Lunar and Planetary Institute

Education and Public Outreach

LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter
September 2004

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Workshops and Courses | Grants and Funding I Events/Opportunities | Resources | Mission News and Science

Workshops and Courses

Visit the SCORE Booth at the Arizona Science Teachers Association Conference on September 30 and October 1! Join us to learn about the space science resources and the NASA educational forums.

SCORE will also be attending the Science Teachers Association of Texas Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching on 4–6 November . The SCORE booth will offer space science materials and information on opportunities for Texas science teachers. SCORE will host Space Science in the Classroom from 1:00 to 4:00 in Ballroom C of the Convention Center. There will be lots of NASA workshops and short courses during the conference and NASA is providing a full-sized model of the Mars Rover!

Always popular among the diverse short courses offered at NSTA's conventions are those presented by NASA under the auspices of the NSTA Institute. This fall continues that tradition, with NASA sessions at all three NSTA fall conventions : Indianapolis, Nov. 4–6; Seattle, Nov. 18–20; and Richmond, Dec. 2–4.  Sessions include Extreme Solar System-NASA's Extreme Exploration 2003–2006 and Robotics Core Content Update. For information about all NASA short courses, and many others, go to, click on the convention of interest, and search short courses under the event format heading.

This fall the American Museum of Natural History is offering four courses for teachers in the life, Earth, and physical sciences. All the courses are online and only require Internet access: no travel time and no scheduling headaches. Each course is available for up to 4 graduate credits, and taught by museum scientists and educators. Courses begin Oct. 4. For more information visit

The Annenberg/CPB Channel presents Essential Science for Teachers: Earth and Space Science Video Course, a free video professional development course designed to help K–6 teachers gain an understanding of some of the bedrock science concepts they need to teach today's standards-based curricula. Real-world examples, demonstrations, animations, still graphics, and interviews with scientists compose content segments that are intertwined with in-depth interviews with children that uncover their ideas about the topic at hand. Each program also features an elementary school teacher and his or her students exploring the topic using exemplary science curricula. The eight-part course will air on the Annenberg/CPB Channel beginning on September 15. Register now at, then download the free print support materials as directed.

Grants and Funding

Educator Researcher Collaborative Projects - The SCORE program offers grants of up to $1000 to collaborative teams of educators and Office of Space Science researchers in the SCORE six-state region. The grants are intended to help initiate new partnerships between educators and Office of Space Science researchers. Funds can be used to purchase materials and resources to increase student or public understanding of space science content. Deadline: September 30.

NASA's Mission Science Directorate (MSD) [formerly the Office of Space Science (OSS) and Office of Earth Science (OES)] and Space Telescope Science Institute are pleased to announce the opportunity to apply for an Initiative to Develop Education through Astronomy and Space Science (IDEAS) grant. The Call for Proposals (CFP), which details the proposal guidelines and procedures can be found at the program website. The deadline for submitting a 2004 IDEAS proposal is Friday, October 22, 2004, 5:00 p.m. ET.

Educator Researcher Workshops - The SCORE program offers grants to assist in the development and implementation of local professional development workshops for educators in the SCORE six-state region. Workshop design is flexible and should meet the needs of the local community. Funding deadline for spring workshops is January 15, 2005.

Toyota TAPESTRY Grant Program - The program awards 50 grants of up to $10,000 each and a minimum of 20 "mini-grants" of $2,500 each to K–12 science teachers. Interested teachers should propose innovative science projects that can be implemented in their school or school district over a one-year period. Toyota TAPESTRY projects demonstrate creativity, involve risk-taking, possess a visionary quality, and model a novel way of presenting science. The deadline is January 19, 2005.

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Help NASA Review Instructional Lessons and Receive an Educator Certificate of Participation - The NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Office of Education and Public Outreach is seeking volunteers to assist in the alignment of NASA instructional lessons to the Science Framework for California Public School Standards. We are looking for motivated educators to spend 5–10 hours to help place our NASA curricular lessons into a matrix containing the California Science Education Standards. The deadline for participation has been extended to September 30, 2004. For more information visit


Keep track of launches and mission events happening in our Solar System! The Solar System Exploration Education Forum hosts an interactive calendar at

Dispel your students' mistaken ideas about space science and let the real learning begin! Brought to you by Amazing Space, Myths vs. Realities, a series of common misconceptions about space – black holes, comets, our Solar System - paired with scientific explanations that separate fact from fiction.

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Mission News and Science

Congratulations to the MESSENGER Mission team for a spectacular launch on August 3rd, beginning its three and a half year journey to the planet Mercury! Since only one other spacecraft has visited Mercury (Mariner 10 in 1974/1975) it is the least explored terrestrial planet. It is the smallest, densest, has the oldest surface and the largest daily variations in surface temperature of the terrestrial planets. MESSENGER is scheduled to reach Mercury on January 15, 2008 and will investigate its structure, geologic history, composition and magnetic field. Developing a better understanding of Mercury will give insights into Earth's formation, evolution, and how it interacts with the Sun. Scientists are anxious to find out more about this mysterious planet! Check out MESSENGER's web site to learn more.

On September 8th, 2004 the Genesis Mission returned the first extraterrestrial materials brought to Earth since the Apollo Moon missions! During the return, the sample return capsule's two parachutes did not deploy and the capsule hit the ground hard. A NASA team is evaluating the condition of the samples, which were collected in delicate wafers of sapphire, silicon, diamond and other materials. They believe they will still be able to investigate the most important portions of the science mission. The samples will provide vital information on the composition of the Sun, and shed light on the origins of our solar system. Check out the Genesis mission education web page for activities and resources to bring into your classroom.

Origins - NOVA/PBS September 28 and September 29 - “Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? What was the birth of our planet like? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered? NOVA presents some startling new answers in "Origins," a groundbreaking four-part NOVA miniseries” Journey back to the beginning of everything: the universe, Earth, and life itself. Please check local listings for confirmation since broadcast dates and times can vary.

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Last updated
May 2, 2007