williams: “What experiments are being conducted aboard the space station?” She replied, but I haven’t the slightest idea what she said. My heart was pounding and all I could think about was whether or not my voice was clear. Essentially, my brain turned to mush and I couldn’t hear anything anymore. If it weren’t for this video, I’d still be in the dark!

All the questions and answers were great (there’s even one in Spanish), but if you want to skip ahead and hear my question, it’s at 17:14.

That horizontal humanoid photobombing the astronauts is Robonaut 2, a dexterous robot designed to help the astronauts when they need an extra pair of hands.