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Education & Outreach

The FINESSE team is committed to a vibrant program in Education and Outreach to share the excitement and importance of space science and planetary analog fieldwork with the broader community.  To that end, FINESSE actively participates in multiple Education and Outreach programs.


NASA Spaceward Bound

Spaceward Bound is a program designed to train the next generation of space explorers by having students and teachers participate in the exploration of scientifically interesting but remote and extreme environments on Earth as analogs for human exploration of the Moon and beyond.

Eventually humans will be living and/or working on the surface of the Moon, at asteroids, and beyond in our Solar System. These natural environments pose significant challenges and opportunities for human explorers. The next generation of space explorers needs to understand how to establish and maintain scientific outposts in harsh environments. They must be trained to live and work in these environments and learn how to explore the surfaces of these worlds.

The Spaceward Bound Field Expeditions involve pre-service and in-service teachers in authentic fieldwork so that they can bring that experience back to their classrooms and assist in the development of curriculum related to human exploration of remote and extreme environments.

Teachers join world-renowned planetary scientists to live and work at remote and isolated planetary analog research sites.  By day teachers work in the field alongside scientists.  By night they participate in groups to analyze, design and plan how their daytime experiences can be leveraged in their classrooms under the overarching theme of developing a “pedagogy of exploration.”

The FINESSE Spaceward Bound program is focused at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve and is supported by the Idaho Space Grant Consortium.

Teachers should contact the Idaho Space Grant for information on future opportunities to participate in the FINESSE Spaceward Bound program.

Below are some photos of Idaho teachers from the 2015 Spaceward Bound program!


Spaceward Bound 2015 teachers with FINESSE Principal Investigator Dr. Jennifer Heldmann.

(Left to right:  Jeff Karlin, Deirdre Bingaman, Shawn Tiegs, Tiffany Sheely, Jennifer Heldmann, Kenny Hunter).


Tiffany Sheely collecting rock samples from the lava flows.


Deirdre Bingaman receiving a geology lesson in the field from FINESSE Science Lead Dr. Scott Hughes.


Kenny Hunter working in the field to prepare samples for XRD/XRF instrument analysis.

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Idaho Science Teacher of the Year Jeff Karlin wearing a video hat (left) and featured on the nightly news (right) discussing the FINESSE fieldwork in Idaho!


Shawn Tiegs showing some very eager students (his children!) some of the portable field instruments used during the FINESSE deployment (left) and assisting with LiDAR data collection (right).

NASA – National Park Service Community Day

The FINESSE project, in collaboration with our sister project titled BASALT, held an extremely successful Community Day at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (June 2016).  This Community Day was a joint collaboration between NASA and the National Park Service (NPS) and was also in honor of the National Park Services centennial birthday!  Full event details can be found here.  Hundreds of people descended on Craters of the Moon to learn more about the NASA science and exploration work being conducted in Idaho while NASA researchers discussed the research and demonstrated equipment used to simulate robotic and human missions to the Moon and beyond.

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Student Involvement

FINESSE is committed to supporting undergraduate and graduate students studying relevant fields of planetary science and exploration.  Multiple students are conducting research in conjunction with the FINESSE project at various institutions (see FINESSE People page).

We also support student internships and encourage interested applicants to apply for a position at NASA Ames through the OSSI (One Stop Shopping Initiative) program. OSSI is a NASA-wide system for the recruitment, application, selection and career development of undergraduate and graduate students primarily in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

FINESSE will also advertise for post-doctoral positions based at NASA Ames Research Center though the NASA Postdoctral Program.  The NASA Postdoctoral Program provides talented postdoctoral scientists and engineers with valuable opportunities to engage in ongoing NASA research programs and serves as a source of talent to ensure the continued quality of the NASA research workforce. These one- to three-year  appointments are competitive and are designed to advance NASA’s missions and research programs.

NASA Museum Alliance

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FINESSE has partnered with the NASA Museum Alliance to deliver talks and provide content to the wide network of Museum Alliance partners.  Over 1,200 professionals at more than 625 U.S. museums, science centers, planetariums, NASA Visitor Centers, Challenger Centers, observatories, parks, libraries, camps, and youth-serving organizations are partners in the Museum Alliance.  FINESSE team members give several talks per year to the Museum Alliance which helps to bring the excitement of the science and exploration to interested people throughout the country.

Media and Outreach Events

FINESSE is committed to sharing the excitement of the our research program with the general public, especially in locations where we are conducting fieldwork.  We have coordinated with the National Park Service to host Media Days at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve which allows the press to observe our team in action at the field sites as well as conduct interviews for news stories.  We also present public lectures to park guests to describe our research and allow the public an opportunity to engage with our team members.

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FINESSE Team Member Dr. Shannon Kobs (Idaho State University) delivering a NASA Hyperwall talk at the American Geophysical Union meeting (2015) in San Francisco, CA.

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FINESSE Team Members Noah Petro and Jennifer Heldmann conducting media interviews regarding our Moon.

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FINESSE Team Member Scott Hughes, featured in the Visitor Center video at Craters of the Moon (COTM) National Monument and Preserve as a lead expert geologist regarding COTM volcanic study!

We also support multiple media and outreach events throughout the year.  For example, FINESSE supports International Observe the Moon Night, the Haven House Shelter speakers series, Maryland Day, NASA Ames Research Center open house and public events, plus numerous activities at team member institutions to share the excitement of space science and exploration.

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


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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