The Cosmic Origins (COR) Program has joined with the Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) Program to develop Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) activities. The PCOS/COR E/PO team is working to create a portfolio of activities highlighting the science goals and themes of the PCOS and COR programs. The E/PO Team is led by members of the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) E/PO group at NASA/Goddard.
We will be adding links to our activities as they become available. Here is a selection of PCOS/COR E/PO activities that are currently under development:
Explosions, collisions, births, and deaths—the Universe presents astronomers with an abundance of puzzles to analyze. Scientists are keen to solve the mysteries of these events and explore the origins, evolution, and mechanics of our Universe. But these events may have happened millions or billions of years ago, and trillions of kilometers from Earth. The primary evidence astronomers can collect is electromagnetic radiation—light. The NASA Space Forensics project takes audiences through astronomy problem-solving narratives that parallel crime scene forensics. The "corpse" could be a massive star that ended its life in a brilliant supernova explosion. The "theft" might involve stellar material, swirling into an unseen singularity at the center of a galaxy.
Space Forensics is an expansion of a successful pilot teacher's workshop, developed in 2007 for Imagine the Universe, which took teachers and students through the "crime scene" left after the supernova explosion of Cassiopeia A. In 2012, we will be developing several additional Space Forensics cases with classroom activities and educator guides to accompany each narrative. Beginning in 2013, we will produce an interactive website to make these cases and activities available to wider audiences, challenging armchair crime-solvers to explore the mysteries of the universe.
The key questions driving the PCOS/COR programs are "How does the Universe work?" and "How did we get here?" Many PCOS/COR science topics—black holes, supernovae, dark energy, dark matter, and gravitational waves—involve compelling questions that interest scientists and the public alike. The Space Forensics project will allow teachers, students, and the public to engage in the science of PCOS/COR missions and interact with authentic data, imagery, and problem-solving techniques used by NASA scientists.
Black holes, supernovae, the formation of elements inside of stars—these fascinating topics are among those explored in the PCOS/COR programs, but are they approachable by children? We say yes! Big Explosions and Strong Gravity has been helping Girl Scouts to approach these very topics since 2004.
In this day-long event, participants meet real scientists and join them for a day of exploration and hands-on activities to learn about these fascinating phenomena. Now the PCOS/COR E/PO team will be expanding BESG to serve other audiences beyond the Girl Scouts.
Beginning in 2012, we will be choosing specific out-of-school-time groups to work with, and by the end of 2013 our resources will have been expanded to include a variety of informal education audiences.
Visit the BESG webpage: http://bigexplosions.gsfc.nasa.gov/
Get a behind-the-scenes look at PCOS/COR with NASA Blueshift! Since 2007, NASA Blueshift has shared groundbreaking discoveries, innovative technology, new missions, and other exciting stories through blogs, podcasts, videos, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The PCOS/COR program includes a diverse portfolio of missions engaged in research about our exciting, ever-changing universe—and the NASA Blueshift team will share everything from high-profile discoveries to stories that may not make the media spotlight.