Education and
Public Engagement
at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

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October 4 - October 10, 2018 World Space Week

October 14 - October 20, 2018 Earth Science Week

October 20, 2018 International Observe the Moon Night

November 26, 2018 InSight Mission Lands on Mars

December 24, 2018 50th Anniversary of Apollo 8 "Earthrise" View of Earth

January 1, 2019 New Horizons Flies Past Kuiper Belt Object


2018 Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching
Registration is now open for the 2018 CAST conference, Nov. 1-3 in Fort Worth, TX.

UH Teacher Workshop for Mars Rover Celebration
The University of Houston is holding a workshop on Sept. 28, 2018 (9am - 4pm) to help teachers prepare their students to participate in the 2019 Mars Rover Celebration competition. Registration for the workshop is $25. For more information, contact

ASP Online Workshop: From Pinholes to Space Telescopes: How Telescopes Work
From Pinholes to Space Telescopes: How Telescopes Work takes participants through the very basics of what optical systems such as cameras, telescopes, and our eyes have in common. The four session workshop (Thursdays Sept 27, Oct 4, Oct 11, Nov 8, 4-5pm Pacific time) culminates in participants building their own telescope, a Galileoscope, as part of their receiving a set of 24 shipped directly to their institution. Registration: $149.

NISE Network Free Online Professional Development Workshops
The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Network) is hosting several free online professional development workshops on Earth and space science and chemistry over the coming months. NISE Network workshops are recorded and will be available afterwards online.


The LPI at 50: A Half Century of Solar System Exploration
The Lunar and Planetary Institute has been part of NASA’s adventure of exploring the solar system since 1968. Our understanding of the solar system has changed greatly in the past 50 years. How are current planetary missions contributing to our evolving view of the solar system? Join us on November 15, 2018, to hear Dr. Fran Bagenal describe Juno's role in our evolving view of Jupiter and of the solar system.

International Space Apps Challenge
The International Space Apps Challenge (October 19-21) is a 48-hour hackathon that pairs NASA’s data with problem solvers across the globe; more than 25,000 people participated last year! Apply by August 24 to host a Space Apps hackathon in your town.

Earth Science Week
Earth Science Week (October 14-20, 2018) is an annual event that has been led by AGI along with its sponsors and the greater geoscience community since 1998. The coming year's theme will emphasize the creativity, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills -- as important to the arts as to the Earth sciences -- that are demanded by education standards as well as the popular STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) movement in education.

World Space Week 2018
World Space Week is the world’s largest public celebration of space, October 4-10, 2018. This event commemorates the launch of Sputnik 1 on Oct. 4, 1957, and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on Oct. 10, 1967, to regulate peaceful use of space by all countries. During this week, teachers are encouraged to use space-themed activities to excite students about science and technology.


UH Mars Rover Celebration
This event on March 23, 2019, at the University of Houston is an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience building a mock-up Mars rover. Students participate in the design and construction of a model rover to carry out specific activities. Entries are limited, and registration closed Dec. 15.

Become a Member of NASA's Museum Alliance
Informal education professionals, including museum and planetarium educators, librarians, camp facilitators, out-of-school time programmers, and more, are invited to apply for a free membership to the NASA Museum Alliance. The Alliance is meant to be the starting point for all informal educators who are seeking free NASA educational resources and services.

Citizen Science Project: Cosmoquest’s Image Detective
CosmoQuest’s Image Detective, a NASA-funded citizen science project, invites the public to identify Earth features in photographs taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Citizen scientists are asked to help identify geographic features (natural or human-made) in astronaut photographs and then determine the location on Earth where the photo is centered. Your efforts can enhance NASA’s database of images taken by astronauts from the space station.

Contests of Earth Science Week 2018
Each year, many science teachers encourage students to participate in the traditional Earth Science Week visual arts contest, open to students in grades K-5, or the essay contest, which is open to those in grades 6-9. The photography contest is open to all ages. In addition, the Earth Connections contest calls for brief videos exploring Earth science. All eligible submissions must be received electronically by 5 p.m. ET, Friday, October 19, 2018.

National Fossil Day Art Contest
All are welcome to enter the National Park Service's National Fossil Day Art Contest. Entries should address the theme "The Age of Reptiles–More Than Just Dinosaurs." The contest is open to any U.S. resident. Entries must be received by 5 p.m. ET, Friday, October 5, 2018.


Shell Science Lab Challenge
The annual Shell Science Lab Challenge Competition recognizes exceptional and innovative science educators for their exemplary approaches to science lab instruction utilizing limited school and laboratory resources, and raise awareness and exposure of the outstanding work being done in the science education field. Application deadline: December 21, 2018.

Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching in Texas
TMA is accepting nominations for the 2019 Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching. Texas full-time public and private school science teachers with a minimum or two years' completed classroom experience, who will be teaching in 2019-2020 are eligible. Nomination deadline: Nov. 24, 2018.

Texas Environmental Excellence Awards
The Texas Environmental Excellence Awards honor environmental projects that exemplify that timeless Texas spirit. Application deadline is September 28, 2018.

Toshiba Grants for Grades K-5
K-5 grade teachers are invited to apply on-line for a $1,000 Toshiba America Foundation grant to help bring an innovative hands-on project into their own classroom. Applications are due Oct. 1 each year.

Toshiba Grants for Grades 6-12
Toshiba America Foundation accepts applications from teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students. Grant requests for less than $5,000 are accepted throughout the calendar year; grant requests for more than $5000 are accepted May 1 and Nov. 1.


NISE Network Earth & Space Toolkits for Informal Science Institutions
The National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) is pleased to offer 350 free physical Explore Science: Earth & Space 2019 toolkits. Eligible organizations include children’s museums, science centers, science museums, public planetariums and observatories, and NASA visitor centers located in the US. Toolkits will be shipped in early 2019. Application deadline: Nov. 1, 2018.

Video Overview of Parker Solar Probe
Parker Solar Probe will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun's surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it. The Parker Solar Probe will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth.

New Access to Apollo 11 Audio
The air-to-ground loops between the Apollo 11 crew and Mission Control were released to the news media and public as they happened. With original tapes locked away in special climate-controlled vaults, the conversion to a digital format has finally been completed. All 19,000 hours of audio recordings are now available online.

LPI 50 Year Anniversary Videos
To celebrate the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s (LPI’s) 50th anniversary, we asked staff to share their LPI experiences and thoughts on the last 50 years of planetary science. Watch the video to see what inspired Senior Staff Scientist, Walter Kiefer, to go into this exciting field.


Organic Molecules in Enceladus
Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus harbors a big ocean of water beneath its icy crust, which is evident from erupted water plumes from Enceladus’ surface. The Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) on Cassini measured the composition of erupted ice grains when Cassini dove into the moon’s plumes. New studies found complex organic molecules, with masses above 200 atomic mass units. This finding strengthens the idea that this ocean world may host life.

Liquid Water Lake Discovered Beneath Mars South Polar Cap
A new article in the journal Science reports the detection of a roughly 20-km-wide liquid water lake, 1.5 km below the surface of the Mars south polar cap. The Mars Express spacecraft used a radar instrument to detect the sub-glacial lake. This is truly exciting news in the ongoing search for Martian life--on Earth, anywhere liquid water can be found there is almost always life living in it.

New Moons Discovered Around Jupiter
New observations have discovered 12 additional moons orbiting the biggest planet in our solar system. These moons range in size from 1 km (0.6 miles) to 3 km (1.9 miles), and one of them is on a collision course with Jupiter. This newly discovered group of satellites extends the number of moons of Jupiter to 79, 17 more than Saturn.