Lunar and Planetary Institute

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Explore! Space Science News Archive

June 2005


June 8
Giovanni Cassini's 380th Birthday (1625)

June 21
Summer Solstice
, 06:46 UT

June 23–29
ALA Conference, Chicago, Ill.

July 3
Deep Impact
, Impactor Release

July 4
Deep Impact
, Comet Tempel 1 Impact/Flyby

October 26–28
SCLA Annual Conference at the Marriott Columbia City Center Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina

Explore! News

Check out the new additions to the Explore! Website. New activities, information and extensions are available for topics such as space colonies, space capsules, shaping the planets, solar system, and the space station. Get online and get the latest!

Workshops and Courses

Project ISLE (Integrated Science Learning Expeditions)
This accredited (three semester hours) summer course for science teachers features scientific expeditions to island habitats to provide an integrated science-based experience to enhance classroom teaching. The one-week course in Hawaii covers topics in geology, volcanoes, ecology, astronomy, marine biology, and native cultures. The program offers hands-on lessons for use in the classroom, lesson sharing, lectures by scientists, and explorations of natural sites and research facilities. Participants can earn three semester hours of credit, available through Lewis and Clark College. For more information, visit the NSELA website, click on Professional Development, NJ Summer Leadership Institute for a registration form.

American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History is offering an online professional development course entitled Space, Time and Motion that will run 6 weeks long — this course is well suited for any curious educator — not just classroom teachers! Other courses in the Earth and biological sciences are being offered. Each course costs $445 with graduate credit and continuing education units provided. The courses run from June 27th–August 6th and the deadline is June 13th.

Grants and Funding

Educator Researcher Workshops The SCORE program offers grants to assist in the development and implementation of local professional development workshops for educators in the SCORE six-state region. Workshop design is flexible and should meet the needs of the local community. Funding deadlines are June 15 and January 15.

Educator Researcher Collaborative Projects The SCORE program offers grants of up to $1000 to collaborative teams of educators and Office of Space Science researchers in the SCORE six-state region. The grants are intended to help initiate new partnerships between educators and Office of Space Science researchers. Funds can be used to purchase materials and resources to increase student or public understanding of space science content.


Space Day 2006 Design Challenges
We are excited to let you know that this year all the information about Lockheed Martin's 2006 Space Day Design Challenges will be available on the Space Day website by the end of June. These challenges include individual and team activities for children of all age levels. Spark the children's interest in space science by getting involved in the design challenges! Watch for more details on the Space Day Website or contact Kay Armstrong, Space Day Program Manager.


Bring Planetary Data into Your Classroom with Jules Verne Voyager
We have a great resource for science fair projects! Want to have your children investigate volcanos on the surface of Venus or craters on Mars? Jules Verne Voyager is an interactive, browser-based tool that allows visitors to explore and create maps of Earth and other planetary bodies. Visitors can pan and zoom maps of Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars and Jupiter and its moons using NASA data.

Deep Impact Educational Resources
On July 4, 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft arrives at Comet Tempel 1. The Deep Impact education team offers a variety of activities and materials for teachers, students, and the general public. Students can observe and model comets in preparation for the Deep Impact events through activities presented for a variety of learning levels. They can explore comet composition, structure, and origin, and their behavior as they orbit our Sun, as well as understand how scientists study these occasional visitors to our inner solar system. For activities and resources, visit:

Chip Off the Old Rock
Looking for up to date, educational space science feature articles to post in your library or institution? Well, NASA provides them on a periodic basis and they are designed with the informal educator in mind! Check out the latest article entitled “Chip Off the Old Rock” and learn about Marilyn Lindstrom's career as the meteorite curator at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Evolution of Our Solar System Timeline
ake a journey through time from the birth of Our Solar System (4.5 billion years ago) to Man's first step on the moon with stunning graphics and captions.

Jack Horkheimer Star Gazer
On his weekly PBS show, jolly Jack's episodes feature selected objects for naked eye viewing for the following week. Weekly episodes are available in streaming video and written scripts. Keep looking up!

Mission News and Science

Deep Impact
Comets are time capsules that hold clues about the formation and evolution of the solar system. Deep Impact, a NASA Discovery Mission, is the first space mission to probe beneath the surface of a comet and reveal the secrets of its interior.

On July 3, 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft will release a 370-kg (~820-lbs) impactor that will strike Comet Tempel 1, creating a crater and revealing the interior composition and structure of the comet. Impact will occur on July 4 th , and is expected to create a crater that will range in size from a house to a football stadium, and will be two to fourteen stories deep. Scientists expect to see ice and dust debris ejected from the crater revealing fresh material beneath. The science objectives for the mission are to: 1) observe how the crater forms and measure the crater's depth and diameter; 2) measure the composition of the interior of the crater and its ejecta; and 3) determine the changes in natural outgassing of the comet produced by the impact.

Voyager Spacecraft Entering Final Frontier
NASA recently reported that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered the solar system's final frontier. It is entering a vast, turbulent expanse, where the sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars. Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977, followed by Voyager 1 on September 5 th of the same year. Between them, Voyager 1 and 2 explored all the giant planets of our outer solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; 48 of their moons; and the unique system of rings and magnetic fields those planets possess. For their original missions to Jupiter and Saturn, the Voyagers were destined for regions of space far from the Sun, so each was equipped with three generators to produce electrical power for the spacecraft systems and instruments. Still operating in remote, cold and dark conditions 27 years later, the Voyagers could last until 2020!

Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), the oldest working spacecraft orbiting the red planet, is taking some time to check out the newest kids in the neighborhood. On April 20th, astronomers used the veteran's Mars Orbiter Camera to take pictures of another spacecraft: Mars Express. The two orbiters were about 250 kilometers (155 miles) apart when MGS shot the picture....

The next day MGS continued its snooping game by capturing high-resolution images of another spacecraft: NASA's Mars Odyssey. The image was captured from about 90 kilometers away....

Did you know?

Our Sun is a star and it's the closest star to Earth. The only reason it doesn't look like the other stars at night is because it is so close. And the reason the other stars don't look like our Sun is because they are so incredibly much farther away. Now all the stars make their own light similar to the way our Sun does. You see our Sun and all the stars are gigantic balls of hot glowing gas. And most of them make their light by thermonuclear processes. Or if you like to think of it this way our Sun produces more energy every single second than several million hydrogen bombs detonating at the same time. So our Sun must be huge. And believe it or not our Sun is just an average size star. There are many much larger. So when we look at the stars at night including the stars of the Big Dipper we are really seeing other Suns so far away that they look like tiny pinpoints of light. The planets are billions of times closer. And our Sun is extremely close to us starwise, only 93 million miles away. For more information and weekly star gazing information, visit the Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer Web site.


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Last updated
April 25, 2006