Student Investigations with NASA

Student Investigations with NASA

The overarching idea of Student Investigations with NASA is creating opportunities for the GLOBE community and beyond to more directly align authentic science engagement with NASA STEM assets - science, data and subject matter experts - to stimulate curiosity and inspire scientific inquiry. These opportunities include sponsoring and supporting GLOBE student research and field campaigns and providing broader connections to NASA science.

Three GLOBE Student Research Campaigns are currently being conducted that are aligned to Earth system phenomena - GLOBE Mission Mosquito, Trees Around the GLOBE, and GLOBE Air Quality Student Research Campaign.


The GLOBE Mission Mosquito Campaign (co-led by Dorian Janney, GSFC and Campaign Scientist Dr. Russanne (Rusty) Low, IGES) aims to create an organized citizen science community - primarily through formal education, with targeted outreach to informal education - that will conduct and report local observations using the GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper (GO MHM). Using the mobile app, citizen scientists identify potential breeding sites for mosquitoes, sample and count mosquito larvae, and with optional equipment, examine and photograph a specimen to identify its genus. The Mission Mosquito Campaign will be driven by a series of scientific questions. Three basic questions initiate the campaign:

  • Identify baseline (2018-2021) for range and distribution of vectors such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.
  • Identify seasonality of local mosquito vectors: first sighting, last sighting, period of greatest number of observations.
  • Quantify change in mosquito frequency and distribution at local, regional, national and global scales with specific reference to prevailing environmental parameters, such as precipitation, land cover, surface temperature, and soil moisture.
An ultimate goal of Mission Mosquito is to facilitate scientific research on mosquito vectors of disease, including research by students and scientists (citizen and professional).


The Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign (co-led by Brian Campbell, NASA GSFC, and Campaign Scientist Peder Nelson, M.S., OSU) commenced on September 15, 2018 in conjunction with NASA's ICESat-2 satellite launch on the same date at 6:02am PDT. This campaign is a student research campaign focusing on tree height - one of the measurements conducted by the ICESat-2 mission. Tree height is not just a measurement - it is a gateway to understanding many things about the environment. The structure of tree canopies, the 3D arrangement of individual trees, has a huge effect on how ecosystems function and cycle through carbon, water, and nutrients.


The Air Quality Student Research Campaign (led by Dr. Margaret Pippin, LaRC) is US-based, though the lead has coordinated the timeline to complement the European Air Quality campaign. Twenty seven schools participated in the 2016-2017 campaign. The schools are directly mentored by Dr. Pippin and each school received a GLOBE-approved aerosol sun photometer that they are borrowing during the timeline of the campaign. Several schools connected virtually with one another and each school received a certificate of appreciation for their contribution of GLOBE data. The team also developed and tested new GLOBE Aerosols e-Training slides; this development of resources was necessary given the response from schools that purchased their own hand-held aerosol instruments. In the 2018-2019 year, the Air Quality campaign will be expanded  to include additional schools.


The ENSO Phase III: Water in Our Environment Student Research Campaign (led by Brian Campbell, GSFC WFF) concluded June 2018, but the campaign pages and resources are still available. The campaigned focused on student interpretation of data and collaborative sharing with other classrooms, through the lens of NASA-infused questions about water in the Earth system. Each of three investigation areas was focused on a set of complementary GLOBE protocols:

  • What is the quality of water in our environment?
  • What impacts does water, above and below ground, have on our environment?
  • How does water in our environment impact living things?
These guiding investigative questions are strongly aligned with phenomenon-based science teaching practices and with NASA Earth Science focus areas, and take a broader thematic view of GLOBE’s place in the STEM classroom.