The Dream

Growing up in the 60’s I immersed myself in the Space Race, & geographic expeditions to Earth’s frontiers of science & adventure through the National Geographics my grandparents supplied me as birthday presents. Later in life, I fell in love with my wife Jan, environmental science field work, and with sharing my passions through education. In 2000, I got to work on the RV Tommy Thompson over the Juan DeFuca Hydrothermal Vent Fields, investigating the relationship between seafloor volcanoes & ancient life. A very hot (& deep;>) educational experience. In 2002 (after Columbia), NASA gave me a chance to tie everything together when they created the Educator Astronaut Cadre of Mission Specialists. I applied (along with several thousand other qualified scientist / teachers), made it to the final cut of 200. From this final cut NASA selected 3 AsCans (Astronaut Candidates), & created the Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers (NEAT) from us remnants. Our mission is curriculum development in support of NASA education & public outreach (EPO) for STEM (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics) education. Astrobiology is a passion for me - seeking knowledge of life in its myriad forms: its origin(s), extents, commonalities, and exceptional extents. Helping find ways to seek it on other worlds, while at the same time working to use that experience to build better science & math experiences for our kids - I couldn’t be in a better “space”:>! Also, I like to utilize a careful combination of puns and excessive amounts of homework to make 8th grade science as miserable as possible for every student

;>;;>>:>;><; harr har har

You might say that I'm an AUTHORITY


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Background on the Trip

Spaceward Bound Mojave

Evan Justin will be headed to the Mojave Dessert along with a select group of 40 educators and scientists from around the country to do field research at the end of March 2007. This NASA sponsored effort aims to link teachers and scientists together to perform scientific fieldwork in lunar geology, Mars astrobiology, Mars geology, and issues of temperature and solar inundation and radiation. Mr Justin was selected due to his background in the area in geology and toxicology field research and his longtime association with various NASA related projects including Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers (NEATS) JPL Galileo Ambassador & Solar System Ambassador, Project AstroBio among many others. In addition to gathering important scientific data one of the other goals of the project is to create science curriculum based on the field research. The intent is to give students hands on experience with field research and to continue the efforts of the project and perhaps expand into other areas of inquiry. By engaging in interesting hands on activities in the field it is hoped that this will spark interest among some students in pursuing further study in science, engineering, and mathematics.

Why Go To The Mojave?

Mojave Dessert and Gusev Crater Mars taken by Spirit probe. (Click image for larger view) Planning for future exploration of Mars and the Moon is already well underway. Future space probes that will explore the Martian or lunar landscapes need to be designed in such a way that they can gather, sample, and analyze data with the proper tools and systems. The best way to insure that these probes are up to the task is to perform "analog" studies in similar Earth environments. These analog studies are looking to uncover "exceptions" to preconceived notions of what and how systems work. By looking for the exceptions to the scientific rule probes can be designed to better predict what will be encountered and have the necessary functionality to gather data. The Mojave Expedition also pairs educators with leading research scientists from around the country. The teacher-scientist teams will work together in the field with the intended outcome of creating curriculum for use in science education that will extend the work of the teams into the classroom. Read more about the Mojave Expedition Who's going? see the impressive list of scientists and educators including, of course, Mr Justin! Find out more about the Mojave Desert
Posted In: » Expedition

What’s Astrobiology Anyway?

Astrobiology is the study of the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. More about Astrobiology Astrobiology @ NASA
Fundamental Questions Astrobiology addresses three basic questions that have been asked in various ways for generations. * How does life begin and evolve? * Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? * What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? Principles The following basic principles are fundamental to the astrobiology program: * Astrobiology is multidisciplinary in its content and interdisciplinary in its execution. Its success depends critically upon the close coordination of diverse scientific disciplines and programs, including space missions. * Astrobiology encourages planetary stewardship through an emphasis on protection against forward and back biological contamination and recognition of ethical issues associated with exploration. * Astrobiology recognizes a broad societal interest in its endeavors, especially in areas such as achieving a deeper understanding of life, searching for extraterrestrial biospheres, assessing the societal implications of discovering other examples of life, and envisioning the future of life on Earth and in space. * The intrinsic public interest in astrobiology offers a crucial opportunity to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists and informed citizens; thus a strong emphasis upon education and public outreach is essential. NASA et al, "Astrobiology and the Roadmap." Astrobiology At NASA Ames Research. NASA. 19 Mar 2007 .
Posted In: » Expedition