Education and
Public Engagement
at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

To receive emails with these updates, please sign up for LPI’s Earth and Space Science News for Educators

 

August 12 - August 13, 2016 Perseid Meteor Shower

September 8, 2016 OSIRIS-REx Scheduled to Launch to Asteroid Bennu

October 4 - October 10, 2016 World Space Week

August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse visible across the US

 

2016 Educator Workshops at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is hosting a series of one-day educator professional development workshops to connect educators with NASA research, technology and real-world STEM application. Topics include engineering (July 26), Ozone (July 28), Climate (Aug 3), and gravity (Aug 4).

Free Education Webinars From NASA Educator Professional Development
The NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative is presenting a series of free webinars open to all educators. Join NASA education specialists to learn about activities, lesson plans, educator guides and resources that bring NASA into your classroom. Registration is required to participate.

July teacher PD at NASTAR Center in Pennsylvania
One-day Free workshops are planned for multiple dates in July 5-28, 2016. Here’s your chance to experience acceleration in a centrifuge, pilot an airplane simulator, or explore the gas laws in an altitude chamber.

2016 Free Summer Professional Development Workshops at Wallops Educator Resource Center
NASA's BEST (3-8 Educators) Workshop Date: Aug. 8-9, 2016 Contact Samuel Henry at samuel.s.henry@nasa.gov for complete workshop details and registration information.

AFGU My Sky Tonight Online workshop
Free My Sky Tonight workshop for museum, nature center, park informal science educators! Workshops will bring the excitement of astronomy to pre-K children and their families. Application deadline: July 31.

 

NASA JPL Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series Streamed Live
This lecture series brings the excitement of the space program's missions, instruments and other technologies to the community. Lectures take place twice per month, on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays. Thursdays' are streamed live via Ustream at 7:00 PM Pacific. July 14's presentation: To Boldly Go...Well, You Know: NASA’s Dawn Mission to the Asteroid Belt.

Astronomy Day
The next Astronomy Day this year is October 8, 2016. Local astronomical societies, planetariums, museums, and observatories will be sponsoring public viewing sessions, presentations, workshops, and other activities to increase public awareness about astronomy and our wonderful universe.

Earth Science Week
This year's Earth Science Week will be held from October 9-16, 2016 and will celebrate the theme "Our Shared Geoheritage." Earth Science Week 2016 learning resources and activities engage young people and others in exploring geoheritage throughout the Earth systems, including the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.

International Observe the Moon Night October 8 2016
International Observe the Moon Night is an annual worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration. Everyone on Earth is invited to join the celebration by hosting or attending an InOMN event and uniting on one day each year to look at and learn about the Moon together.

LPI SkyFest Event for Juno Mission
The next SkyFest family event at the Lunar and Planetary Institute will be August 6 from 1-3pm. Activities will relate to the Juno mission's arrival at Jupiter!

 

Lexus Eco Challenge Scholarships
The Lexus Eco Challenge is a national STEM competition for grades 6-12 that awards up to $500,000 in grants and scholarships to eligible teachers, students, and schools each year. Student teams tackle environmental issues related to land, water, air, and climate, and create practical solutions while competing for prizes. Land and water entries due Oct. 17; air and climate entries due Dec. 12.

'CineSpace' Short Film Competition
NASA and the Houston Cinema Arts Society once again will offer filmmakers around the world a chance to share their works inspired by -- and using -- actual NASA imagery through "CineSpace," a short-film competition. "CineSpace" is open to all filmmakers, both professional and aspiring. Entries must use at least 10 percent publically available NASA imagery. The submission period closes July 31, 2016.

Future Engineers 'Think Outside the Box' Challenge
NASA and the American Society for Mechanical Engineers Foundation are challenging students to think outside the box with 3-D printing -- literally. If you are a K-12 student in the United States, your challenge is to design a useful object that assembles, telescopes, hinges, accordions, grows, or expands to become larger than the printing bounds of the Advanced Manufacturing Facility 3-D printer in space (14cm length by 10cm width by 10cm height). Entries must be submitted by Aug. 1, 2016.

One Shared Place' Contest: Educator-Student Videos
AGI is pleased to invite teams of educators and students to enter its new "One Shared Place" contest. Each team will submit a 30- to 90-second original video informing viewers about an outdoor place that is special in terms of geoheritage (natural features, settings, and resources formed over vast periods) and geoscience (the study of Earth systems).

 

Toshiba Grants for K-5
K-5 grade teachers are invited to apply on-line for a $1,000 Toshiba America Foundation grant to help bring an innovative hands-on project into their own classroom. Grant applications are due on October 1st each year.

Grants Available for Students to Green Their Schools!
Project Learning Tree offers grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. The deadline to apply is September 30, 2016.

TMA's Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching
In these awards by the Texas Medical Association, one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school science teacher will receive $5,000 and their schools will receive a $2,000 award for the science curriculum, and 3 additional science teachers will receive $1,500 each! Nominations open through Nov. 18, 2016.

Donors Choose Teacher Grants
Donors Choose is funding teacher projects for all subject areas.

Texas Environmental Excellence Awards
Applications are now available for the 2017 Texas Environmental Excellence Award. Texas. The awards recognize outstanding environmental projects in nine diverse categories from all over Texas, including education. The last day to submit is September 30, 2016.

Captain Planet Foundation Grants
Captain Planet Foundation Grants are available to US-based schools and organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $3 million. The grants promote and support educational programs that enable youth to understand and appreciate their environment through learning experiences that engage them in active, hands-on projects to improve schools and communities. Deadline: September 30.

NSTA Accepting Entries for Shell Science Lab Challenge
The annual Shell Science Lab Challenge Competition recognizes outstanding middle and high school programs for their exemplary approaches to science lab instruction utilizing limited school and laboratory resources, and raise awareness and exposure of the outstanding work being done in the science education field. Applications accepted beginning June 1 2016.

 

Free Downloads: Mars Explorers Wanted Posters
Mars will need all kinds of explorers, farmers, surveyors, teachers; download a Mars poster that speaks to you. Each of the eight posters represents a different type of explorer NASA is seeking.

Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin
While primarily for planetary scientists, the articles are interesting and easy to understand. In this issue: NASA’s Juno Mission: What’s Inside Jupiter? Juno co-investigator Fran Bagenal previews the key science objectives of the Juno mission, which reaches Jupiter’s orbit on July 4.This issue features other news from space, LPSC meeting highlights, education spotlight, and milestones too.

LEGO Challenge: Mission to Space
Learn fun facts about our solar system, play quizzes, and get a taste of life as an astronaut and space pioneer! Round off the trip by entering a building challenge.

Middle School Earth and Space Science Resources
Check out the resources LPI's STEP program has assembled for activities and presentations for over a dozen middle school Earth and space science topics.

LPI Educational Activities Directory
LPI has a sortable directory of Earth and Space Science activities, materials, powerpoints, and more. Topics include plate tectonics, lunar phases, seasons, solar system, and more. Search by topic, audience, grade level, engagement style, and according to alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Astronomy: Cosmic Fiction, Drama, and Poetry
Obtain a free electronic article about approaching astronomy through fiction, drama, poetry, etc. from the Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal. The article has many references to resources for further exploration, including to various collections of astronomical plays, and of verse influenced by astronomy.

Science Fiction with Good Astronomy & Physics
Obtain a free electronic updated subject guide to science fiction stories and novels which are based on reasonably good science (and can thus be recommended in introductory astronomy courses). While most of the stories are available only in print, a number are now published electronically free of charge, and links to those are included.

 

Runaway Stars in our Galaxy
Astronomers have observed "hypervelocity stars" moving so fast through our galaxy that they will eventually escape the Milky Way's gravity. Astronomical research suggests that they may have been accelerated by a close encounter with massive black hole in the center of the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud, throwing them like a slingshot through our own galaxy.

Volcanic Deposits on Mercury from Deep Inside Planet
Some of the mysterious volcanic features on Mercury appear to have formed at the boundary between its core and mantle. Mercury's core is only 400 km below its surface, making it unique in the solar system.

How Mars' Moons Formed
Two new studies indicate that Mars' moons Phobos and Deimos formed during a giant collision between Mars and a protoplanet.

Juno Arrives at Jupiter
After an almost five-year journey to the solar system’s largest planet, NASA's Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4. Juno's principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter., by investigating the existence of a solid planetary core, mapping Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measuring the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observing the planet's auroras. The mission also will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system.

Why the Earth's Atmosphere is Oxygenated
A new model suggests that the rise of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere was an inevitable consequence of the formation of continents in the presence of life and plate tectonics, explaining how atmospheric oxygen was added to Earth's atmosphere at two key times: one about 2 billion years ago and another about 600 million years ago.

Europa's Ocean May Have Earthlike Chemical Balance
A new study indicates that the ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa could have the necessary balance of chemical energy for life, even if the moon lacks volcanic hydrothermal activity. The balance of hydrogen and oxygen is a key indicator of the energy available for life. The study found that the amounts would be comparable in scale; on both worlds, oxygen production is about 10 times higher than hydrogen production.

Hubble Finds Clues to Forming Supermassive Black Holes
Astrophysicists have found the best evidence yet for the seeds that ultimately grow into these cosmic giants. For years astronomers have debated how the earliest generation of supermassive black holes formed so quickly after the Big Bang. New observations of massive black hole "seeds" suggest that they may form when a massive cloud of gas collapsed, jump-starting the formation of the supermassive black hole.

Note: Documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader.