NASA Triad Leadership Academy

Laura and I got to experience an out of this world adventure of a lifetime without really going all that far. Back in March we ran across a flier via Twitter that was promoting an Earth and Space Science Teacher Leadership academy funded by NASA and the AGI and hosted by Arizona State University. We really wanted to go, but the selection process was intense with requirements for letters of recommendation, resumes and letter of intent. We had no idea if we’d get selected and waited many weeks to hear of our fate. Luckily we were good enough to get in and got WAY more than we bargained for (we were the only Californians selected). Day 1 – Place-Based teaching methodologies for Earth Science systems. Day 2 – Meteorites (we got to hold the oldest fragments of rock in our solar system!!) Day 3 – Mars! Day 4 – Lunar Day (including ORGINAL photo prints from the astronauts of Apollo 16!!) Day 5 – Astrobiology. Laura and I were a bit depressed after arriving back in Turlock. Our scientific senses had been so stimulated for such a prolonged time we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We are very grateful to the folks who made this academy a success and were very proud that we got to represent California.
  • Just after take-off heading south from Oakland.  I think this is Crystal Springs Reservoir.  Notice its linear shape... that would come from the fact that the lake (dams and all) sit on a strand of the San Andreas Fault.  Convenient valley... for now.
  • The marine layer was receding.
  • A really good view of what happens when warm, fairly moist air comes into contact with the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean- quick cooling of the air mass and rapid rise in humidity until condensation and clouds (fog) form.
  • A great view of the marine layer "burning-off".
  • Our window was a little blurry, but it's easy to see the uplifted, tilted and eroded layers of the Great Valley Sequence in the bottom-half of the photo.  To visualize what happened here, imagine taking a phone book, bending it in half and then chopping off the bent hump to see the page ends exposed.
  • Gotta love the Delta Mendota Canal... if you're a south valley farmer.
  • The unmistakable Soda Lake on the Carrizo Plain.
  • Divergence of canals.
  • My first-ever view of the Salton Sea.
  • Woo!  My polarizer and the plastic jet window didn't mesh well in this photo, but it's the Salton Sea (almost in its entirety). This is a huge environmental calamity that you can learn a lot more about by googling it.
  • Since my polarizer was making the colors whacky, I made this one black and white to show the corporate farms growing our salad fixings in the middle of the desert.
  • The mighty Colorado River.
  • The mighty Colorado River.
  • Our first morning at ASU... Laura checks out the magnificent specimen of petrified wood.
  • This was the old science museum at ASU - they're moving into new diggs in Septmeber, but the "How Telescopes Work" exibit was still up.  This is a Catadioptric scope.
  • Here's a newtonian reflector.
  • And a good-ol refractor.
  • Laura was enjoying the first working lunch.
  • All of the other Arizona-based teachers.  We were the only ones from California!
  • Foucault pendulum.  It demonstrates the rotation of the Earth with an apparent rotation a swinging weight on a pendulum.
  • In motion.
  • It was a hot .8 miles to our hotel (115 was the high, averaged about 107 on our evening strolls home).   Thus I was never really in the mood to take photos of the amazing ASU campus.
  • It seemed most building on campus were very new.
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  • Chiu and I partnered-up for a play-doh relative size model of the solar system.
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  • Pluto's a funny small speck on the right.
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  • This building was pretty neat.
  • Doing a 1000m scale model of planet distances from teh sun in our solar system was not fun in the 110 mid-afternoon.
  • Day 2 was the BEST.  Dr Lawrence Garvie of ASU's Meteorite Studies brought us some hand-samples of meteorites to handle.  AMAZING!
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  • I think Admire is just what I did with this metorite.
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  • Remember the meteorite over Sutter's Mill in May of 2012?  It caused a large stir in the valley and a huge hunt for the pieces followed.  It turned out the meteorite was a carbonaceous chondrite - the rarest of the rare that usually contains hints of organic molecules.  No such luck here, though.
  • I got to "hold" the Sutters Mill Meteorite.
  • Dr. Lawrence Garvie was an amazing presenter.
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  • Chondrules.
  • Chondrules.
  • Scale
  • Yes, meteorites smell.
  • The new science building at ASU that houses the Meteorite Vault.
  • Brand spanking new lab areas.
  • Nice, airy floor plan.
  • This was the best memory of the week for me.  The meteorite Vault!  Head to toe meteorites everywhere.
  • Nice storage doors.
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  • Olivine crystals in this cut and polished specimen.
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  • Mars dust!
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  • A huge chondrite.
  • Amy Zink says chondrites are awesome.
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  • Here's a Martian Meteorite - only worth about $110,000!
  • Keep it tidy!
  • Tissint Martian meteorite.
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  • Nice Widmanstatten patterns.
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  • Roy holds a piece of MARS!!!
  • Laura holds a piece of MARS!!
  • I hold a piece of MARS!!!
  • Seriously, how many people have ever gotten to hold a piece of MARS????
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  • Haha!  ASU won a wager with TV's meteorite men and came away with the dude's watch.
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  • After the meteorite vault we had dinner and Starlab Date.
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  • Day three - Mars Day! Laura in front of Spirit full size model.
  • I see you.
  • Spirit tools.
  • Christmas card photo?
  • Exploring some hands-on mars curriculum.
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  • Mars orbiter camera - mock-up.
  • Dr Christensen was awesomely engaging too.
  • Sojourner model.
  • Actual size sojourner model.
  • Amy Zink says these photos are cool.
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  • Amy Zink - currator of the Space Photography Lab. Everything she showed us were ORIGINAL PRINTS!
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  • Model of the ASU windsock experiment that went on the Mars Pathfinder in the mid-90's.
  • 1979 image of Mars from the Viking Lander.  Original print!
  • Files from venus.
  • I do believe this is Venus.
  • More Venus.
  • After most of the tour group left, Amy Znik showed us the "Good stuff".  Original film strips from one of the Apollo missions.
  • Apollo 15 orbiter images.
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  • What an amazing feeling to see orignial prints of Apollo 15 shots.  I would LOVE to have these framed in my house.
  • The detail is exquisite.
  • Original FIRST PRINTS FROM THE ASTRONAUT'S HASSELBLAD CAMERA on APOLLO 16!!!!!!!
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  • I almost started to shake when I saw these prints.  I thought my photos from my wilderness hikes were a feat until I saw these. First prints, no less.  Take a look at the file folder too.  Just too awesome.
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  • Playing an active meteor accretion game.
  • Our NASA lunar rock checker-outer certifier: Jackie Allen
  • Impact crater time!
  • Marbles as impactors into the baking soda and powdered chocolate regolith.
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  • This impactor hit a rich area of minerals as observed by the ejecta.
  • Based on the ejecta patterns we could determine the extend of the mineral field.
  • Lava-making experiment that would eventually help us with relative dating.
  • Play-doh lava flows.
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  • Yes, we got to hold moon rocks too.  And the coolest part is that we're now certified to check them out for our classes!
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  • Great moments in lunar exploration.
  • The LROC observatory.
  • LROC model.
  • "Great Scott" moon rock obtained by one of the Apollo astronauts.
  • I bet these guys love their job looking at the surface of the moon most of the day.
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  • Some sick computing power.
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  • Time to act like a rover.
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  • Our rover would have crashed and burned.
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  • Ganesh Kumar explains the design an testing protocols for a newly created prototype rover for future martian or lunar missions.
  • The guts.
  • Yup, we'd get to drive it too!
  • Controls explained.
  • Giles was all over the place.
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  • MY TURN!
  • Oh yeah, I'm good.
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  • Ian was impressed by my mad skills!
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  • Christmas Card??
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  • Graduation!
  • Giles
  • Yes, we're all surprised she graduated too.
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  • We left on the right day!  Watermain ruptured on the day we left.
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  • Outside Phoenix.
  • Lovely air quality, no?
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  • THe "chatter mark" burms in the bottom of the photo made me curious.
  • What are these?
  • Colorado River and farms.
  • Pit mine.
  • Joshua Tree Nat'l park, I think.
  • Joshua Tree, I think.
  • Wind turbines.
  • LA air wasn't much better.
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  • The OC.
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  • Near LA port.
  • Newport?
  • LA
  • LA and Chavez Ravine.
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  • The Highest Sierra.  Whitney's in there somewhere.  I'll be atop that peak in August.
  • Gotta love the Central Valley.
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  • Los Banos
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  • Oneil Forebay.
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  • Patterson.