Eight U.S. High Schools Selected to Conduct Scientific Research of the Moon and Asteroids

August 9, 2022

Eight high school teams from across the nation will participate in the Exploration of the Moon and Asteroids by Secondary Students (ExMASS) program managed by the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE), a joint effort between the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA Johnson Space Center. ExMASS is funded by NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

Working alongside their teachers and a scientific advisor, students conduct authentic, student-driven scientific research covering the breadth of NASA SSERVI science and exploration goals.

The high schools selected to participate during the 2022–2023 academic year are Belleville High School, Wisconsin; Benjamin Franklin High School, Arizona; Elsik High School, Texas; Hawaii Technology Academy, Hawaii; Krum High School, Texas; Logos Public Charter School, Oregon; Magic City Acceptance Academy, Alabama; and Tenafly High School, New Jersey.

Students spend the first six to eight weeks learning about lunar and asteroid science. Topics include the formation, evolution, and geology of the Moon and asteroids. In addition, students explore data sets from lunar spacecraft missions and asteroid missions. At the end of this activity, students use their newfound knowledge to characterize the geology of three areas of the lunar surface and asteroids.

The remainder of the experience is dedicated to researching a lunar or asteroid topic selected by the students and guided by a scientist advisor. After their research has concluded, students create a conference-style poster reviewed by a panel of judges. The top four teams present their research to the panel, and the judges select one team to present their poster in-person during the NASA Exploration Science Forum (ESF) held annually in the summer.

Since 2010, 600 students from 30 states have participated in the ExMASS program and produced 41 student poster presentations given during the ESF. Of these, 11 have received awards or honorable mentions in the ESF Student Poster Competition held each year.

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