Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "sidebar" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-1". Manually set the id to "sidebar-1" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/content/90/9386390/html/thenasalady/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4196

Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "footer" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-2". Manually set the id to "sidebar-2" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/content/90/9386390/html/thenasalady/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4196
Latest Buzz « The NASA Lady
Browsing articles in "Latest Buzz"

It’s Official….I’m an Author!

Jan 4, 2012   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz, NASA, The Launch Pad  //  No Comments

And to think I had started to not think at all, my book and my characters had come to a stall. It’s belief in oneself and a strong self esteem that will keep you inspired and able to dream!
—- Pam Greyer

Starwhirl2012 is the year that many of my dreams will actually come true! In 2006 (it’s been a long time coming) I sat under an amazing starry sky in Arizona on a beautiful summer night. Staring at the stars led to a conversation about student misconceptions of how far away stars were, how we see their twinkle, and most importantly the fact that they are always in the sky but we need the cloak of night for their brilliance to shine! From this conversation came the idea for a book. I’ve been told for years that my strength and true talent is in writing. I realized this many years ago as an undergrad student when a professor told me I had a true gift for writing. My initial dream was to one day win a Cleo award for some phenomenal advertising copy that would surely lead to an award winning campaign. Over the years I wrote everything from print ads, to radio and television commercials, documentaries, business-to-business marketing, collateral pieces, and everything in between. I bought every copy of Writers Digest for years and decided that I would pursue a career as an author. I just had to sit down and write something!

Well I never found the time or to be more specific I never took writing a book seriously. I made some attempts at starting a novel or two over the years but my heart wasn’t in it. When I began teaching years ago I saw this as an opportunity to share not only my skill with a video camera and an editing console, but I could also teach young people how to write and tell stories. I did that over the course of a twenty+ year career as an educator teaching English, Science, and coordinating programs along the way. When I became the Director of the NASA SEMAA Chicago site I came full circle back to my first passion of science but I could also inspire students to develop a love of words as they wrote, blogged, and researched some of the coolest science content on the planet. The idea for the book came in the same year as budget cuts to NASA’s education programs were threatening the closure of some SEMAA sites. We were on that list and I was determined to do everything in my power to keep the opportunity for our young people to stay engaged with NASA.

I originally thought it would be a novel for young adults and I began crafting characters and creating an outline. Then on a flight back to Chicago from Arizona that was more bumpy than normal I caught an inspiration. I think it was really more a fear that if the plane fell out of the sky I would at least have begun my book and while I wouldn’t have it finished in a two and half hour flight it would at least be a good framework and I would know that I didn’t just abandon the idea. That night I wrote seventy-five percent of the book and it morphed from being a novel into a children’s book complete with rhymes and some really stellar characters! I shared it with my family and my son thought it was incredible. “Finish it,” was all he said. This should have been an easy task but I let other things in my life that I gave power and precedence to become more important. I embarked on a mission to move the NASA Aeronautics Education Laboratory to a new location and get the SEMAA site re-opened. Every so often my son would look at me and say, “Finish your book.”

He gave me a deadline of his birthday in June of 2010 but of course while I did go back to the story and did some editing I still wasn’t finished. I watched the principal and Chief Area Officer district shut down one of the most fabulous and unique K-12 STEM programs with NASA as a prime content provider and made a decision that sometimes a incredibly large school district may not be the best partner to effect improvement in science instruction. So armed with seven years of experience in inspiring young people to develop a love of learning about and doing science, The NASA Lady was born. Over the last year I have had some of the most incredible experiences. I was selected for five NASA Tweetups and attended three; the launch of STS-133, 2011 JPL Tweetup, and the SOFIA Media Event. I was selected too for the NASA HQ Tweetup with Astro_Wheels (astronaut Doug Wheelock) and the return of STS-135 at Johnson Space Center in Houston but other commitments kept me from these. I went to the Mojave desert with Teachers in Space and flew in a glider with former space shuttle commander Rick Searfoss and wrote up an experiment that will hopefully get me into the next class of pioneer teachers who will fly into sub-orbital space on XCOR’s Lynx spacecraft in the very near future.

I stay connected with presentations and outreach workshops as a NASA Solar System Ambassador and my volunteer work with the Stars @ Yerkes teacher program will never stop. In reflection of all the challenges I faced in 2011 I also realized that I accomplished some amazing things including the release of our 2010 Imagine Mars Student video project. Thus inspiration hit me at last and I took to the laptop and finished the book on Christmas Eve battling the second worse cold I’ve had in the last ten years but at last I am an author of a book!

They say inspiration comes in many ways and in celebrating the completion of my book there still lies another road ahead, getting it illustrated. The good thing about a novel is you only need cover art but a children’s book isn’t a children’s book without art on every page. A friend of mine and I wanted to catch the Dr. Seuss exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry before it leaves this Sunday. As we walked through the exhibit it was full of inspiration at every turn. Theodore Giesel was more than just a children’s author. He was an incredible illustrator who drew editorial cartoons, magazine covers, and advertising campaigns. While his Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish, Two Fish, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas is embedded in the hearts and memories of most of us, his genius went far beyond that. I read so many of his books to my son when he was little and I always wondered how he came up with those fantastical animals and moving contraptions. The exhibit explained all that, especially the sculptures which he created from beaks, horns, and other parts of dead animals from the Springfield, Massachusetts zoo his father ran. On the way into the Secret Garden, a collection of artwork that Geisel kept away from public eyes for years, there was a large wall that had a very simple message and a series of steps to turn any aspiring writer into a published author. The writings were simple and straight to point. It started off with a huge rejection slip and mentioned the twenty nine publishers that rejected his first book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. There was no talk about finding your muse or creating a comfortable writers space to get inspiration. The philosophy was simple, just write. The same words that my son said to me over and over and over.

Dr. Seuss Quote

The big blue wall encouraged coming up with an idea, crafting your characters, and telling a story. It’s just that simple. Finish it! At the end there was a suggestion too that with the plethora of outlets available for getting your book published these days you could be on your way to literary fame just like Dr. Seuss in no time!

Of course, just like Dr. Seuss my mind never stops. As soon as the illustrations are done the book will be published for the Amazon Kindle and other eReaders. I will epublish it but I want to read it as well to young people so I will need hard copies. There is still magic in turning the pages of a book and running your fingers over beautifully illustrated pages. The book will become part of my new 2012 science literacy initiative and I am excited to share my characters with people around the world to help bring a greater understanding to often confusing science concepts. The little book that almost wasn’t has spawned a complete series that I see in my head even as I write this. I don’t know if I’ll write over forty books like Dr. Seuss but I’m on a roll and as they say, “You’re only as good as your last piece of work.”

It’s great to be alive but even greater to have an opportunity to continue inspiring people from all walks of life in every corner of the world with the wonders that are science and the beauty that space and our Universe so gladly offer up to all of us every day for free.

Peace and Prosperity in the New Year!

XOXO – The NASA Lady

FIRST Adds Kinect for Xbox 360 Technology for 2012 Competition

Oct 12, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz, Robotics  //  No Comments

Dean Kamen has done it again. Kamen, inventor and founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) continues to provide excitement and innovation to the FIRST Robotics Competition by putting real world technologies in the hands of high school students with the addition of Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 technology that will ship with the standard Kit of Parts for the 2012 FRC season.

Kinect for Xbox 360 technology will allow the competitors to “be the robot” which gives the drivers and the human players competing on the field a new level of technological insight through the use of a natural user interface. “This has got me excited!” said E. Bell, senior and lead student programmer of FIRST Team 2462, the Digibots.

Teams on the field will interact with their robots using gestures detected by a high level Kinect sensor that will give students more control over their field strategy. The joystick can become a tool of the past which will be an innovation in itself. I’m excited because programming is an invaluable skill that once learned will allow my students to always be hirable or employable. While gaming companies have used natural user interfaces for some time, more corporate, institutional, and government entities are realizing the benefits of NIU’s and incorporating them in software applications, new products, and learning environments.

FIRST has been in my life since 2002 when I was asked to join FIRST Team 1064 as the Visual Coordinator. I remember telling the coach that I would be delighted to take pictures and capture video footage of the team in competition as well as behind the scenes but I wouldn’t do anything that would cause me to break a fingernail! Motors, chains, drills, acuators, and other mechanical parts soon became a part of my life as did my laptop and a change in roles to become the programming mentor. The robot may look lean and mean and have some of the best innovations added to it but without a solid program in both autonomous and driver controlled modes nothing is going to happen.

I don’t game often so this will be a new experience for me but one that will be second nature for Bell and other students on FIRST teams who use the Kinect NUI in games they play on their Xboxes. Bringing familiar technology that lets the student get even closer to the game being played on the field as well as learning how to incorporate this technology into their robots is a natural for FIRST. Inspiring them to gain 21st century work skills and be the future STEM game changers is even more valuable. In 2011 Dean made FIRST loud thanks to and the Black Eyed Peas. In 2012 he’ll make FIRST interactive as well as innovative.

Read more about the FIRST and Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 partnership and the cool innovations coming to the 2012 FRC season by following this link

Fond Farewell

Aug 12, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz  //  No Comments

Life has been a whirlwind of activity before, during, and after the launch of STS-135. As they often say, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray,” could never be more true. Live streaming worked great for STS-133. Not a glitch and had no network connection issues. The same could not be said for sts-135. Take 1 million people (Yes, I said it, 1 million people) scattered, or in some cases elbow to elbow, in a small geographic area like the Space Coast with everyone Tweeting, calling, capturing video, etc. and the strain on the cellular towers just couldn’t take it. I’ll take pause here. Watch the magnificence of the final flight of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program as Atlantis, STS-135 carries three men and one woman riding on a rocket into space.

I lost all cell communication at 9:05 am just as I approached the security checkpoint heading to Kennedy Space Center. There was a group of Space Tweeps already there but with no phone signal I could only walk around KSC and hope to find them. I settled for a nice spot near the Astronaut Memorial right next to a jumbo screen keeping a close eye on Atlantis as she sat on the launch pad waiting to lift off and listening to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center which was as exciting as waiting for liftoff itself.

KSC was not as crowded as some of the other viewing locations, particularly Space View Park where I originally planned to watch Atlantis take to the sky. The notion of arriving at around 5 pm the day before launch without a tent, a tarp, a rain poncho, or any place that I could sleep became less and less of an attractive option. Much love and appreciation to @mgrabois who gave me a badge to KSC with my only desire to get the envelope post marked on launch day and mailed to me.

Unlike the Tweetup and all of the special attention we received from NASA, viewing on your own was a different story. Some of us secured causeway tickets, others had special invites to view from places like the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and some just played it by ear. The fortunate STS-135 Tweetup folks got an up close and personal view and experience at the press site but their encounter included a slew of press and other people who came to see, record, and disseminate information on the final launch of America’s space shuttle program. Nevertheless it was history in the making and the last time we would see these magnificent space vehicles take flight.

For those of us without tickets there were plenty of places to watch a shuttle launch. The previous evening we had driven out to the Airforce base and noticed a long stretch of road with the perfect view to watch the launch, not as close as the press site but nonetheless a great spot to see Atlantis rise into the air. We got out of the car and spent some time just looking at Atlantis all lit up on the launch pad and reflecting that this would be the last time an orbiter would be in that position and on launch pad 39A. We’ve seen them all, Discovery, Endeavor, Challenger, and Columbia, and Atlantis launch countless numbers of time into space. America mourned the tragic losses in the Challenger and Columbia tragedies but it reminded us of a fact that @AVClubVids has said often and presented in a SpaceUp San Diego Conference talk that space is dangerous. Listening to astronauts talk about their feelings on launch day solidifies this fact. Yet, many of us took the space shuttle program for granted and many argued that it was a colossal waste of money and manpower. What is was in reality was an opportunity for man to reach for the stars. Perhaps we didn’t work hard or fast enough, as we had done in the past, to make the dreams of space exploration beyond low Earth orbit a reality. Maybe we became complacent in our own arrogance that not only had we conquered space travel and landed on the Moon but we were the Masters of the Universe.

Perhaps it is the sense of taking a risk to do something that many people would easily take a pass on is what sets astronauts apart from the rest of us. As Atlantis ended her mission, people were heard to say that NASA was shutting down. So far from the truth and perhaps in a way many of us don’t quite understand yet it may be just the shot in the arm NASA needs. There are so many missions in space right now that just like the space shuttles people have ignored. After all, who but oceanographic and Earth scientists would care about an instrument, Aquarius, in space that measures the amount of salt in the atmosphere? Or a mission to Jupiter, Juno, that will reveal many undiscovered facts and open up a whole new conversation on the gas giant. Grail is going to study the Moon and later this year the biggest and baddest Mars robotic rover, Curiosity, will launch to give us a more thorough and in-depth investigation of what lies on Mars following in the footsteps of Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix, and Pathfinder. In order to find out what’s out there we have to explore and we’ve been doing that sort of in the dark from the eyes of the public as you really have to have a love for space to follow what NASA has been doing everyday for more than fifty years.

It doesn’t matter if the space shuttle program was what brought you into the fold or you have been a space/astronomy/astrophysicist geek for sometime, the fact that you have caught the bug is all that counts. I have taught space science and immersed myself in all things NASA for many years and until the STS-133 launch I never gave much thought to the possibility that I could one day go into space. The Zero-G flight was incredible experience and one that I considered would be the closest I’d ever come to really being in space. After hanging around orbiters, shuttle launches, robotic rovers, rockets, and other liked minded people who believe in human nature and the power of innovation did have a profound effect on me. We often talked about how the Tweetups were a life changing experience and many of us have blogged about it. For me it was not only a life changer but a mind changer as well. While I have always had a deep appreciation of Planet Earth, I began to view what I did everyday in an entirely different light. The shuttle launches for me became a head clearer, looking at the ordinary that I had taken for granted and beginning to see it as the extraordinary. This is a blog post in itself and one that I will sit down and craft soon. In the meantime, as the orbiters are preparing to make their final journey into museums, spend a few moments to live in the moment of two orbiters on a path of similar destiny.

Two orbiters on the runway at Kennedy Space Center

A two-fer!

Physics and Chemistry!

Jul 7, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz  //  No Comments

GM guys. The Tweetup is LIVE! Go to NASA Television to watch. Tweetup what you are learning. Tomorrow log on when you get into the lab. Launch is set for 10:28 am if rain doesn’t cause a scrub which means Atlantis won’t launch.

For those people who have asked about the assignment and how to do it here are the directions:

Use the background information on the Ares rocket. You will also need to refresh yourself on Newton’s Laws.

Fundamental Concepts and Principles, Grades 9-12
• Objects change their motion only when a net force is applied. Laws of motion are used to precisely calculate the effects of forces on the motion of objects. The magnitude of the change in motion can be calculated using the relationship F=ma, which is independent of the nature of the force. Whenever one object exerts a force on another, a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction is exerted on the first object.

Here is what you should do when you design your rocket:

Fundamental Concepts and Principles
1. Design a solution or product.
• Consider constraints.
• Communicate ideas with drawings and simple models.
2. Implement a design.
• Organize materials.
• Plan work.
• Work as collaborative group.
• Use suitable tools and techniques.
• Use appropriate measurement methods.
3. Evaluate the design.
• Consider factors affecting acceptability and suitability.
• Develop measures of quality.
• Suggest improvements.
• Try modifications.
• Communicate the process of design.
• Identify stages of problem identification, solution design, implementation, evaluation.
The challenge satisfies the following criteria for suitable design tasks:
• Well defined, not confusing.
• Based on contexts immediately familiar to students.
• Has only a few well-defined ways to solve the problem.
• Involves only one or two scientific concepts.
• Involves construction that can be readily

You won’t build this rocket but think of the activity as the process real rocket scientists use to design rockets. You can write on the packets and do the design on a plain piece of paper.

Do the same thing tomorrow for the thermal shield activity tomorrow.

If you have any questions just Tweet me!

You’re Invited to be part of history!

Jun 28, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz  //  No Comments

Live video of STS-133 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch!

On July 8th, 2011 (if launch remains on schedule) YOU are cordially invited to participate in the launch of STS-135, Space Shuttle Atlantis. For the last ten years, our NASA Aerospace Education Laboratory in Chicago was the pulse of mission control during daytime shuttle launches giving students an opportunity to not only watch a shuttle launch but learn the science, physics, and engineering behind the shuttles through hands-on activities in the AEL. STS-132 was the last group of students to participate in a mission control shuttle launch experience in our AEL. In October, 2010 a new era in watching space shuttle launches began for me as a participant in the STS-133 NASA Tweetup. The delay of STS-133 to a February 2011 launch allowed me to introduce virtual participation for my students, families and communities which changed the experience of a shuttle launch from watching coverage on NASA TV or other online news sources to an experience of really being right there with me. I will be connecting schools, educators, parents, families and communities once again to share with me live coverage of the last space shuttle launch.

On July 7th and 8th pre, live, and post launch events will be broadcast live on my Ustream, The NASA Lady, channel and on my Live! page here on the site. I’m encouraging everyone to watch, join in, and ask questions using the live chat feature. It promises to be not only a chapter in history that will bring to a close NASA’s human spaceflight program but a special time in history where we, as a collective humanity, will come together to celebrate the successes and scientific advancements and achievements as well as reflecting on the tragedies of the 30 years of the space shuttle program which reminds us that while going to space is dangerous it is the final frontier for humans to explore and that frontier will provide us with opportunities for a journey that will last far into the future.

For our youth, we are heading into exciting times. While NASA is passing the baton of designing and launching human spaceflight vehicles to commercial companies, an unpresecendented number of opportunities in STEM careers and entrepreneurial ventures are opening. My generation watched and many of us took the leap to work for NASA as engineers, scientists, researchers, mission control specialists, education outreach specialists, contractors, etc., or even became astronauts!

While the space shuttle never reached its original goal to make inexpensive weekly launches (estimated by NASA during the Nixon administration to cost around $7 million each and currently costing around 1.6 billion) into space a reality, the program has accomplished milestones including the launch and servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope, international cooperation in the building of the International Space Station, and launching probes to Venus and Jupiter. The shuttle program has also sustained a cooperative international working environment in space on board the ISS (International Space Station) and besides the human crew, STS-135 will carry a payload of cargo including a year’s worth of supplies, clothing, and equipment to the ISS.

As NASA launches the final mission of its 30 year space shuttle Program and, at least for the near foreseeable future, our government goes out of the human spaceflight business and bring to a close another era in America’s space program, you can be there! I’m looking forward to you joining me on July 7 & 8.

See ya live from Florida!

JPL, David Delgado & Imagine Mars

Jun 18, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz, NASA, Robotics, The Launch Pad  //  1 Comment

The 2011 JPL Tweetup was the second social media event hosted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The day was packed full of incredible presentations on four new NASA missions launching in the very near future, Aquauarius, Juno, Grail, and the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover as well as highlights of other JPL missions and a heartfelt farewell to the Mars Rover Spirit.

The last presentation of the day was David Delgado and the Imagine Mars Project which is a free online, fabulous resource for teachers, homeschool parents, communities, and students interested in space exploration and building communities. The following video is part 4 of the June 6, 2011 JPL Tweetup with David premiering “The Martians” videos of an incredible summer learning experience about Mars and how when given the tools and the expertise from the NASA JPL team, a NASA Solar System Ambassador, and the staff from the Neighborhood Network centers whose students were part of this program amazing things happen.

From the top and bottom of my heart and everyone in Chicago involved in this project, thank you David, Veronica, and the JPL Imagine Mars team for making this possible!

We Love you!


Jun 14, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz  //  No Comments

Pamela Greyer & David Delgado at JPL Tweetup

“Look who is on stage! @TheNasaLady! So honored to call her a friend. @thesuss

There haven’t been many times in my life when I can say that I’m, lost for words, but on Monday, June 6, 2011 during the NASA JPL Tweetup, I was completely overcome with emotion, gratitude, and such belief in how if you expose young people to knowledge they can take it to such great heights. Sometimes even as far as Mars!

I love what I do, and yes, dreams do come true and they can happen to you! Thanks to my friend @theSuss for capturing the moment!

Bye Bye Earth!

Jun 7, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz, NASA, The Launch Pad  //  No Comments

Today’s JPL Tweetup was amazing! So many missions, so much science, and such cool people. Imagine my surprise when the last presenter of the day, David Delgado from the Imagine Mars team, showed this to the entire room and everyone watching NASA TV.

This video was part of a summer NASA outreach experience I volunteered for through the Solar System Ambassador program in 2010. The final cut is awesome and it’s been a long time since I became speechless.

@NASA, @NASAJPL David, @VeronicaMCG, and everyone who worked on this project, we definitely rocked this one!

STS-135 NASA Tweetup Register Now!

Jun 1, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz, NASA  //  No Comments

Mission patch for STS-135

STS-135 Mission Patch

If you’ve always wanted to see a Space Shuttle launch up close and personal there’s no better opportunity than at a NASA Tweetup. This is so fantastic they could put it as a prize on Wheel of Fortune! Now, for one day and one day only you can register for the final and last NASA Space Shuttle Mission here

So don’t delay. Do it now! Registration closes tomorrow, June 2 at 11:59 am EDT. If you are lucky and get selected as a participant here’s what you’ll win!

Entrance into the NASA Kennedy Space Center and access to the media launch area for Tweetup events and launch viewing.

A day and evening full of out of this world events and presentations like meeting astronauts, NASA scientists and engineers, get suited for space, RSS retraction the daybefore launch, and lots more. *Each Tweetup is unique with events and activities and lately celebrities!

An opportunity to meet and hang out with the best Tweetup Social Media Manager ever, NASA’s Stephanie Schierholz.

Hanging out with 149 other like minded space enthusiasts who just can’t get enough of the excitement of watching humans ride a rocket to space.

A new community of friends that will last a lifetime.

Uncontrollable emotions as Atlantis lifts off which will include tears, jumps for joy, hugs, screams, applause, and happiness everywhere you look.

The ride to Florida and your accomodations are on you but when you look at all you get from the NASA end, it becomes a priceless expense and experience.

So what are you waiting for. Go sign up now! Yes, right now!!!!!!!!!!

Good luck!

A Final Farewell to Space Shuttle Endeavor OV-105

May 29, 2011   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz, NASA  //  No Comments

As NASA approaches the end of the Space Shuttle program, Endeavor is preparing for her return to Earth on Wednesday June 1st.  Discovery is in the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) undergoing decommissioning and preparing to be shipped to her new museum home.  Endeavor will follow as will Atlantis after her final flight in July.  There is so much to say about the space shuttle program and so many stories to continue to share for the years to come as we will remember  space shuttle missions and her crews like have the Mercury and Apollo missions.

Take a moment to reflect at the awe of a space shuttle launch and all the hard work that goes into getting the orbiters ready for and launched into space through the eyes of OV-105, Space Shuttle Endeavor.



Godspeed to the safe return of the Endeavor crew.  Enjoy!