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Update on Dynamic Response of Environments at Asteroids, the Moon and moons of Mars (DREAM2) Education Efforts

Lora Bleacher
Education & Public Outreach
Delivered As: 
Abstract Text: 

The Dynamic Response of Environments at Asteroids, the Moon and moons of Mars (DREAM2) education plan emphasizes face-to-face interaction between DREAM2 scientists and our audiences. DREAM2’s education efforts primarily focus on undergraduate internships and educator professional development. The plan aligns with three of the five goals of the Federal Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (CoSTEM): 1) Improve STEM instruction; 2) Enhance STEM experience of undergraduate students; 3) Better serve groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields.
DREAM2’s higher education efforts provide opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in authentic NASA research while learning about SSERVI-related content. The keystone component of the DREAM2 higher education program is a partnership with Howard University’s (HU) Department of Physics and Astronomy to bring undergraduate students to NASA Goddard for summer internships. HU is a Historically Black College and University located in Washington, D.C. This partnership allows DREAM2 and SSERVI-related content to reach students underrepresented in the STEM fields. In addition to completing their research projects, undergraduate interns participate in monthly team meetings, tours of GSFC facilities, and a heliophysics-focused boot camp. At the end of the summer, they present their completed projects through poster and oral presentations that are open to the entire GSFC community and the student’s families. Students typically continue to refine and add to their research over the school year during independent studies, with two students giving additional presentations at DREAM2 face-to-face science team meetings and conferences, such as the National Society of Black Physicists. In summer 2015, two DREAM2 interns were named John Mather Nobel Scholars via a competitive process. The program awards travel allowances towards the cost of presenting research papers at professional conferences.
DREAM2’s formal education efforts provide middle school educators, both pre-service and in-service, with professional development via “DREAM2Explore” professional development workshops. The DREAM2Explore workshops are modeled on the successful Lunar Workshops for Educator series hosted by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. The pilot DREAM2Explore workshop was held in 2014, which brought 23 educators to GSFC for an in-depth week of hands-on activities, discussions, presentations by five DREAM2 scientists and others, tours, and networking opportunities with DREAM2 scientists. Content focused on SSERVI target bodies: formation, comparing/contrasting structure and composition of surfaces and exospheres, effects of space weather, engineering design challenges, NASA’s current plans to explore asteroids and the “Journey to Mars”. 100% of the participants agreed that they acquired activities that they will use with their students. 91% agreed that they feel confident in implementing the activities and that they acquired a new understanding of planetary science and exploration that will be valuable when working with their students.

DREAM2 team members also engage in public outreach opportunities near team member institutions via public talks and events like International Observe the Moon Night (, the GSFC open house, and the University of Maryland’s annual Maryland Day event. Each event draws crowds in the tens of thousands.

Donald H. Lindsley, Douglas R Schaub, Hanna Nekvasil, Nicholas DiFrancesco, and Timothy Glotch
SSERVI Identifier: 

Recognizing that science and human exploration are mutually enabling, NASA created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to address basic and applied scientific questions fundamental to understanding the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and the near space environments of these target bodies. As a virtual institute, SSERVI funds investigators at a broad range of domestic institutions, bringing them together along with international partners via virtual technology to enable new scientific efforts."