Every year, children from all over the world gather together and compete in a creative problem-solving competition called “Odyssey of the Mind World Finals,” which challenges students to solve long-term problems in topics ranging from science and technology to the creative arts. This year’s competition will be held at the University of Colorado at Boulder, May 22-25.

NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise and Earth Observing System Project Science Office are sponsoring one of the long-term challenges for students with an entry called Omer’s Earthly Adventures, based on environmental issues. Omer is the raccoon-like Odyssey of the Mind mascot.

Students attempt to correct hypothetical environmental problems and create the illusion of Omer traveling, using elements of technology combined with a theatrical performance. This creative exercise combines science, education and environmental responsibility in an instructional and innovative atmosphere.

Over the past year, NASA has supported the challenge through a web site for participants to help develop solutions to Omer’s Earthly Adventures, and for learning more about the environment. NASA has also created curriculum activities for members in an effort to integrate creative problem solving into the classroom.

NASA will have an exhibit at the World Finals, and representatives Dr. Michael King and Dr. Fritz Hasler of NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., are scheduled to make several NASA/NOAA Earth Science Electronic Theater presentations.

The partnership of Odyssey and NASA is a natural collaboration, with both organizations representing the best of the best in innovation, teamwork and creative problem solving. NASA expects to reach nearly two million students, parents, teachers and coaches around the world through its sponsorship of Odyssey of the Mind, stimulating interest and learning about Earth system science among all age groups.

The Odyssey of the Mind program, founded in 1978, is an international creative problem- solving competition for students from kindergarten through college. Participants come from almost every U.S. state and about 25 other countries.

During the year, students are separated into four divisions based on age and form teams to solve one of five long-term challenges. After months of developing their solutions, teams compete at the regional and state levels. Those that advance take their solutions to the annual Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, like the one being held this year in Boulder.

NASA’s EOS is part of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. The mission of the Enterprise is to develop a scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response to natural or human-induced changes to enable improved prediction capability for climate, weather and natural hazards.

The official Odyssey of the Mind web site is at:


NASA’s Odyssey of the Mind web site can be found at: