Lunar and Planetary Institute

LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

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October 4 - October 10, 2014 World Space Week 2014

October 7 - October 8, 2014 Early Morning Lunar Eclipse Visible in the US

October 12 - October 18, 2014 Earth Science Week

October 19, 2014 Comet Siding Springs Narrowly Avoids Mars

October 27 - October 31, 2014 Fall 2014 Solar Week

April 1, 2015 Dawn Mission arrives at Ceres--largest asteroid

July 14, 2015 New Horizons mission flies by Pluto


Online Seminars in Science
Educators may earn graduate credit with Seminars on Science, American Museum of Natural History's (AMNH) online professional development program. Online courses include The Solar System, Climate Change, Earth Inside and Out, and more. Limited stipends are available for a Climate Change course. The registration deadline is October 13.

Free Small Bodies Workshop in Tucson
There will be a free workshop for science educators of grades 5-12 on small bodies in the solar system in conjunction with the Division of Planetary Sciences annual meeting! "Small Worlds: Big Discoveries" will discuss how asteroids and comets have shaped our understanding of the history and evolution of our solar system. When: Sunday, November 9, 8:30am- 5:00pm (lunch included) Where: JW Marriott Starr Pass, Tucson, Arizona. Registration closes Oct. 24.


Total Lunar Eclipse
On October 8, the full Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow, producing a total lunar eclipse visible for a portion of North America, and a partial lunar eclipse for all of North America. This total lunar eclipse will be best seen from the Pacific region, although even eastern regions of the U.S. will be able to observe the beginning stages. The total lunar eclipse begins at about 3:25 am Pacific daylight time when the Moon completely enters the darkest part of Earth’s shadow.

2014 Humans in Space Art Video Challenge
Join NASA’s International Space Station Program and Humans in Space Art in a journey of exploration. Interested college students and early career professionals worldwide are invited to influence the future of life on Earth and human space exploration. Individuals and teams should submit a three minute video capturing their visions of "How will space, science and technology benefit humanity?" Video artwork may be any style. Younger participants may submit a video, but artwork from artists of all ages will be judged together. Entries are due November 15, 2014. The individual or team that creates the first place overall video will be awarded $5000 by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and winning artwork will be given worldwide visibility and flown in orbit on the International Space Station.

Mapping Earth’s Water Cycle with NASA Scientists: An Online Event for Educators
This presentation, October 16, will use an online concept map tool for exploring the water cycle. The concept maps presented are loaded with educational assets -- including images, videos, news items -- that webinar participants can use in their own educational practices, presentations or for their own learning.

SkyFest Event at LPI: Mars & Comet Siding Spring
The Lunar and Planetary Institute, with assistance from the JSC Astronomical Society, offers SkyFest several times a year. SkyFest is open to explorers of all ages, and includes hands-on activities as well as viewing through telescopes (weather permitting). The next event is October 18 at 7:30; come view Mars and discover comets through hands-on activities.

Free Presentation on Earth's Structure at LPI
The next presentation in the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s 2014-2015 Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series, "Science" on the Silver Screen, is Nov. 6. LPI scientist Dr. Walter Kiefer will discuss the scientific accuracies and inaccuracies presented in the movie "The Core." LPI’s Cosmic Explorations presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a light reception. Registration is free but will be required.

Tucson Science Educators' Day (EDAY)
The Optical Society is hosting a Science Educators’ Day (EDAY) in Tuscon, Oct 22, 5-8 pm. The guest speaker will be Dr. Michael Raymer, a physicist and Phillip H. Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon.

View an eclipse of the Moon on October 8
On October 8, the full Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow, producing a total lunar eclipse visible for a portion of North America, and a partial lunar eclipse for all of North America. This total lunar eclipse will be best seen from the Pacific Ocean and bordering regions (weather permitting, of course!), although even eastern regions of the U.S. will be able to observe the beginning stages. The total lunar eclipse begins at about 3:25 am Pacific daylight time when the Moon completely enters the darkest part of Earth’s shadow.


Citizen Sky Science for Earth Science Week
NASA’s #SkyScience activity is part of Earth Science Week, Oct. 12-18. Citizen scientists can participate in this global Earth science data collection event by observing, photographing and reporting on clouds over their location as a NASA satellite passes over. Reports and photos will be compared to data collected by NASA Earth-observing instruments as a way to assess the satellite measurements. Using the hashtag #SkyScience, participants are encouraged to post their cloud and sky photos and observation experiences to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Flickr. Throughout the week, NASA will share some of the most interesting photos on the agency’s social media accounts.

MY NASA DATA Seeking Volunteer Master Teachers for Advisory Board
The MY NASA DATA team is seeking elementary, middle, and high school teachers to serve as Master Teachers on a new MY NASA DATA Advisory Board. Selected teachers will use their classroom experience and expertise to help improve the MY NASA DATA project, which provides real NASA data, lesson plans, and activities for use in classrooms. Applications are due Dec. 15, 2014.

Mercury Explorers Student Principal Investigator Program
Student teams will have the opportunity to learn about Mercury in new and exciting ways! Through the use of mission software, students will have the opportunity to explore the surface of Mercury, and possibly have their work featured on the MESSENGER website. Through the Student PI program, students will gain experience in technical and scientific skills as well as practice in essential soft skills such as teamwork, public speaking, asking thoughtful questions, and research methodology. The program is free and open to teams of students across the country, high school through college.

Sally Ride EarthKAM Announces 2014 Fall Missions
The 2014 Sally Ride EarthKAM fall missions are scheduled to take place Oct. 21-24 and Nov. 18-21, 2014. Guide your students in hands-on research as they program a camera aboard the International Space Station to take pictures of specific locations on Earth. The optional online curricula at the Sally Ride EarthKAM website are targeted at middle school students but are adaptable for other grade levels. All students and educators are welcome.

Become a Solar System Ambassador
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassadors Program (SSA), a nationwide network of space enthusiast volunteers, extended its application deadline to Wednesday, October 15. Highly motivated individuals will be given the opportunity to represent NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as volunteer Solar System Ambassadors to the public for a one-year, renewable term beginning January 1, 2015. While applications will be sought nationwide, interested parties from the following states are especially encouraged to apply: Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Wyoming and the District of Columbia. SSA hopes to add 100 new volunteers to the program in 2015.

NASA Internships for High School and College Students
NASA's One Stop Shopping Initiative for Internships, Fellowships and Scholarships, or OSSI NIFS, strives to provide high school students and undergraduate and graduate students at all institutions of higher education access to a portfolio of internship, fellowship and scholarship opportunities offered by NASA mission directorates and centers. Visit the Office of Education Infrastructure Division LaunchPad to find information on internship, fellowship and scholarship opportunities. Applications for spring 2015 opportunities are due Oct. 12, 2014.

Einstein Fellowship Program
The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in STEM fields to spend eleven months working in a Federal agency or in a U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive knowledge and experience in the classroom to education program and/or education policy efforts. Applications are due November 20, 2014.


Texas Medical Association Outstanding Science Teacher Award
The Texas Medical Association Outstanding Science Teacher Award recognizes teachers who exhibit a personal commitment and enthusiasm for teaching any area of science. Three Texas science teachers will receive $5,000 each. Their schools will receive $2,000 awards. Three additional science departments will receive $1,000 each as second-place winners. Nominations for this award will be accepted through October 25, 2014.

ING Unsung Heroes Program's Class Project Awards
Each year, one hundred K-12 educators are selected to receive awards of $2,000 each to help fund their innovative class projects. Of the one hundred finalists, three will be selected for additional financial awards. All awards must be used to further the projects within the school or school system. Application deadline: April 30 2015.

Shell Science Teaching Award
The National Science Teachers Association, with support from Shell Oil Company, is inviting nominations for the Shell Science Teaching Award, an annual program that recognizes an outstanding K-12 classroom teacher who has had a positive impact on his/her students, school, and community through exemplary science teaching. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to attend NSTA’s national conference; two finalists also will receive all-expense-paid trips to the conference. Nomination deadline: Nov. 18, 2014.

Freedoms Foundation Accepting Nominations for 2015 Leavey Awards
The foundation is accepting nominations for the 2015 Leavey Awards, an annual program that recognizes educators at the elementary, junior high school, high school, and college levels for innovative and effective techniques related to the teaching of entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system. Up to twenty cash awards of $7,500 each will be awarded. Nomination deadline: Nov. 1, 2014.


NASA’s Climate Kids: Galleries of Change
NASA’s Climate Kids presents eight galleries that show rapidly changing climate conditions on our planet. This visual tool gives individuals the chance to explore climate change by highlighting key areas such as weather and climate, fresh water, air, oceans, energy sources, plants and animals, and technology.

eBook Reach for the Stars
"Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn" is a free eBook that can be downloaded from the iBook store, and is aimed at a Middle School audience but is appropriate for many ages. The eBook takes advantage of all the accessibility features (such as VoiceOver) available on an iPad to convince children with disabilities that they too can be seen pushing the barriers of science. Tactile overlays are available to help visually impaired people to explore graphs and Hubble Space Telescope images. Supplemental material has been designed for educators - and in particular for educators of children with disabilities - to show how to take full advantage of these eBook capabilities.

Explore Earth Science ‘Big Ideas’ in Videos, Classroom Activities
AGI offers award-winning videos and related classroom activities to help students, educators, and others explore the "big ideas" of Earth science, and has added dozens of additional activities selected specifically to help educators teach about core concepts of Earth science.

Lunar Eclipse Resources
On October 8, the full Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow, producing a total lunar eclipse visible for a portion of North America, and a partial lunar eclipse for all of North America. Lunar eclipses are perfectly safe to view, and an exciting family event. LPI has assembled information and a variety of links with information, multimedia, and activities.

Earth Science Week Online Toolkit
The updated Earth Science Week Online Toolkit includes 76 lessons, posters, fact sheets, and other materials, each offered in both English and Spanish. Materials provide users with introductory information on Earth science, as well as in-depth items on earth, water, air, and life science.


Evidence of Plate Tectonics on Europa
Evidence of plate tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa is the first sign of this type of surface-shifting geological activity on a world other than Earth. Researchers have observed visual evidence for expansion of Europa's icy crust, and now have evidence for subduction as well.

Tiny Galaxy Has Huge Black Hole
Supermassive black holes have been found at the centers of most large galaxies and often are related to the mass of the galaxy. In a new discovery that challenges current models of supermassive black hole formation, astronomers have found one inside a tiny galaxy.

Earth's Water Older than the Solar System
New research suggests that much of the water on Earth and in the early Solar System was inherited as ice from interstellar space, increasing the likelihood that similar ices and organic matter are abundant in the materials forming other stars and planets.

MAVEN Reaches Mars
NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is now in orbit around Mars. MAVEN is studying Mars' upper atmosphere in order to better understand its history and how Mars' climate has changed over time.

Arctic Sea Ice Continues to Decline
Arctic sea ice coverage continued its below-average trend this year as the ice declined to its annual minimum on Sept. 17. 2014 Arctic seas ice coverage is the sixth lowest recorded since 1978.

Earth Observing Instruments on the ISS
NASA is taking the International Space Station's Earth-observing capabilities to a whole new level. Before the end of the decade, six NASA Earth science instruments will be mounted to the station to help scientists study our changing planet. Instruments will moniter ocean winds, clouds, airborne particles. Gases in the atmosphere, lightning, and more to better understand weather, pollution, thunderstorms, the ozone layer, and climate change.

Milky Way Part of Newly Identified Supercluster
Astronomers have determined that our Milky Way galaxy is part of a massive supercluster of galaxies. The Milky Way is in the outskirts of this Laniakea Supercluster, which is 500 million light years wide and contains 100,000 galaxies.