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NASA Workshop: Student Guide for Participation

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Activity 1: Workshop Preparation

The following exercises encourage students to prepare for the "Ices" Workshop experience. They are designed to stimulate thought and engagement with relevant topics and to generate questions that will lead to further investigation during and after the Workshop.

Exercise 1: SPACE students will identify solar system segments of interest to them. E.g., Mercury and the Moon, the Earth and Mars, Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. They will then search for three abstracts from the "Ices" Workshop or any recent Conferences of the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). The goal will be to identify and summarise three key questions being asked by researchers in the domain.


  1. Visit the "Ices" website to access the abstracts for our Workshop. (Note: there has been a delay in the posting of the abstracts. You should be able to access them by Wednesday, November 9, 2022). The LPI database of past abstracts can be accessed here.
  2. Search for three abstracts around a topic of interest to you. Be as specific or as general as necessary to capture an interest that relates to our solar system. Using the "Advanced Search" feature might help you target abstracts.
  3. Identify three key questions being asked by reseearchers in the domain around the topic of interest.
  4. Provide MLA references to the abstracts.

Exercise 2:  Jim Garvin, formerly the lead on Mars exploration at NASA and the current lead on Venus exploration, will be welcoming the "Ices" Workshop participants on the 9th of January at 08:50. A 25 min open-ended Q&A period will be prefaced by a 5-10 min video on "NASA and its icy exploration plans for the solar system".

SPACE students will prep questions for Jim Garvin based on his bio and any personal interests in planetary exploration. The goal of this exercise is to encourage engagement with the speaker and to take advantage of the opportunity to propose thought-provoking questions to a luminary in the field. One or more of the questions provided may be posed at the Q&A.

Jim Garvin provides strategic advice and analysis on the scientific priorities and directions to the Center Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center and senior leadership, as well as to NASA Headquarters. Prior to coming to Goddard, Garvin served as the NASA Chief Scientist, advising three separate Administrators on issues ranging from science strategies associated with the Vision for Space Exploration to those involved in rebalancing the NASA science portfolio. In addition, Dr. Garvin served as the chief scientist for Mars exploration from 2000 until 2004 and spearheaded the development of the scientific strategy that led NASA to select such missions as the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix polar lander, and the Mars Science Laboratory. He received two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals for his work with the science behind the Mars Exploration Program. Dr. Garvin is one of the founding fathers of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter experiment and led the scientific investigation of impact cratering processes for Mars using MOLA topographic data.  

Extended biography can be found here.


  1. Read Jim Garvin's bio.
  2. Write down two "What if?" questions that intersect with Jim's background and your interests, or potential interests in planetary science. You are encouraged to be creative, speculative, and ambitious.
    E.g., What if... we could learn about the planet-scale evolution and climate history of Earth by probing other planets in our solar system?
  3. Refine one or both of these What if? questions into one addressed to Jim Garvin for the Q&A.

Submission of Exercises

Complete both exercises in a single document. Submit this using the form below by November 30, 2022. Make sure to include

  • "Activity 1: Workshop Preparation" as the title,
  • your name,
  • student number, and
  • program

in the submitted document.

Have fun engaging with topics in planetary science and exploration!

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