Lunar and Planetary Institute

  Earth's Extremophiles: Implications for Life in the Solar System is a NASA-sponsored field-based workshop for science educators. It will provide you with hands-on, real-world experience and classroom resources to enhance your teaching about Earth and space science — and the connections between these exciting fields of research.

We will visit Yellowstone National Park to investigate the geologic processes that result in extreme environmental conditions and the environments themselves. We will explore the different types of organisms that live in these conditions, the adaptations that allow them to survive and thrive, and how we might detect the organisms and their environments from Earth or from spacecraft. From these field experiences and accompanying classroom exercises, we will build an understanding of how life has evolved on Earth, the possibility of past or present similar environmental conditions on other planets, and what this implies for finding life in our solar system.

In the field and classroom, you will work directly with scientists who are investigating astrobiology — the search for life in our solar system. Classroom time includes presentations, discussion, and lab work. You will undertake tested, hands-on, standards-based classroom and laboratory activities that can be transferred directly to your students. Our field/classroom format will give you the personal experience and the knowledge base to teach about Earth, Venus, Mars, and other planets in new, effective ways. See for yourself —- explore the websites of our previous workshop at Yellowstone (2002 — Extremities: Geology and Life in Yellowstone and Implications for Other Worlds) and our last two workshops: 2005 — Life at the Limits: Earth, Mars and Beyond and 2006 — The Heat from Within: Earthly Insights into Planetary Volcanism.

  Sunday, July 22 (arrive in Bozeman, Montana) through Sunday, July 29 (depart from Bozeman, Montana), 2007.

  Aimed primarily at middle school teachers. Others welcome, including preservice teachers, informal educators, education specialists, early college instructors, and junior college instructors.

  • Experience the science firsthand! Gain insights into how science works — and how you can engage your students in exploration.
  • Investigate science content with the scientists! Drs. Allan Treiman and Walter Kiefer, from the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and Dr. Tori Hoehler of NASA Ames Research Center will be with you in the field, lab, and classroom.
  • Invigorate your classroom curriculum! Participants from previous workshops have been enthusiastic about the workshop and materials. Most teachers report that their curriculum is energized with new ideas, activities, materials, and images.
  • Receive 60 hours of professional development credit AND buckets of useful classroom resources, including hands-on inquiry-based lesson plans, readings, NASA materials, and all the presentations!

  Earth's Extremophiles: Implications for Life in the Solar System will be based out of Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana

Sunday, July 22 — Arrive Bozeman, Montana
                              6:00 p.m.
  Introductions and overview of trip

Monday, July 23 — Introduction to Astrobiology, overview of regional geology and environmental setting of Yellowstone

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, July 24–26 — Visit several field sites in Yellowstone National Park

Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28 — Review field sites and discoveries, examine extremophiles and experiment with boundary conditions. Extend understanding to possible environmental conditions supportive of life on other planets in our solar system. Learn about NASA's plans for exploration for life in our solar system. Connect field studies to student activities and understanding. Following an evaluation, the workshop will close by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Sunday, July 29 — Depart Bozeman, Montana

Note: Field studies will include short hikes, some with moderately steep pitches. The weather will likely be very hot and sunny. Participants must be in good physical condition and must be prepared to participate under these conditions.

In addition, NO SMOKING is allowed, at any time, anywhere in Yellowstone National Park. Participants may NOT violate park rules.

  Use the electronic application form to apply for Earth's Extremophiles: Implications for Life in the Solar System.

Registration is limited to 30 participants. Applications are due on April 4, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by April 11, 2007.

A $100 deposit is due at the time of application. The credit card will be charged at the time of application; however, applicants who are not selected will be reimbursed for the deposit. The deposit will NOT be returned to accepted applicants and will be put toward the registration fee. Payment of the registration fee is due by May 1, 2006. The registration fee is $575.00 in addition to the $100 deposit; the entire registration fee is $675.00 ($825.00 for single occupancy). Registration includes transportation during the workshop, lodging (double occupancy), breakfast and lunch, dinner while at the university, and classroom materials.

Participants are responsible for travel to and from the workshop and for snacks and dinner while in the field. Assistance in funding participation can be sought from school districts, professional development organizations, state science teacher associations, local private corporations, and NASA's Space Grant Consortium in your region. A limited number of registration awards are available through the Lunar and Planetary Institute. These awards will be based on the combined merit of the dissemination plan described in the application and financial need. Attendees of previous workshops also are eligible for awards, but they must demonstrate how they have implemented their workshop experiences in the classroom and disseminated the information to their colleagues.

  For further information regarding the field trip, please contact

Ms. Becky Nelson
Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston TX 77058-1113
Phone:  281-486-2166

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Images courtesy of the
National Parks Service