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LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

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December 13, 2016 Geminid Meteor Shower

December 21, 2016 Winter Solstice--First day of winter

January 4, 2017 Earth at Perihelion: closest distance to the Sun

August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse visible across the US

September 15, 2017 Cassini plunges into Saturn's Atmosphere


Greater Houston STEM Conference
"New Horizons and Innovations in STEM" will be Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the University of Houston --Clear Lake. Proposals to present are being accepted through Jan. 31.

LiftOff 2017: Starry Night
This weeklong aerospace workshop emphasizes STEM learning experiences by incorporating a space science theme supported by NASA missions. Teacher participants are provided with information and experiences through speakers, hands-on activities and field investigations that promote space science and enrichment activities for themselves and others. Free to Texas participants. Application deadline: April 14, 2017

Astronomy Workshop at Harris County Department of Education
On Dec. 7, 2016, LPI will present an astronomy workshop for 8th grade science and High School astronomy teachers. Discover how astronomers study the stars, nebulae, and galaxies that make up the Universe! Create classification diagrams, explore the properties of light, and model the scale of our Galaxy through a variety of hands-on activities. Addresses TEKS 8.8 (A,B,C,D). Participants receive reference materials, hands-on lesson plans, and lunch. Materials and LPI education staff time provided by NASA Science Mission Directorate’s cooperative agreement with USRA.Advanced Registration required. ($30).


10th Annual 2017 STEM Education Conference
The Texas STEM Coalition invites you to join over 1,000 STEM educators from across the state and participate in learning through the following strands: STEM Leadership, STEM Best Practices, STEM Technologies and Successful Partnerships. Held in Dallas, Texas on January 19-21, 2017.

Total Solar Eclipse
On Aug. 21, 2017, the moon will pass between Earth and the sun, creating a total solar eclipse visible along a narrow path stretching across the continental United States. The NASA eclipse page lists events, activities, inofrmation about the science, and more.

AAPG Conference and Exhibition
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) invites middle and high school teachers to help celebrate its 100th anniversary; the conference will be in Houston April 1-4, 2017, and teachers can attend at reduced rates. More details and final agenda coming soon.


Future Engineers Mars Medical Challenge
Students ages 5-19 are invited to design a 3-D model that could be used by astronauts on a future mission to Mars. Students have the opportunity to win prizes ranging from a Mars prize pack or a 3-D printer for their school to a trip to Houston for a tour of NASA's Johnson Space Center. The challenge closes on Jan. 25, 2017, and winners will be announced on March 28, 2017.

Ozone Theater - Free Education Program for Houston
Three age-appropriate curricula are aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objectives in science, health, language arts, and fine arts. Book Ozone Theater free for your Houston elementary and middle school students today!

Free Program -- Cubes in SpaceTM
Cubes in Space provides students ages 11-18 an opportunity to design and compete to launch an experiment into space at no cost! Participants have access to resources that help prepare them to design and develop an experiment to be integrated into a small cube. This year, experiments will be launched into space via sounding rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. Registration Deadline Jan. 6, 2017.

Bright Schools Competition
Engage middle school students in science, technology, engineering, and math with the Bright Schools Competition. Students in grades 6-8 will select a topic related to light and sleep and select one of three exploration options (developing a prototype, creating an awareness campaign or writing a research proposal) to create an original project. Submission Deadline 02/10/2017

Fly Your Exoplanet on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
Set to launch in June 2018, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite is an explorer-class planet finder. In the first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey, TESS will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants. As the TESS team prepares for launch, it invites the public to ponder what exoplanets might look like and share their ideas in the form of sketches and graphics.

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.


Shell Science Lab Challenge
The Shell Science Lab Challenge offers you a chance to compete to win a school science lab makeover, valued at $20,000, by sharing your creative approach. Middle and high school science teachers (grades 6-12) in the United States and Canada are encouraged to apply. The deadline for submissions is January 23, 2017.


New "Explore NASA Science" Website
Explore the redesigned NASA Science website and learn about new discoveries, sign up for the newsletter, and much more!

Revised Seasons Activities
In "Heating Things Up," students graph average high monthly temperatures for different cities to learn how temperatures vary by location and by season. In the revised version of "Daylight Hours" students analyze graphs of the daylight hours of mystery cities to match them to specific cities.

Graphing Lunar Phases
This activity, developed by teacher Ashley White and revised by LPI, provides graphs and data for the percentage of the Moon that is illuminated.
Modified from

Fall 2016 Universe in the Classroom Edition is now available!
In this edition of The Universe in the Classroom, learn about a storyline approach to teaching about eclipses, including investigations into lunar phases, the size and scale of the Earth-Moon system, why eclipses happen, and the pattern and frequency of their occurrence.


Pluto has "Antifreeze" Subsurface Ocean
New research on data from the New Horizons mission shows more indications of an ocean just below Pluto’s surface that consists of a slushy, viscous liquid, kept warm from Pluto’s interior and a hint of anti-freeze.

Last Dive for Cassini Mission
The Cassini spacecraft has made some amazing discoveries since its arrival at Saturn in 2004, and has advanced knowledge of the Saturnian System beyond expectations. On Sept. 15, 2017 Cassini will make its final dive into Saturn, sending back information about the weather and atmosphere before being crushed due to the increasing pressure.

Building Blocks of Life's Building Blocks Come From Starlight
Scientists reveal their study of starlight and its impact on galaxies.