Month: August 2015

Teachers and Students in China Find a Creative Way to Work Together

   Press Release


Bob Barboza, Founder/Director

Kids Talk Radio

Occupy Mars Learning Adventure

1857 Josie Ave. Long Beach, CA 90815

(562) 221-1780

For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 28, 2015- Space Science New Flash

K-12 Classrooms at The Edge of Space: NASA’s 747 Jumbo Jet Carries SOFIA, the largest flying telescope in the world

Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols and Traveling Space Museum’s Ivor Dawson will provide students with a unique view of the stars and galaxies. At 7 PM on September 15, 2015, Ms. Nichols, accompanied by Mr. Dawson, will be the first celebrity to board a special NASA 747 Jumbo Jet and travel to “the edge of space” to experience NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). The flight plan calls for observing areas of the cosmos where new stars are being born. During the flight, Bob Barboza and his Kids Talk Radio Space Science reporters will help to connect teachers and students from around the world with Nichols, Dawson and SOFIA via teleconferencing.

The flight will take off from NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center near Palmdale, California. Dawson, who is Nichelle Nichols’ space advisor, will be communicating with several student groups across America that will be hosting star parties with astronomy-themed videos, stories and explanations by celebrity scientists.   As such, he will be the first Los Angeles-based space educator to fly a SOFIA flight. NASA will also coordinate inflight social media interaction with Ms. Nichols via Facebook and Twitter Messages.

From Barboza’s platform in Long Beach, California, students and teachers will create audio podcasts for use in classrooms, based upon Common Core (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). “We want to do what we can to get kids excited about studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as related arts and languages (STEAM ++),” he says.   His Occupy Mars Website will host STEM news and lesson ideas related to the SOFIA project. Find them at and

Additional Information and Resources

Bob Barboza leads a team of scientists, engineers, and STEM & STEAM++ educators in building robots, Martian habitats, and simulated science and engineering labs for the Occupy Mars Learning Adventure’s Space Science Projects.   Their plan is to tour museums, science centers, departments of education and public schools with Occupy Mars exhibits, in tandem with Dawson’s Traveling Space Museum whenever possible.

For more information about SOFIA and Ms. Nichols’ Involvement, contact:

Nicholas A. Veronico, Public Affairs Officer

Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy

NASA Ames Research Center, MS-211-3

Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

(650) 604-4589



China: Send one rock to the Kids Talk Radio Science Team

Like Mars, Like Earth

Who are NASA’s Earth and Space Science Explorers?

The middle school students who track weather to study its effect on bursting tree buds. And the scientist studying black holes in distant galaxies. But also the teacher whose class shares Earth science data with students around the world. And the engineer who designs robotic instruments to probe hard-to-reach planets. All of these people are Earth Explorers, Space Science Explorers or both. The Earth Explorers and Space Science Explorers series features NASA explorers, young and old, with many backgrounds and interests.

Phil Christensen stands in front of a rocket

Phil Christensen stands in front of a Delta rocket. The picture was taken three days before the rocket carried an instrument called THEMIS to space. Image Credit: Phil Christensen

Rocks can be fun to collect. They come in many shapes and sizes. Some are gray and some are very colorful. They can be very smooth or very rough. All rocks are made of minerals. The color and feel of a rock depend on the minerals it contains.

Did you know that clues about the past are hidden in rocks?

Some rocks are millions of years old. Over time, wind and water can wear down a rock. Earthquakes and volcanoes also change rocks. The minerals in a rock can tell about its history. They can also tell about the history of the entire Earth.

Phil Christensen has a large collection of rocks. He has big rocks and small rocks. He has bumpy rocks and shiny rocks. In all, he has more than 8,000 rocks. That’s right — 8,000!

How did he get so many rocks?

Phil has liked rocks since he was a kid. He’s also always wanted to know more about Mars. Mars is a rocky planet much like Earth. When he was young, Phil spent hours looking at Mars through his telescope.

Now, Phil is a scientist for NASA. Scientists are always asking questions. One question Phil has is, “Are rocks on Earth like rocks on Mars?” The first step to finding an answer was to collect rocks from around the world.

But how would he do it? Visiting all the places he would need to go would take forever. Instead of collecting the rocks himself, Phil thought of a neat idea. He would ask kids everywhere to send him rocks.

A triangular-shaped, bumpy white and brown rock that is almost 2 inches wide

This rock is from Australia. It is one of more than 8,000 rocks sent in by students to the Rock Around the World project. Image Credit: Arizona State University

That idea was the start of the Rock Around the World project. Students have sent in more than 8,000 rocks. Phil and other scientists study every rock. They use special tools to discover what minerals are in each one.

Studying rocks from Earth is the easier part of Phil’s project. Learning about rocks on Mars is more difficult. To do this, Phil helped create a special camera that was launched into space. The camera is called THEMIS. It circles Mars and takes pictures of rocks there.

The pictures can be used to figure out what kinds of minerals are in Martian rocks. They also give clues about whether there is water on Mars. Scientists learn a lot by comparing rocks from Earth and Mars. They learn how Earth and Mars are different, but they learn how the planets are alike, too.

Mars is the planet most like Earth. Humans may even go there someday. Studying Mars “can tell us a lot about the planet … and what humans have to be prepared for when they get there,” Phil said.

Kids Talk Radio Space Science: The Occupy Mars Learning Adventures

Greetings China:

This is a new program designed to bring our learning communities together.  What would it be like if we all had to work together on the planet Mars?

Students and teachers in the USA have been in contact with Russian teachers and students.  We want to continue our work on ” The Occupy Mars Learning Adventures Program.”   This is an international space science simulation program with headquarters in Long Beach, California.    If you want more information about collaborating for educational enrichment purposes contact Bob Barboza, Founder Director of Kids Talk Radio Space Science. and