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Press for FINESSE

Spaceward Bound Teacher receives prestigious award

FINESSE Spaceward Bound teacher Jeff Karlin has been recognized as one of the top science teachers in the state of Idaho.  Karlin teaches marine biology, zoology, physics, and astronomy at Lewiston High School in Idaho.  He has participated in numerous NASA Spaceward Bound expeditions and has been promoted to Lead Spaceward Bound Teacher as a Field Lead within the FINESSE program.

KLEWTV presents a news story on Karlin and his accomplishments – watch the video here.

 

Media Coverage for 2015 FINESSE Field Deployment

The Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) and Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains (BASALT) teams are in the midst of completing the 2015 field deployment.  As a result of this exciting planetary science research being conducted on the lava fields of Idaho, several news outlets in Idaho have featured the FINESSE and BASALT projects in television, print, and online outlets.  A sample of the press coverage is listed below!

ABC News 8 / KIDK CBS News 3

Evening newscast highlighting FINESSE and BASALT research – watch the video here.

KPVI Channel 6 (NBC)

KPVI Channel 6 (NBC) featured FINESSE and BASALT research in the evening and morning newscasts – watch the video here.

NASA Studying Unique Lava Flow Features in East Idaho

One of our own backyard gems in Eastern Idaho Craters of the Moon National Monument is serving as the study grounds for NASA, and other organizations, to learn more about other planets and moons in our solar system.

Two NASA field programs, the Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) and Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains (BASALT), are conducting a two week field campaign to generate strategic knowledge in preparation for human and robotic exploration of other planets and moons in our solar system. The unique lava fields of craters of the moon national monument help researchers by resembling features found on other planets.

Jennifer Heldmann, a NASA Research Scientist, says, “This is the perfect place for us to come and study lavas, not only to understand what’s happening in Idaho and here on our planet Earth, but then also to understand there are very similar features here in Idaho as what we see on the moon for example.

Remote sensing instruments, such as drones, are being used in the study and are equipped with cameras or laser systems that help scientists analyze areas that you might not be able to get to normally.
Jennifer Heldmann explains why these non-contact science experiments are so beneficial.

“To figure out how do we do the science on the Moon and on Mars. What are the instruments you need to take? How long does it take the people to collect the samples? What are the samples that you need to get? So really we practice here in Idaho, at Craters of Moon, before we send people to the Moon, before we send them on to Mars, asteroids, etc.”

Several professors and students from Idaho State University’s Geo-Sciences Department, along with local high school science teachers, are embedded with NASA scientists in the research and are incorporating what they’re learning back home in the classroom.

“It’s access to incredible technologies, it’s access to top minds doing active science… I’m able to re-order science lessons, use the new technologies, assist kids in the latest ways and it’s been absolutely beneficial to my career as well as, hopefully, my students” said Jeff Karlin, an Idaho High School Teacher.

Craters of the Moon Field Deployment 2015

Media Day Schedule

Two NASA field programs, the Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) and Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains (BASALT) teams will conduct a field campaign in Idaho from August 1-14, 2015. The campaign will include a media opportunity hosted by the team on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, at the Robert Limbert Visitor Center at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho. Special activities for news media will include lectures, demonstrations and one-on-one interviews with selected team members.

The FINESSE and BASALT teams, led by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, are focused on a science and exploration field-based research program to generate strategic knowledge in preparation for human and robotic exploration of other planetary bodies including our moon, Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos, Mars, and near-Earth asteroids.

World-class researchers, planetary scientists, and experts in robotics and exploration will study the formation of volcanoes, evolution of magma chambers and the formation of multiple lava flow types, as well as the evolution and entrapment of volatile chemicals and habitability. The team will utilize samples on Earth to study the geology, chemistry, and biology of features associated with volcanic processes.

Additionally, NASA is collaborating with the Idaho Space Grant Consortium to bring teachers into the field to work side-by-side with NASA scientists.

FINESSE was selected by NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). SSERVI is a joint effort by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate. BASALT is supported by NASA’s Planetary Science and Technology Analog Research (PSTAR) program.

  • Media day at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve will be Wednesday, August 5, 2015 and will proceed as follows:

9 am – 11 am : Interested media are invited to observe fieldwork occurring near the Visitor Center/Overlook near the North Crater flows.  All interested media should meet at the Visitor Center at 9 a.m.  Science Lead Scott Hughes (Idaho State University) will meet all media at the Visitor Center and lead them to the nearby field sites.

1 pm: 45-minute talk/presentation by FINESSE and BASALT researchers to the media and public.  FINESSE Principal Investigator Jennifer Heldmann (NASA Ames Research Center), BASALT Principal Investigatior Darlene Lim (NASA Ames Research Center), Volcanics Research Leads Scott Hughes and Shannon Kobs (Idaho State University) and Brent Garry (NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center) plus the FINESSE Human Factors Lead Barrett Caldwell (Purdue University) will give presentations.  The FINESSE researchers will also take questions from the audience for 15 minutes.

2 pm:  FINESSE researchers and teachers will be available to the media for follow-up interviews.  Park Rangers will also be available at the visitor center for additional information/interviews regarding Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

3 pm : Media personnel are again invited to observe field work.  Scott Hughes will lead interested media parties from the Visitor Center to the field sites.

Directions

All media are invited to meet with the FINESSE team at the Robert Limbert Visitor Center at Craters of the Moon.
The visitor center is located off U.S. Highway 20/26/93 mid-way between Arco and Carey, Idaho.
More information can be found at http://www.nps.gov/crmo/planyourvisit/visitor-center.htm.

 

Idaho State University issues press article regarding FINESSE

Click here to view the full article.

This summer there could be NASA space rovers working along side NASA astronauts and Idaho State University researchers who are teaming up on Earth at the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho and at the east side of Hawaii’s Big Island to figure out how to better accomplish scientific research in space…

 

Rover Searches California Desert for Water to Simulate Future Lunar Missions

Click here to view the full NASA press release.

Water is critical for human existence, whether on our planet or distant destinations. In support of future space exploration, researchers from NASA’s Ames Research Center, in Moffett Field, California, are searching for water closer to home — in the desert near the Mojave National Preserve in Southern California.

The Mojave Volatiles Prospector (MVP) project team will remotely operate a planetary rover, named K-REX, developed and managed at Ames, to determine how moisture varies across surface and subsurface soil types.  Collectively, the rover and a suite of tools housed on the rover, are being integrated to mature technology concepts into better designed and built systems for prospecting materials in permanently shadowed regions on the moon.

“Because the Mojave is extremely dry like the moon, the test makes it a great analog to future lunar polar rover missions. We’ll be studying water distributions in the Mojave with a rover in order to learn how to study water distributions on the moon with a rover,” said Jennifer Heldmann, principal investigator for MVP at NASA Ames.

K-REX will be equipped with specialized prospecting instruments to help with the science.  The rover includes a camera and lamp underneath the rover so scientists can collect data and see the soil. The Neutron Spectrometer senses the hydrogen in water to gauge soil and rock moisture.  The Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer Systems (NIRVSS), which utilizes heritage technology from the NASA Ames Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission to the moon, will measure light reflections from the soil and identify levels of hydration and specific mineralogy in the differing surface and subsurface.

For example, one of the MVP testing sites exhibits a geological feature called “desert pavement.”

“These desert pavements consist of a nearly-flat surface of rocks that almost seem to be closely fitted together like puzzle pieces.  In fact, they resemble road surfaces in many ways,” said Rick Elphic, principal investigator of the Neutron Spectrometer at NASA Ames. “Pavements can consist of small rocks all fitted together, or larger ones, or rocks with a lot of space between them and soil poking through.”

The team will look at the distinctions between the different pavement types and loose soil underneath, identifying the varied abundance and distribution of water. Meanwhile, as the rover explores the desert, the science team will be 440 miles away at an operations center inside the Ames campus.  The decision to be remote is another key component of the project.  Through an Ames-developed software system called Exploration Ground Data System (xGDS), the team will communicate with the distant rover, whether in a different state county or on the moon.

“We are not in the field because in future lunar missions the team won’t be on the moon and will have to rely solely on the data collected by the rover to do the science, so MVP provides a high-fidelity mission simulation,” said Heldmann.

Craters of the Moon Field Deployment 2014

Media Day Schedule

·  Media day at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve will be Wednesday, August 6, 2014 and will proceed as follows:

8 am – 11 am : Interested media are invited to observe fieldwork occurring near the Visitor Center/Overlook near the North Crater flows.  All interested media should meet at the Visitor Center at 8 a.m.  FINESSE Field Lead Scott Hughes (Idaho State University) will meet all media at the Visitor Center and lead them to the nearby field sites.

1 pm: 45-minute talk/presentation by FINESSE researchers to the media and public.  FINESSE Volcanics Research Leads Scott Hughes (Idaho State University) and Brent Garry (NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center) plus the FINESSE Human Factors Lead Barrett Caldwell (Purdue University) will give presentations.  Hughes, Garry, and Caldwell will also take questions from the audience for 15 minutes.

2 pm:  FINESSE researchers and teachers will be available to the media for follow-up interviews.  Park Rangers will also be available at the visitor center for additional information/interviews regarding Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

3 pm : Media personnel are again invited to observe field work.  Scott Hughes will lead interested media parties from the Visitor Center to the field sites.

Directions

All media are invited to meet with the FINESSE team at the Robert Limbert Visitor Center at Craters of the Moon.
The visitor center is located off U.S. Highway 20/26/93 mid-way between Arco and Carey, Idaho.
More information can be found at http://www.nps.gov/crmo/planyourvisit/visitor-center.htm.

Rendez-vous times for media with the FINESSE team at the Craters of the Moon Visitor Center are 8 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm on August 6, 2014 per the above schedule.

 

NASA Ames Team Conducts Field Campaign Events in Idaho

Release issued August 1, 2014

The The Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) team’s first field campaign will occur in Idaho from July 29 to August 8, 2014. The campaign will include a media opportunity hosted by the team on Wednesday, August 6, 2014, at the Robert Limbert Visitor Center at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho. Special activities for news media will include lectures, demonstrations and one-on-one interviews with selected team members.

The FINESSE team, led by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, is focused on a science and exploration field-based research program to generate strategic knowledge in preparation for human and robotic exploration of our moon, Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos, and near-Earth asteroids.

World-class researchers, planetary scientists, and experts in robotics and exploration will study the formation of volcanoes, evolution of magma chambers and the formation of multiple lava flow types, as well as the evolution and entrapment of volatile chemicals. The team will utilize samples on Earth to study the geology and chemistry of features formed by volcanic processes.

Additionally, the FINESSE team is collaborating with the Idaho Space Grant Consortium to bring teachers into the field to work side-by-side with NASA scientists.

The team was selected by NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), which is based at Ames. SSERVI is a joint effort by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate. SSERVI’s community of scientists helps identify science priorities for exploration of destinations including the moon, near-Earth asteroids and the moons of Mars.

For more information on FINESSE, including the media day agenda, visit: http://spacescience.arc.nasa.gov/finesse/

For more information on Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, including directions to the visitor’s center, visit: http://www.nps.gov/crmo/planyourvisit/visitor-center.htm.

For more information about NASA’s plans to explore an asteroid, the agency’s Path to Mars, and the Global Exploration Roadmap, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

 

 

 

Ames Team to Use Robots, Humans to Study Impact Sites and Volcanoes Selected to Join New Virtual Research Institute

Press release issued January 28, 2014

Upcoming Activities

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SSERVI / Exploration Science Forum
July 2016
The Exploration Science Forum brings together the Science and Exploration communities to discuss current research regardin the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, and Phobos & Deimos.
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Third International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos & Deimos
July 2016
The Third International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos, subtitled The Science, Robotic Reconnaissance, and Human Exploration of the Two Moons of Mars, will be the third international meeting focused on Phobos and Deimos, and on how their exploration relates to that of other small bodies, Mars, and the rest of the Solar System.

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Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve (COTM), Idaho, USA

Prime FINESSE COTM field deployment:
Summer 2016

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International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN)

October 8, 2016
InOMN is a world-wide outreach event to encourage people to observe and learn about our nearest celestial neighbor, the Moon. The InOMN website can be found here.
Division of Planetary Sciences
October 16-21, 2016
The Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) annual meeting will be held in Pasadena, CA.  This meeting brings together researchers studying planetary objects to present and discuss cutting-edge planetary science.
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American Geophysical Union
December 12-16, 2016
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting is one of the most prestigious Earth and space sciences meeting worldwide.  AGU is held each December in San Francisco, CA.

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