New! Watch a video about Exploration Station
Exploration Station is a program of activities organized by the various AGU sections and focus groups. Many AGU section and focus group members work for organizations with well-developed education and public outreach programs. Exploration Station is an opportunity for these organizations to bring their exhibits and hands-on activities to the Fall Meeting and interact with the public in San Francisco. Read more about Exploration Station in our Eos article
This event is four hours long, free, and open to the public. Participants make their way through an average of 20-30 exhibits offering a variety of easy, family friendly, hands-on activities and an opportunity to interact one-on-one with scientists, engineers, and education specialists. Past events have been very successful at engaging young people and their families; last year’s event attracted over 800 attendees. If you have any questions about the event or would like to share your science with the public, please contact Bethany Adamec, Education and Public Outreach Coordinator (email@example.com) or Pranoti Asher, Education and Public Outreach Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Exhibits at Exploration Station 2012
The 2012 Exploration Station exhibits included:
CloudSat Education Network
CloudSat is a one-of-a-kind NASA satellite that uses a special kind of radar to reveal the inner secrets of clouds. At this exhibit, you can learn more about what clouds are, how they form, and how we can see inside them from space. Come visit this booth to play with our “radar” demonstration and to make clouds in a bottle right in your hands!
Ocean FEST: Families Exploring Science Together
Climate change is not just an atmospheric phenomenon. It has serious impacts on the ocean, such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching. Ocean FEST (Families Exploring Science Together) educates participants about ocean science issues and aims to inspire students to pursue ocean science careers in Hawai‘i and other coastal communities. Throughout the program, participants examine their everyday decisions and the impact of their choices on the planet’s climate and oceans.
All Things Polar! Exploring the Polar Regions of Antarctica and the Arctic
You might be the next polar scientist! Find out what it is like to study in the extreme polar regions. Come check out the POLAR booth and learn about Antarctica and the Arctic. Ask a scientist, touch tundra from the Arctic, and try some COOL hands on activities. You can even have your photo taken in EXTREME cold weather gear!
Get Your Hands Wet!
Learn more about the ocean with hands on activities led by staff from the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE).
NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory & Camilla SDO
Learn about NASA’s latest eye on the Sun; the Solar Dynamics Observatory, also called Little SDO and the impact the Sun has on Earth and our technology. Little SDO’s Best Friend and mission mascot Camilla SDO will also be present to share the excitement of solar science and space exploration.
Discover the Electromagnetic Spectrum
Learn all about the waves that make up the electromagnetic spectrum. A variety of institutions from NASA and elsewhere are collaborating to bring you a full row of booths where you can explore the spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays (with microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet light, and x-rays in between) through interactive exhibits.
This is a fulldome inflatable planetarium showing portions of several shows: Force 5 (hurricanes, tornadoes, and space storms); “We Choose Space” (human space exploration); and 2012: Mayan Prophecy. They will also distribute educational materials from the NASA MMS mission, including the “Space Weather” CD.
NASA’s Kepler Mission
NASA’s Kepler Mission is searching for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars in our galaxy. The exhibit will display two interactive models: 1) a model solar system (orrery) plus computer display which demonstrates how the Kepler spacecraft detects planets as they transit their stars; 2) a touch-screen “planet families” display that allows visitors to construct planetary systems and watch them evolve–mostly with planets crashing into each other. The planet families display is also accessible on home computers, and URL cards for this will be available. Other hand-outs will include bookmarks with Kepler Mission info and URL; printed information about Kepler Mission; star wheels marked with known exoplanets.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory
How many stars are there in our solar system? Just one! The Sun. The Solar Dynamics Observatory is NASA’s newest eye on the sun. Come find out all about how the sun works and why it is so much fun to study. We’ll have several hands-on activities on magnetism, the Sun’s structure, and the SDO satellite.
Kid Science Fun Zone
This kid friendly area is great for the younger scientists in your group. At the Fun Zone kids will make and launch rockets, learn about the size of the solar system, create some science-art projects and much more.
Follow Your Curiosity on Mars
Taking just 7 hair-raising minutes to get from the upper atmosphere to the surface of Mars, NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed safely in Gale Crater in August 2012. Since then Curiosity has been taking breathtaking images and examining rocks and minerals as part of a two year mission to discover whether Mars could have had environments favorable to the development of life. Join Mars Education experts to learn what make Mars so interesting, see a full-size inflatable model of the Curiosity rover, and learn about the innovative technologies used on the rover. Scientists working with Curiosity will also deliver the Public Lecture immediately before (and next door to) Exploration Station.
The exhibit will consist of three activities. The first will be an iPad station where several apps will be used to look at data from solar satellite missions and learn about the Sun and Space Weather. Attendees will be encouraged to download the apps on their own iPhones and iPads. The second exhibit will showcase a portable magnetic field demonstration kit that can be used in classroom settings to open discussions on magnetism and how it plays a significant role in space weather. The third exhibit will include building paper and edible models of the upcoming Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) that will investigate how the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields connect and disconnect, explosively transferring energy from one to the other — a process that occurs throughout the universe, known as magnetic reconnection.
Racing climate change at glacial speed
This exhibit will explore our changing polar regions using hands-on activities. Using glacier goo we will demonstrate the physics of glacier movement letting participants race their glacier against the fastest glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland. They will also demo their interactive data display of the polar regions.
Elsevier – Earth and Planetary Science Journals
A presentation of what happens when a volcano erupts.
Come become part of exploring our solar system. Using data from numerous NASA missions, you will identify craters, boulders, and other scientifically interesting objects on the surfaces of rocky worlds from Mercury to the Moon to Vesta. All your results will be reported back to team scientists and used to help us better map these alien surfaces. As part of this booth, you and your family will also have the chance to learn through kid-friendly demos how craters are formed, and why they are scientifically interesting.
The SETI Institute’s exhibit features scientists who work on projects that explore life beyond Earth through astrobiology. The scientists will do demonstrations, and answer questions for children and families about their work in astronomy, planetary geology, extreme field research, and the SETI search with radio and optical telescopes. Brochures and publications will be available at the exhibit. The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. The Institute is a private, non-profit research and education organization with headquarters in Mountain View, CA.
APL Space Department Education and Public Outreach
The Space Department at JHU/APL specializes in extreme Solar System exlploration, from the Sun to Pluto and Beyond! This exhibit will include hands-on activities that focus on investigating invisible forces within the Earth’s radiation belts and studying rocks and minerals on other bodies in the Solar System. The Investigating the Invisible activity emphasizes how scientists use instruments to extend our normal human senses to detect and measure things that are not visible to the eye. Planetary geology activities will include making your own lunar geology map and studying rocks here on Earth to help us understand the geologic evolution of other moons and planets in our Solar System.
WHERE DO MOUNTAINS COME FROM MOMMA?
Author Catherine Weyerhaeuser Morley will read and sign her book WHERE DO MOUNTAINS COME FROM MOMMA? (Published by Mountain Press Publishing). She will also bring fossils and rock samples for children to hold, look at, and ask questions about.
Using Rocks From Space in Science Classes on Earth
An exhibit/booth/activity involving many different types of meteorites used in K-12 teacher training workshops. All of the meteorites can be handled so they make for a fun activity for the public. The exhibitors will also demonstrate how to build model comets using dry ice and water. This fun activity uses dry ice to flash-freeze water and other ingredients into a miniature comet nucleus. A passive part of the exhibit will include many children’s science books (written by Kortenkamp) for young kids to page through. Most are written for K-3 grade level, with a few for 4-6 reading level. They all have wonderful graphics and images.
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Invisible Fields
The exhibitors challenge everyone to consider the invisible field that causes the Moon to orbit the Earth, the Earth to orbit the Sun, the Sun to orbit the center of the Milky Way Galaxy…using a simple piece of spandex fabric and some “massive bodies” we can explore many things we see in nature.
Exhibitors will promote Sun-Earth Day resources to K-12 teachers, informal educators from museums, parks, and community organizations, scientists, amateur astronomers, and others interested in learning more about our direct connection to our nearest star.
Jump up and down, create an earthquake, and watch your seismic waves. Create a larger earthquake with the help of your family and friends. Be a seismic detective and answer these questions: 1) Did any earthquakes happen around the world today? 2) Where do most earthquakes occur? 3) Where do you think the next earthquake will occur?
The world’s largest flying observatory is called the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy or SOFIA. Operated by NASA, the SOFIA Mission is a modified Boeing 747SP with a 2.5 meter infrared telescope in the fuselage. SOFIA will observe the night sky in infrared in hopes to study black holes and the organic molecules that make-up our universe. Visit this exhibit to learn about the wonderful world of infrared astronomy.
UC 4-H Youth Development Program
Each year, the 4-H program conducts the 4-H National Youth Science Day with youth across the nation. In 2012, the experiment is the Eco-Bot Challenge where youth design a robot to clean an environmental spill. The robots will be present at Exploration Station.
The GLOBE Program
Students – ever wonder about the clouds overhead? This is your chance to learn all about clouds and other weather phenomena with GLOBE. Parents and Teachers – join us to learn how you too can get involved and help your children and students become even more excited about weather and climate.