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2010 Annual Science Report

VPL at University of Washington Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

EPO Activity: Night Sky Network Astrobiology Outreach Toolkit

Project Progress

The Night Sky Network is comprised of over 350 amateur astronomy clubs
around the United States that engage students and the public with hands-on
astronomy activities. An astrobiology “Outreach ToolKit” is being created
to assist amateur astronomy clubs in conducting outreach and education
events related to the search for life in our galaxy. The kit will contain
easy-to-use activities that explain science and technology concepts related
to astrobiology in engaging ways, and enriched with real-life examples from
NASA astrobiology-related missions and science programs. The Astronomical
Society of the Pacific (ASP) is currently testing and refining the ToolKit
materials. Amateurs from across the country convened in northern California
in August 2010 to rigorously analyze the components of the ToolKit, offering
ideas and suggestions for improvement.

The kit is designed to be used in a variety of settings, including the
classroom, youth group meetings, and community college events, as well as
outside under the stars. Astronomy clubs will further test these activities
and demonstrations in select communities nationwide during spring 2011.
Final ToolKits will be distributed to all qualified member astronomy clubs
in the summer of 2011.