Our Philosophy

NASA’s Universe of Learning connects the science, technology, subject matter experts (SMEs), and adventure of NASA Astrophysics with STEM concepts, education standards, and 21st century skills central to science understanding and literacy. Resulting products, programs, and professional development experiences will span a spectrum of environments and applications, enabling a rich learning “ecosystem” across the traditional boundaries of education.

The goal of the program is to create and disseminate education products, programs, and professional development experiences that use NASA Astrophysics science, technology, and subject matter experts to advance the following Science Mission Directorate education objectives on a national scale:

  • Enable STEM education
  • Improve U.S. scientific literacy
  • Advance national education goals
  • Leverage efforts through partnerships

Science Scope of the Program

The Astrophysics program is defined by fundamental questions about our universe and our place in it that intrigue scientists, youth, educators, and lifelong learners alike, organized under the three themes:

Physics of the cosmos image

Physics of the Cosmos

How does the Universe work?
Probe the origin and destiny of our universe, including the nature of black holes, dark energy, dark matter and gravity.
Cosmic Origins image

Cosmic Origins

How did we get here?
Explore the origin and evolution of the galaxies, stars and planets that make up our universe.
Cosmic Origins image

Exoplanet Exploration

Are we alone?
Discover and study planets around other stars, and explore whether they could harbor life.

Program Overview

Our team will carry out a wide range of activities. Over the lifetime of the program, we will:

  1. Enable educational use of Astrophysics mission data through data tools and participatory experiences
  2. Create multimedia and immersive experiences
  3. Design and implement exhibits and community programs
  4. Provide professional development for pre-service educators, undergraduate instructors, and informal educators
    Science Briefings:
    PDF Format (1.3 MB)
    PPT Format (3.9 MB)
  5. Produce resources for diverse audiences and special needs
Partner Institutions

Our institutions are directly connected to the full range of NASA Astrophysics missions, have a long tradition of partnering scientists and educators to create innovative education programs that are grounded in audience needs and education standards, and work closely with an extensive network of partners. NASA’s Universe of Learning is a partnership among:


NASA’s Universe of Learning materials are based upon work supported by NASA under award number NNX16AC65A to the Space Telescope Science Institute, working in partnership with the Chandra X-ray Center, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Exoplanet Exploration Program, and Sonoma State University.