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Earth and Space Science Education: Implications and Opportunities. R. M. Johnson. Earth and Space Science: What are the Implications and Opportunities for Education?. Programmatic decisions Definition of new scientific and education structures and relationships within NASA is underway

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Earth and Space Science Education: Implications and Opportunities

R. M. Johnson


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Earth and Space Science: What are the Implications and Opportunities for Education?

  • Programmatic decisions

    • Definition of new scientific and education structures and relationships within NASA is underway

      • Science Mission Directorate (SMD)

      • Relationship to Education Office

      • How will education be represented in SMD?

      • How will education program be structured?

    • We’ll need to wait awhile…

  • For now, let’s focus on opportunities for education through Earth and space science



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Fundamental Earth System Science Questions

How is the Earth changing and what are the consequences of life on Earth?

  • How is the global Earth system changing?

  • What are the primary forcings of the Earth system?

  • How does the Earth system respond to natural and human-induced changes?

  • What are the consequences of changes in the Earth system for human civilization?

  • How well can we predict future changes in the Earth system?


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Space Science EnterpriseScience Themes

Structure and Evolution of the Universe

  • What is dark matter that binds together the universe?

  • What powered the big bang?

  • What is the dark energy that drives apart the universe?

  • Are there hidden space-time dimensions?

  • What is the nature of black holes and gravity beyond Einstein?

Astronomical Search for Origins

  • Where Did We Come From?

  • Are We Alone?

Sun Earth Connection

  • What causes solar variability?

  • How does solar variability affect the Earth and other planets?

  • How does solar variability affect life and society?

  • How does the Sun interact with the interstellar medium?

Solar System Exploration

  • How do planets form?

  • Why are planets different fromone another?

  • Where did the makings of life come from?

  • Did life arise elsewhere in the solar system?

  • What is the future habitabilityof earth and other planets?

Mars Exploration

  • Did life ever arise on Mars?

  • How did Mars’ atmosphere, surface, and interior evolve?

  • What knowledge and technology is needed for future human exploration?


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Space Science EnterpriseScience Themes

Structure and Evolution of the Universe

  • What is dark matter that binds together the universe?

  • What powered the big bang?

  • What is the dark energy that drives apart the universe?

  • Are there hidden space-time dimensions?

  • What is the nature of black holes and gravity beyond Einstein?

Astronomical Search for Origins

  • Where Did We Come From?

  • Are We Alone?`

Sun Earth Connection

  • What causes solar variability?

  • How does solar variability affect the Earth and other planets?

  • How does solar variability affect life and society?

  • How does the Sun interact with the interstellar medium?

Solar System Exploration

  • How do planets form?

  • Why are planets different fromone another?

  • Where did the makings of life come from?

  • Did life arise elsewhere in the solar system?

  • What is the future habitabilityof earth and other planets?

Mars Exploration

  • Did life ever arise on Mars?

  • How did Mars’ atmosphere, surface, and interior evolve?

  • What knowledge and technology is needed for future human exploration?


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How does the Sun impact Earth System Science?

  • The Sun is one of the key driving forces of the Earth system

  • Solar variability impacts Earth systems in numerous ways

    • Climate forcing terms

    • Changes in radiation

    • Drives large scale dynamics of the atmosphere

    • Short-term variability impacts interaction of magnetosphere with the solar wind/magnetic field, and the coupled magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere system.


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Sun-Earth Relationships and Space Weather

  • Solar Radiation

  • Solar influences on Climate

  • Space Weather


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Relevance of Models to the NSES

  • Models and concepts associated with them are central to the Unifying Concepts and Processes content standard:

    • Systems, order, and organization

    • Evidence, models, and explanation

    • Constancy, change, and measurement

    • Evolution and equilibrium

  • Models also provide a tool for exploring the concepts included in the other content standards:

    • Science as Inquiry

    • Physical Science

    • Life Science

    • Earth and Space Science

    • Science and Technology

    • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    • History and Nature of Science

  • Earth and Space Science provides an even broader context for using models in science education



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The Benefit of an Earth and Space Science perspective: an example

  • Volcanic forcing produces cooling, solar cycle forcing produces warming

  • Need natural + anthropogenic forcing to reproduce observed warming


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Snapshot of density in noon-midnight meridian from MHD code simulation of July 15, 2000 CME-magnetic cloud interaction with Earth's magnetosphere. Simulation driven by upstream solar wind parameters measured by the ACE spacecraft at L1.


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Summary simulation of July 15, 2000 CME-magnetic cloud interaction with Earth's magnetosphere. Simulation driven by upstream solar wind parameters measured by the ACE spacecraft at L1.

  • Fundamental Earth system science questions are related to space science questions

    • Lessons we learn from study of the Earth informs our research on other planets, and visa versa

  • Earth and space science is considered as a unit in the NSES, and is taught as a continuum in many settings

  • Expanding our educational scope to include Earth and space science topics together broadens our ability to bring NASA research to learners, through both observations and models


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