Lunar and Planetary Institute

LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

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January 1 - December 31, 2015 Hubble Space Telescope's 25th Anniversary

January 1 - December 31, 2015 International Year of Light

October 11 - October 17, 2015 Earth Science Week

March 4, 2016 InSight Launch to Mars

July 4, 2016 Juno Mission arrives at Jupiter


LPI Presentation: Exploring the Birth of Rocky Planets
On Nov. 5, Dr. Bruce Banerdt will be giving the next Cosmic Exploration presentation, "Exploring the Birth of Rocky Planets: The InSight Mission to Mars." This free presentation at 7:30 pm is intended for inquisitive adults; a light reception and opportunity to meet Dr. Banerdt follows.


2015 Sally Ride Excellence in Education Award
This award, given by the American Astronautical Society, recognizes an outstanding educator in either a) the delivery of space education or b) the use of space in STEM education. Both K-12 educators and college/graduate-level educators can be nominated. The deadline is October 31. To nominate an educator, contact Laura Delgado López at

#WhySpaceMatters Photography Competition
NASA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, or UNOOSA, have launched a global photography competition to highlight how the vantage point of space helps us better understand our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future by aiding sustainable development on Earth. To participate, post a picture and description on Instagram using the hashtag #whyspacematters and tagging @UNOOSA.

Earth Science Week 2015 Contests
The American Geosciences Institute is sponsoring a series of contests to celebrate Earth Science Week 2015: the photography contest (open to all ages), visual arts contest (open to students K-5) and the essay contest (open to students grades 6-9). The entry deadline for all three contests is Oct. 16, 2015.

"Where Over the World Is Astronaut Scott Kelly?" Geography From Space Trivia Contest
During his year-long stay on the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly wants to test your knowledge of the world through a geography trivia game on Twitter. Traveling more than 220 miles above Earth, and at 17,500 miles per hour, he circumnavigates the globe more than a dozen times a day and captures images of Earth for scientific observation. Each Wednesday, Kelly will tweet a picture and ask the public to identify the place depicted in the photo. The first person to identify the place correctly will win an autographed copy of the picture.


Excellence in Science Teaching Awards in Texas
Nominations are now being accepted for Outstanding Science Teacher for the 2016 TMA Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching, sponsored by the Texas Medical Association. Three Texas science teachers will receive $5,000 each, and their schools will receive a $2,000 award. Three additional science departments will receive $1,000 each for our second-place winners. Nominations for this award will be accepted through October 26, 2015.

NSTA Awards and Recognition Program
The NSTA Awards and Recognition were created to raise awareness and exposure of the outstanding work being done in the science education field. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on 11/30/2015, via online submission with the exception of the Shell Science Teaching Award whose deadline is 11/18/2015.

Voya Unsung Heroes Awards Program
Each year, 100 educators are selected to receive $2,000 to help fund their innovative class projects. Three of those are chosen to receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000. Apply by April 30, 2016.

NCTM Invites Applications for 2015 Middle School Student Engagement Grants
Grants of up to $3,000 will be awarded to persons currently teaching math in grades 6-8 to support the incorporation of materials or lessons which actively engage students in tasks and experiences that deepen their content knowledge. Deadline is November 6, 2015.

Lowe's Toolbox for Education K-12 Public School Improvement Projects
Lowe's Toolbox for Education program provides grant awards of up to $5,000 to support school improvement projects at K-12 public schools in the United States. Priority is given basic necessities, with a preference for funding requests that have a permanent impact. Projects that encourage parent involvement and help build stronger community spirit are encouraged. Application deadline: October 16, 2015.


NOAA Education Resources: Hurricanes Collection
Education resources for teaching about Hurricanes and other tropical cyclones. Includes multimedia files, lessons, real time data, and background material.

LPI Educator Resources Searchable by Standards
The Lunar and Planetary Institute's educational resources (activities, powerpoints, exhibits, spectrometers, and other information) are now searchable by audience, age, and type of materials. Activities are also searchable by style of engagement, and by Next Generation Science Standard's Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts.

Online Planet Timeline: Year of the Dwarf Planets
View a great online exhibit showing the number of planets through time by NASA / USGS RPIF.

Visualizing Earth Systems
A compelling visualization can graphically depict data in a way that helps students grasp a challenging concept. This new website links educators to dozens of recommended visualizations dealing with energy, climate, minerals, water, hazards, and other Earth science topics. Educators are invited to submit URLs for their favorite online geoscience visualizations.


Greenland Melting Faster than Previously Thought
New research has found that Greenland's glaciers flowing into the ocean are grounded deeper below sea level than previously measured. This means that the warm ocean currents at depth can sweep across the glacier faces and erode them, causing melt rates of a few meters a day in summer months.