Course Dates: June
Course Audience: K-12 teachers
and college faculty, particularly those teaching Earth Science
and Physical Science. Enrollment limited to ~15 teachers.
The 2009 Spaceward Bound Red River Valley expedition focuses relating
eastern North Dakota's glacial landforms to similar landforms on
Mars. The course uses drilling, trenching, and other types of analyses
to examine landforms identified during the 2008
summer field course (NDSU Geology/Biology 695) as primary targets for further investigation;
these include fluvial landforms, the glacial lake Agassiz strands,
the Sheyenne River “delta” and meltwater trenches, moraine
uplands, kettles, and a
major esker system. Chronologies of
these features will be tied into research and technologies utilized
at NDSU’s Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) laboratory.
In this year's course, teachers will work directly with NASA, NDSU,
and UND scientists in the field, learn about glacial landscapes, and
understand how the glacial landscapes on Earth are useful to understanding
the geologic history of Mars. The instructional staff plan to focus
on eskers as a possible site for a search for life on Mars and will
gather samples for geological and biological analyses. One planned
research component will be to investigate whether or not the biota
inside an esker reflects the depositional conditions or the present-day
environment. Additionally, field testing of pressurized spacesuit technology
from the University of North Dakota will also be performed using a
landform under field testing conditions.
Pre-selected field sites will provide opportunities for studies in
regional geology, field sampling and statistical analyses, and environmental
studies. Participants will be given "hands-on" instruction
in field-oriented geology as well as consideration of these sites for
Earth analog studies of the Moon and Mars.
Semester Hours: Three.
Course support: All
instructional costs are covered by ND Space Grant and by NASA.
Costs to Teachers:
$150 (recording fee @ $50/SH). K-12 teachers will receive a stipend,
anticipated to be ~$300 (sponsored by ND Space Grant at UND and NASA). Field
transportation and instructional materials are included. Lodging
and food are NOT provided.
Teachers need not be enrolled in a graduate degree program to take
this course. However, you must be enrolled at the NDSU. See the
NDSU Graduate School
bulletin for more information on the quick and
easy “Non-degree enrollment” procedures.
- Field transportation will be by rental vans. We are anticipating
that the first half of the week will be based in the Fargo area,
and the last half of the week in the Grand Forks area. Field sites
will be concentrated in southeastern North Dakota and in Grand Forks
County, North Dakota.
- The course starts at NDSU, and ends at UND, and full participation
in all aspects of the course is expected if credit is expected.
- Vans will return either to Fargo or to Grand Forks each night.
- All participants must be public or private school educators (K-20)
whose instruction is focused on STEM disciplines.
- Participants should be physically prepared to undertake moderate
amounts of hiking and hill climbing.
- Participants are expected to carry their own medical/disability
- Students will be asked to sign a form that allows NASA to post
their photo images on the Spaceward Bound website
Participants will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Participation in the field trip, as evidenced by interest, cooperation,
- Individual assignments to be completed during the field course
(mapping, statistical analyses, etc.).
- Field notebook of observations to be maintained for the trip.
- Lesson plan (minimum of five class days) to be prepared by each
teacher immediately following the trip.
- E-mail projects, to be assigned as part of the course pre-expedition
training and follow-up.
P. Schwert, PhD, Professor of Geology, NDSU
E. Lepper, PhD, Asst. Prof. of Geology, NDSU
P. McKay, PhD, Planetary Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center
M.S., Space Life Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center (Trip Coordinator)
Pablo de Leon, Research Associate, UND Space Studies
Bieri, Program Coordinator, ND Space Grant
Contact for Further Information or to Register for the Course:
NASA Ames Research Center
Building 239 Room 238
Moffett Field, CA 94035
Phone: (650) 604-5363
Fax: (650) 604-3954