News for Crews — Mission Advisor workshop

Our Mission Advisor workshop is confirmed for this Friday, January 7. We’ll go over critical aspects of many of the challenge’s Mission Objectives, with lots of time for Q&A. The session will be recorded and available on our website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page.


Can’t make the workshop but have questions? Email us in advance and we’ll make sure to cover them on Friday!

News for Crews — Welcome to ROADS on Icy Worlds!

G’day, ROADS on Icy Worlds crews!

Welcome to NESSP’s 2021-2022 NASA student challenge. Events and deadlines will start happening in January 2022, but please feel free to email us questions at any time.

NESSP office closure

Our offices will be closed December 23-28, with limited staffing December 29 and 30. We’ll resume regular office operations on January 3, 2022.

Supply shipping

If you requested supplies for your team, we’ve been doing our best to have shipments into the mail before the end of the year. If you have questions about your supply order, please drop us an email and we’ll get back to you in January when we’ll have a clear picture of what’s been shipped and what our stock levels are.

Mission Advisor training

We have tentatively scheduled a short training session for Mission Advisors for Friday, January 7. We’re working on finalizing all the details and will have information out to you when our office reopens on January 3.

Icy links

We’ll have even more information on our challenge website in January, but if you’d like some light reading for the end of the year here are some good links to peruse about the ROADS on Icy Worlds Challenge (affectionally abbreviated in our office as RoIW).

Our email

Please send us your questions as you have them! Our email address is: As noted above, we will have limited-to-no staffing this last week of the year, but we’ll get to questions as promptly as we can when we’re back in the office on January 3.

End of year news — ROADS registration deadline and NESSP office closure

ROADS on Icy Worlds registration will close on the night of Tuesday, December 21, 2021. We will then focus our energies on getting requested supplies into the mail as quickly as we can.

Please also note that the NESSP office will be closed Thursday, December 23, into the new year. Phone calls and emails will be addressed as promptly as we can when we re-open on Monday, January 3, 2022.

We hope you all have a safe and relaxing New Year, with plenty of time to rest up for the ROADS challenge ahead!

Got questions about the Icy Worlds challenge? Q&A on Monday!

So the new ROADS challenge is open for registration, and this year we’re going to some of the icy worlds of the solar system. But what does it all mean? How are we “going,” and what are we doing when we get there? What supplies do we need and how do we get them? When are things due?

Join us Monday, December 13, at 1:30 p.m. (Pacific Time) to ask us all your questions and get as many answers as we have! The Q&A will be on Zoom and, yes, we will record it and post it to our YouTube page.

See you there!


News for Crews — Mark your calendar for ROADS on Asteroids results!! 🗓

G’day, ROADS crews!

IT’S FINALLY TIME.  Mark your calendars for the ROADS on Asteroids Top Teams announcement.  Results will be posted to the NESSP website on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, when it strikes 12 o’clock noon in Seattle.

We know, it’s been ages since you’ve heard from us.  Dr. Winglee’s death left us very short-handed — a problem that snowballed as the year went by and tasks accreted like cosmic dust in the corners.  We are so sorry to leave you hanging for so long.  And we’re very excited to be able to bring ROADS on Asteroids, Dr. Winglee’s final NESSP challenge, to a close.

So, once again, keep your browsers at the ready for the announcement!

When:  Wednesday, September 8, 2021, 12 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time)

See you then!

A Bitmoji shows NESSP founding director, Dr. Robert Winglee, in rocketship.

Summer science is here!

For summer 2021, NESSP is pleased to offer several mini-missions for use in your summer camp activities in July and August.

This year we’re offering two formats to support your summer activities. We are continuing to loan supplies if you will be using NESSP activities in your camp (what we’re calling Self-Directed Mini-Missions). New for 2021 — we are offering NESSP Guided Mini-Missions, where your students log onto Zoom for a half-day virtual session with a NESSP facilitator. Supplies will still be provided if you need them for your NESSP Guided session!

Details and the registration form are available now. If you would like to run multiple mini-missions for your students, please DO NOT complete the registration form and email us directly instead.

It takes about two weeks to process and ship your supplies, so register (or email us) ASAP!

Announcing summer professional development for teachers

For summer 2021, NESSP is pleased to offer several professional development sessions for teachers — including a long-awaited return to an in-person workshop format for one of the sessions! As with our PD sessions last year, our summer 2021 sessions will take place over two days.

All sessions are free and supplies will be provided, although participants will need to provide their own computer (and internet connection, in the case of virtual workshops).

Learn hands-on STEM activities to engage middle and high school -aged students! Topics to be covered support NGSS and are aligned with NASA missions. Projects are relevant to our new ROADS challenge for the upcoming 2021–2022 school year — or can supplement your existing course.

These workshops will cover the curriculum for the companion course to our next ROADS student challenge, and as such the sessions are intended for educators currently teaching in classrooms. We will hold a workshop intended specifically for coaches/mentors of ROADS challenge teams at a later date.

Details and registration are on our website. The registration form gives you the chance to rank your preferences for choice of workshop date. We will try to put everyone into their first preference! But we do expect that the in-person workshop will be quite popular (while also having the most limited capacity), so some registrants will be placed into their second choice.


  • August 6–7, 2021 — Virtual workshop
  • August 12–13, 2021 — In-person workshop in Adrian, OR
  • August 16–17, 2021 — Virtual workshop

ROADS on Mars mini-challenge winners — Mission Patch

We are very pleased to announce the prize-winning teams of the Mission Patch mini-challenge. This goal of this challenge was:

To get creative and design a mission patch that represents themselves, their community, and their mission in the ROADS Challenge.

Congratulations, ROADS teams!!


TS River City Team — an Opportunity division team from University of Idaho TRIO in Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Our patch is designed to reflect three things: who we are, what our goal is, and where we come from. In our community we are the River City Titans, so we wanted to tie our name into that and we decided that our team name would be Titans’ Journey to Mars or TJTM for short. The lego spaceman on Mars is centered around the overall mission of making it to and exploring MARS! Lastly, the world in the background reminds us that we come from another planet. Earth is our home.


Golden Space Knights — An Opportunity division team from Hyde Park Middle School in Las Vegas, NV.

The base structure is made of a knight’s helmet, derived from the team’s name, Golden Space Knights. In the bottom portion of the helmet is a Desert Bighorn Sheep, Nevada’s state animal, gazing up at the sky. This symbolizes our community’s support for future expansion into space. Notice how a rocket, similar to the ones that have carried previous rovers, is soaring above the sky. This represents our mission to reach Mars to search for evidence of previous life.


Spatium Apes — A Spirit division team from Gervais Elementary School in Gervais, OR.

Science Rovers — An Opportunity division team from Clackamas ESD in Clackamas, OR.

Helios — A Curiosity division team from South Eugene High School in Eugene, OR.


Sunray Bobcats Ares X-plorer — An Opportunity division team from Sunray Middle School in Sunray, TX.

The Sunray Bobcats Ares X-plorers are busy preparing for their ROADS on Mars 2020 Mission. SBAX designed their patch to represent the important factors of our school. Our school colors are royal blue, or as we call it “Bobcat Blue”, and gold. We put the outer perimeter our school colors with our names, logo “SBAX”, and mission “ROADS on Mars”. The Bobcat astronaut is our school mascot. The “Cats” flag is flown on game days in Sunray, TX, so proudly will it fly on Mars for our victory of being there. We wanted everyone to know that we are explorers, and our flag is planted on Mars surface to show we are here!!! The Earth is in the background which is where our journey began and our home to return.

ROBERT WINGLEE (1958–2020)

We are devastated to announce that Robert Winglee, director of Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium and of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, has passed away.  He quite suddenly had a heart attack on December 24 and did not recover.

Robert was passionate about sharing his love of space and space science with others, and his impact went far beyond Seattle or the Pacific Northwest.  We invite you to join us in remembering him.  Please share your memories of Robert using #WingItLikeWinglee on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

A celebration of his life will be held in the new year — we’ll share details when they’re available.

ROADS on Mars Freestyle winners

We are very excited to announce the top teams from our ROADS on Mars Freestyle Challenge!  Teams were eligible for prizes as a top overall team and as “best of” the Mission Objectives.  We are also pleased to award a few additional awards to teams who were especially deserving, and to award Special Commendations for efforts that were particularly impressive.

Top Teams for Overall Excellence in Mission Performance

Millburn Phobos — New Jersey


COVID-19 Spirit Award

Arrows of Artemis — Montana

Eagle Mind Squad — South Carolina

Intrepid Award for Best Solo Effort

Perseverance — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #2 — Map Construction

VMI — Oregon

Exploring in the Dark — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #3 — Communication Dish

Ares Bobcats — Arizona

Best of Mission Objective #4 — Lander

The Martian PALs Freestyle — New Jersey

Best of Mission Objective #5 — Map Navigation

TEAM STILE — Louisiana

Crusaders — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #6 — Search for Life

The New Von Brauns — Idaho

Best of Mission Objective #7 — Mission Development Log

Arrows of Artemis — Montana

Best of Mission Objective #8 — Video Report

ASK Academy NASA Robotics Team — New Mexico

Special Commendations

Excellence in VR

VMI — Oregon

Superlative Team Communication

The Martian PALs Freestyle — New Jersey

Excellence in Sample Collection

TEAM STILE — Louisiana

Innovative Use of LEGO

Crusaders — Washington

Excellence in Rover Design

Perseverance — Washington

Excellence in Engineering Design & Science Methodologies

Baby Dragon — Nevada

Excellence in Robotic Engineering

Kerbal Krew — South Dakota

Excellence in Robotic Programming

VMX (Valor Mars eXploration) — Oregon

Humor in Video Production

Lost in Space — Washington

Innovative Use of Google Sites for MDL

Flight Team Excel — Maine

Resourcefulness in Mapmaking

Team 127% — Montana