Education and
Public Engagement
at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

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September 23, 2019 Fall Equinox

October 4 - October 10, 2019 World Space Week

October 5, 2019 International Observe the Moon Night

October 5, 2019 Astronomy Day

October 13 - October 19, 2019 Earth Science Week

October 16, 2019 National Fossil Day

April 22, 2020 Earth Day

July 1 - August 30, 2020 Mars 2020 scheduled to launch


Rice University offers Solar System Class for Teachers
For teachers, this class includes the solar system, Newton's and Kepler's Laws, Earth as a planet, NASA missions and more. Class begins August 26. Some online spots available.

NISE Network Online Workshops
The National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network runs a series of free online workshops as professional development opportunities for partners.

NASA Professional Development Webinars
Join the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University for these free 60-minute webinars. Online registration is required.


A Trip to the Moon performance by WindSync
Houston’s wind quintet will create a live soundtrack to Georges Mèliés 1902 silent film A Trip to the Moon, known for its breakthrough special effects and storytelling, using music from the 1875 operetta of the same title by Jacques Offenbach.

International Observe the Moon Night
International Observe the Moon Night is an annual worldwide public event that encourages observation and appreciation of the Moon. All are invited to observe the Moon, learn about NASA planetary science and exploration, and celebrate cultural and personal connections to our nearest neighbor. Each year, thousands of people participate at museums, planetaria, schools, universities, observatories, parks, businesses, and backyards around the world. Anyone can participate. All you need to do is look up! Any astronomy club, interested group, or individual can host an event; events range from small family gatherings to community events that draw hundreds of visitors!


The 10th Annual Space Foundation International Student Art Contest
The 10th Annual Space Foundation International Student Art Contest is now live and open for submissions.Student artists ages 3–18, are invited to participate by creating and submitting original, space-oriented artwork based on this year's theme.

2019 Earth Science Week Contests
For Earth Science Week 2019, the American Geosciences Institute invites you to participate in either their Video, Photography, Visual Arts or Essay contest! Click on the link for more information.

GLOBE Observer Citizen Science Challenge: GO on the Lewis and Clark Trail
NASA and the National Park Service encourage the public to follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark through a new citizen science challenge from June 1 to Sept. 2. The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Observer App allows citizen scientists to use their smartphones to map land cover along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Can’t make it to the trail? You can still participate by making land cover observations in your area!

Art Contest for National Fossil Day
To celebrate the 10th annual National Fossil Day during Earth Science Week 2019, the National Park Service is hosting an art contest celebrating fossil resources and paleontological heritage. Focusing on the theme "Extinct Giants and Survivors of the Last Ice Age," the contest is open to U.S. residents of any age. Submission deadline: Oct. 4, 2019.

Send Your Name to Mars
NASA has a "Send Your Name" campaign for the Mars 2020 rover. Names will be etched into a dime-sized chip and sent to space. Participants receive a commemorative "boarding-pass."

Mars 2020: Name the Rover Contest
In fall 2019, NASA will run a nationwide "Name the Rover" contest open to K-12 students in the US. The spacecraft will need a name by July 2020, when it's expected to launch. The contest is part of NASA's ongoing effort to engage the public in its Moon to Mars mission, which will search for signs of microbial life, characterize the planet's climate and geology and pave the way for human exploration. If you're not a K-12 student but want to get involved, NASA is also accepting applications to judge the contest submissions.


Earthwatch Institute: Teacher Fellowship!
Teach Earth offers teachers the opportunity to step away from their desks and out of the classroom for an outdoor environmental learning experience.

STAT Innovation Awards
STAT is proud to announce the 2019-2020 STAT Innovation Awards.

USRA Scholarship Awards
The USRA Scholarship Awards provide college scholarship awards to students who have shown a career interest in science or engineering with an emphasis on space research or space science education, and aeronautics-related sciences.

2020 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is now accepting applications for the 2020 Texas Environmental Excellence awards, including the Environmental Educator of the Year award. This award comes with a cash donation of $2,500 to the educator's school or designated nonprofit. The application deadline is September 27, 2019.

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.

NSTA Awards
NSTA Awards Programs honor teachers and principals from all grade levels for outstanding work; nominate yourself, a fellow teacher, or a student.

Toshiba Grants for 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. Grant applications are due on October 1st each year.


2019 Earth Science Week Toolkit - Geoscience Is for Everyone
For special shipping, bulk orders, and more information about Earth Science Week, visit or call AGI Publications at (703) 379-2480.

GLOBE Observer and Dust Storm Activites
Join NASA GLOBE Clouds Project Scientist, Marilé Colón Robles, to learn more about how to collect your observations and educational resources you can use with formal and informal audiences.

Solar Week Toolkit
Solar Week, a week of online lessons, games and hands-on activities about the Sun for grades 5-9 or ages 9-14, happens twice a year, approximately mid-to-late March and mid-to-late October.

Lunar and Planetary Bulletin - July 2019 Issue 157
This newsletter explores issues related to planetary science and exploration.

Solar System Ambassadors (SSA) program
The Solar System Ambassadors (SSA) program works with motivated volunteers across the nation to share the latest science and discoveries of NASA's missions through a variety of events that inspire their communities.

World Space Week Association Podcast – About Asteroids 2019, Robert Jedicke
Scientist Robert Jedicke is answering this question and many other about the world of asteroids in 2019, from ‘How do you grab an asteroid?’ to ‘What is the Deep Space Gateway?’, ‘What is Planetary Defence?’ and ‘How do we avoid Near Earth Objects collisions right now’.

Astromaterials 3D project webpage is live!
Astromaterials 3D project webpage is now live! Check out the first lunar sample picked up on the Moon in interactive 3D as we celebrate NASA’s 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11!


Massive Eta Carinae to Explode
Eta Carinae is a well-known star, prone to violent outbursts of energy. When the star erupted 150 years ago, the gas and dust that was hurled into space formed a dumbbell shape-- the Homunculus Nebula. Upgrades to the Hubble Space Telescope have been used to image Eta Carinae in increasing detail. In a newly-released image, astronomers have mapped out some warm, glowing magnesium in the nebula.

Biggest Seaweed Bloom in the World
NASA satellites have found an unprecedented belt of brown algae, stretching from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. In the satellite imagery, major blooms occurred in every year between 2011 and 2018 except 2013. Before 2011, most of the free floating Sargassum in the ocean was primarily found in patches around the Gulf of Mexico and Sargasso Sea. Scientists suggest that the ocean biochemistry is changing, in relationship to the changing climate and that the algae blooms are likely to stay.

Mars Methane Mystery
Methane is an organic molecule associated with microbial life on Earth as well as from interactions between rocks and water. It has been detected in varying quantities in Mars' atmosphere. On Mars, methane production appears to be seasonal in nature. The Mars Curiosity rover recently detected a plume, in which a high level of methane was observed and then decreased sharply. Scientists are studying clues to locate the sources of the gas.

Salty Seas on Europa
Data from the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that common table salt dominates the chemistry of the seas on Jupiter's moon Europa.

Highest Energy Photons from the Crab Nebula
Physicists have spotted the highest-energy light ever seen, from the Crab Nebula, a remnant of a stellar explosion, or supernova, about 6,500 light-years away. An experiment caught multiple particles of light (photons) from the nebula with energies higher than 100 trillion electron volts.

Earliest Galaxy Merger
Mergers have helped build galaxies up from smaller clumps of stars to the elegant spirals seen in the modern universe. A new study indicates that the earliest known galaxy smashup happened less than a billion years after the Big Bang.

Dragonfly to Visit Titan
NASA has announced that their next destination in the solar system is Titan, Saturn’s organic-rich moon. The New Frontiers spacecraft mission to Titan, named "Dragonfly," is a rotorcraft, a drone with eight helicopter-like propellers. It will fly through Titan’s dense atmosphere to sample and examine multiple sites across Titan’s surface.