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

December 13 - December 14, 2015 Geminid Meteor Shower

December 21, 2015 Winter Solstice

March 4, 2016 InSight Launch to Mars

July 4, 2016 Juno Mission arrives at Jupiter


McDonald Observatory Teacher Workshop
A variety of summer workshops for teachers, "Solar System and Beyond", " Worlds Beyond Our Solar System ", "Giant Magellan Telescope", "Venga! Explore Nearby Galaxies" , and "Exoplanets and Our Solar System" features tours of the telescopes, discussions with the research astrophysicists in residence, and nighttime observations at the McDonald Observatory. Application deadline for each workshop is February 7, 2016.

LIFTOFF 2016: Exploration- Past, Present, and Future
A weeklong professional development training for teachers emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning experiences by incorporating a space science theme supported by NASA missions. 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.The application deadline is April 15, 2016.

Earth Educators' Rendezvous Summer Educator Event
This program, July 18-22, 2016 at University of Wisconsin-Madison welcomes college faculty, graduate students, and K-12 teachers from all disciplines who are interested in improving their teaching about the Earth. Among many options, participants can learn about new teaching approaches, discover opportunities to get involved in research programs, prepare for an academic career, or discuss how to approach teaching and learning challenges in their classroom.


2016 NASA Space Settlement Design Contest
Design a space settlement! Space settlements are permanent communities in orbit, as opposed to a place to work for a few months and go home.The NASA Space Settlement Design Contest is for K-12 students throughout in the world. Individuals or teams may enter. Submissions must be received by March 1, 2016.

#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.

"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.


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.


Dr. Carolyn Porco Talks About the Cassini Mission to Saturn
The YouTube Channel for the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures now features a recent, visually stunning talk by Dr. Carolyn Porco on ten years of Cassini-Huygens exploration of the Saturn system. Includes 42 other illustrated talks with nearly three quarters of a million views from around the world.

Additional Mars Stories Beyond "The Martian"
Over the years, many scientists and writers trained in science have written stories and novels about future Mars exploration. This features a selective list of short stories and novels that use more or less accurate science and can be used for teaching or reinforcing astronomy or physics concepts.

Mars Survival Kit: Lessons and Activities to Guide Your Exploration of Mars!
The Mars Survival Kit is a collection of educational activities for students in grades K-12. Each educational activity includes a brief description, as well as information about how the activities and lessons align to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Carbon and Climate Resources for Educators and Students
NASA has a variety of new resources including a recorded presentation on carbon and climate, and lessons, activities, and multimedia.

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.


Hottest Heaviest Double Star Nearing Catastrophe
Astronomers say these two giant stars that are touching may merge to form a single giant star or form a double black hole.

Dwarf Planet Ceres May Be From Outer Solar System
The presence of ammonia-rich clay on much of the surface of Ceres suggests that this dwarf planet—the largest object in the asteroid belt—may have formed far out in the solar system, then wandered into the asteroid belt.