January 21, 2004
WSGC Newsletter for Educators
The Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium's electronic newsletter for teachers provides curriculum ideas, Internet links and other resources to help you better meet the Washington EALRs and the National Science Education Standards.TABLE OF CONTENTS
-- SEND IN YOUR SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKS (K-12)
-- GET A FREE GLIMPSE OF 'SPACE' (K-12)
-- ONLINE SCIENCE COURSES FOR CREDIT (K-12)
-- ROBOTIC PLANETARY EXPLORATION LECTURE
-- MUSEUM MARKS ASTRONAUT REMEMBRANCE WEEK
-- SEE MARS LIKE THE SCIENTISTS DO
Mars scientists are asking students from around the world to help them understand the red planet.
Send in a rock collected by you or your classroom and they will use a special tool to tell you what it's made of. The rocks will be kept in a special collection where scientists from around the world can come to study them.
Rocks should be no smaller than 2 inches nor bigger than 6 inches. Make sure to only take a rock in or on the ground in its natural setting. Avoid rocks that are decorative or used in landscaping as they could have come from other regions on Earth. Students might want to include the latitude/longitude of sample site, the name of a geographic feature (if it has one) where rock was collected and a copy of map with location where rock was collected.
For more information on sending in your rocks, visit http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/classroom/schoolhouse/GET A FREE GLIMPSE OF 'SPACE' (K-12)
On Jan. 24, the Pacific Science Center will host a special open house for teachers to tour "Space: A Journey to Our Future" and enjoy complimentary IMAX screenings. Check-in is first-come, first-served and takes place from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Teachers must check-in to receive free admission and movie tickets.
The IMAX screenings are Bugs, The Dream is Alive, Disney's Young Black Stallion, Coral Reef Adventure and Destiny in Space. Educators may also participate in Mars Mania! activities including live science demonstrations, astronomy crafts and rocket building. Visitors will learn more about the Mars Exploration Rovers from UW Astronomy Professor Woody Sullivan.
Teachers may bring up to three guests, including family members. For more information, go to
The American Museum of Natural History is offering six-week online science courses for K-12 educators. Topics include Diversity of Fishes; Earth: Inside and Out; Genetic, Genomics, Genethics; and Frontiers in Physical Science.
Courses run from Feb. 16-March 28. Each course is $200. Graduate credits and CEUs are available at additional cost from Adams State College and Plymouth State University. To learn more or register, go to
As the millennium closed, so did the era of once every decade, large-scale planetary spacecraft. Future robotic spacecraft like the Mars rovers will have a wide range of capabilities and diverse mission objectives, and will be launched at a rate of almost one per year.
On Feb. 7, Dr. Randii Wessen of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be speaking at the Pacific Science Center on "The Future of U.S. Robotic Planetary Exploration." Over the past 19 years, Wessen has been a key member of the teams responsible for the Cassini, Galileo, Voyager 2 and Mars missions. He is currently with the Navigator Program, which seeks to understand the formation and history of planetary systems in our galaxy. The co-author of "Neptune: the Planet, Rings and Satellites," he is a fellow of both the Royal Astronomical Society and the British Interplanetary Society.
The lecture, which takes place at 2 p.m. in the Adobe Laser Dome, is part of a monthly series being presented in conjunction with the exhibit, Space: A Journey to our Future. Admission to the lectures is free with regular Pacific Science Center admission. For more information, go to
The Museum of Flight will honor the astronauts lost in NASA service with a week of remembrance, Jan. 27-Feb. 1. Throughout the week, special exhibits will highlight the lives of the 17 astronauts from the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs and remembrance journals will be available for visitors to record their thoughts on each of these heroes.
There will also be a display of personal memorabilia from Washington state astronaut and Columbia shuttle pilot Willie McCool, a distance learning program broadcast from NASA's Johnson Space Center, and panel discussions with Apollo astronaut Walter Cunningham and former Mission Control specialists Jerry Bostick and Sy Liebergot.
A nondenominational remembrance service is planned for Feb. 1 at 10:15 a.m. For details, see
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released Maestro, a public version of the primary software tool used by NASA scientists to design goals for the Mars Exploration Rovers and analyze the images received from Mars.
Visitors can download Maestro for free from and use it to follow along with the rovers' progress during the mission. Maestro can be used to view pictures from Mars in 2D and 3D and to create simplified rover activity plans.
During the mission, updates will be released for Maestro containing the latest images from Mars. To download Maestro, go to
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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