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Lunar and Planetary Institute

High School Team Earns Top Spot in Solar System Research Competition

May 11, 2018

 Mount Horeb High School students

Mount Horeb students pictured with advisor, Kelsey Prissel (right).

A team of students from Mount Horeb High School in Wisconsin earned top honors in the Exploration of the Moon and Asteroids by Secondary Students (ExMASS) national research program managed by the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE), a joint effort between the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

A panel of planetary scientists selected the winning Mount Horeb students from four finalist teams. The winning project, titled “Volcanic Contribution of Water at Lunar Silicic Domes,” concluded that the water observed by spacecraft orbiting the Moon can be emplaced by the eruption of hydrous magma during the formation of volcanic domes.

“Each year the ExMASS program produces excellent student research,” says Andy Shaner, Education Lead for the CLSE. “Just as in years past, the Mount Horeb students have shown that high school students can conduct meaningful research.”

Over the course of the academic year, teams of students from 10 high schools across the country conducted their own research project with guidance from a scientist advisor. The Mount Horeb High School students will present their research at the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute’s (SSERVI) annual Exploration Science Forum (ESF) held at the NASA Ames Research Center on June 26-28, 2018, in Moffett Field, California. The winning team includes Martha Barta, Lindsay Dyjach, Emma Erickson, Kailey Guenther, Eliza Lindley, Nya Lizdas, Patrick Penne, Shay Richards, and their teacher, Erin Treder. The team’s advisor was Kelsey Prissel, a Ph.D. candidate at Washington University in St. Louis.

The ExMASS program provides students an opportunity to conduct authentic, data-rich, scientific research of the Moon and asteroids, which covers the breadth of NASA SSERVI science and exploration goals.

Over 200 students from 23 states participated in the ExMASS program between the years 2014-2018, producing 16 student poster presentations that were displayed at the SSERVI ESF during that timeframe. Of the 16 poster presentations, four received awards or honorable mentions in the ESF Student Poster Competition held each year.

For more information, visit:

Exploration of the Moon and Asteroids by Secondary Students (ExMASS)

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