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International Music Grants

The NAMM Foundation Announces $675,000 in Grants to Music Education Programs Worldwide

July 6, 2017

The NAMM Foundation has announced that the organization will benefit 24 different music education programs with $675,000 in grants, an increase made possible by NAMM Foundation donors. The beneficiaries, located both domestically and abroad, provide access and instruction to a variety of different communities and demographics. While unique in instrumentation and location, each organization’s mission underscores the Foundation’s commitment to creating and supporting access to quality music education programs to inspire a life-long love of music making.

“From France to Brazil, to Canada and Great Britain and beyond, the recipients of our grants are working to create access and opportunities for all people to experience the joy of making music,” stated Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of The NAMM Foundation. “It is through the transformative work of nonprofit music service organizations that thousands of people will discover their own musical talents.”

Since its inception in 1994, The NAMM Foundation’s annual grant program has donated more than $16 million in support to domestic and international music education programs, scientific research, advocacy and public service programs related to music making. The grants are funded in part by donations from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and its 10,300 member companies worldwide.

“We are grateful to the many new and existing donors who have so generously benefitted the NAMM Foundation this past year,” continued Luehrsen. “Their generosity has helped the Foundation expand its grant making efforts to benefit numerous opportunities for people of all ages to experience the joys and benefits of making music.”

The 2017 beneficiaries of The NAMM Foundation grants are as follows:

Anafima Associação Nacional dos Fabricantes de Instrumentos Musicais e Audio LTda (ANAFIMA)

The Brazilian Musical Instruments and Audio Industry Association is led by a mission of creating more musicians. The charity was formed by the ANAFIMA to channel resources directly into creating more music makers. The NAMM Foundation funding will support its efforts to expand National Play Day in 2018 offering free lessons through a network of music stores and companies. A grant will also support promotional efforts through an expanded website and PR outreach to promote the benefits of making music and National Play Day events and music learning opportunities.

Australian Music Association

The Australian Music Association is the trade body for the music products industry, representing wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers and associated services for musical instruments, pro audio, print music, lighting and computer music products. The NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of AMA’s commitment to Recreational Music Making and the organization’s Young Warriors program. This outreach and youth development effort is organized in collaboration with regional mental health professionals and youth workers who operate rock bands and hands-on music technology learning in store fronts and community centers. Funding will also support the 2018 Make Music Day Australia.

Coalition for Music Education in Canada

The Coalition for Music Education in Canada (CMEC)’s mission is to raise the awareness and understanding of the role that music education plays in Canadian culture, and to promote the benefits that music education brings to young people. The NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of its Music Monday program, a public awareness initiative that engages thousands of music makers and the media in the opportunity to celebrate music making’s vital role in school and in life. The program has engaged national media, politicians and artists in promoting the importance of music education for all children in Canada. CMEC will also continue to advance its Youth4Music program engaging young people in their communities creating a network of youth promoting the benefits and importance of music education.

Dallas Wind Symphony

The Dallas Wind Symphony’s mission is to bring extraordinary musicians and enthusiastic audiences together to celebrate the performance, promotion, and preservation of the music and traditions of the American wind band through concerts, recordings, broadcasts, music education programs, commissions, and projects that nurture the professional development of musicians, composers, and conductors. The NAMM Foundation funding will support their School Band Education Enrichment for all Dallas Independent School District fifth grade students as an introduction to band. Funding also supports the Dallas Wind Symphony summer band camp that provides at-risk and underserved students from the Dallas Independent School District the chance to attend a unique summer band camp presented by the professional musicians of this world-class wind ensemble.

EngAge, Inc.

The EngAge mission is to empower people- intellectually, creatively and emotionally- to do what they do best for the rest of their lives. EngAGE is a national service program that is an outgrowth of NAMM-funded research on the impact of rigorous music and art making on the health and wellbeing of seniors. A first-ever NAMM Foundation grant will support “EngAGE in Music,” an expansion of ongoing EngAGE in Creativity programs, that transforms senior apartment communities into vibrant centers for teaching and learning, artistic exploration, creativity and engagement. Funding support for EngAGE in Music will offer a variety of music programs (taiko drumming, ukulele, choir and other ensemble music opportunities) for low-income seniors residing in Common Bond communities in Minneapolis, MN through a collaboration with the MacPhail Center for Music.

Guitars and Accessories Marketing Association

The Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (GAMA) is a trade association comprising guitar products manufacturers and distributors with a mission to bring together and grow the guitar community by promoting greater access to learning and playing guitar. The NAMM Foundation funding supports the training of 250-300 school music educators in the coming year through workshops that occur across the country and provides tools to start school-based guitar programs. Through the grant, this long-running program has substantially influenced what is offered in music education curriculum programs in the U.S. today.

Guitars in the Classroom

Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) trains and equips classroom teachers to integrate singing and playing guitar into children’s daily school experiences. By providing instruction, access to instruments, resource materials, and program supervision, GITC empowers educators to transform classrooms into musical environments that bring out the best in all students by engaging them in studies across the curriculum. The NAMM Foundation funding will support the “Triangle Training Approach” – workshops and teacher training to support teachers as they integrate guitar and ukulele into the elementary curriculum.

John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a non-profit 501(c)(3) state-of-the-art mobile audio and HD video recording and production facility. The NAMM Foundation funding supports a school and community residency in school year 2017-18 featuring student workshops on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a mobile recording studio that provides hands-on training in music technology. As part of the residency, The NAMM Foundation hosts a community-wide, town hall style SupportMusic Community Forum as a national webcast that celebrates the community’s commitment and support for music education for all students. A school district/community is selected based on a submission to a “What Makes Music Education Great in My District” video contest that is held each fall.

Little Kids Rock

The mission of Little Kids Rock is to restore and revitalize music education in U.S. public schools. It provides free musical instruments and music instruction to underserved schools across the country. The NAMM Foundation funding supports Little Kids Rocks’ Modern Band Rockfest 2017, its 5th annual national teacher training conference. This week-long teacher training event guides teachers and administrators in methods to develop “modern band” programs – guitar, drums, keyboard – as part of school music education offerings.

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (MHOF) expands and boosts music education in schools by providing durable, high-quality musical instruments to deserving, under-funded music programs nationwide. MHOF also helps schools advance best practices to ensure the longevity of these vital programs. The NAMM Foundation funds will assist MHOF in selecting and providing new instruments to supply two school music programs.

Music For All

Music For All/UK is the charity attached to the UK musical instrument industry. The organization serves to make more musicians. The charity will use The NAMM Foundation grant to align its Learn to Play Day in 2017 with the global Make Music Day UK music events and to expand the reach and ambition of the project. The Learn to Play Day annual event enables the public to have free lessons at UK music retail stores. The goal is to expand Learn to Play Day to a week-long event that culminates in UK-wide Make Music Day being developed with partners that include the BBC, musicians’ union and others. As part of an expanding NAMM-member-led network, Music for All will also share its community event resources with MI organizations in Brazil, Spain and Germany.

Musical Futures Australia

Musical Futures, a program created in the UK and with NAMM support, will offer training to teachers in schools. The program is designed to extend the reach of music education into the local school systems across Asia using the Musical Futures approach to teaching and learning. A grant supports the project’s immediate goals to increase access to music making through: the development of a network of schools and highly skilled teachers who can facilitate and lead music education in their local cities and communities; creating an infrastructure and means to transfer the skills and approach to local teachers and school systems; broaden the base of music making opportunities to include recreational/community music making for young students; and address the barriers and impediments that restrict access to music making across school systems.

National Piano Foundation

The mission of the National Piano Foundation is to develop educational programs, activities and materials which educate the general public, parents and students about the value, benefit and enjoyment of playing the piano; contribute to the professional well-being of the teaching community; support the music study success of piano users; and promote the productive interaction and cooperation of all segments of the music industry. The NAMM Foundation funds will support the continuance of the National Piano Foundation’s (NPF) training for piano teachers in collaboration with Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). The grant also supports a new program, Keyboards in the Classroom, and the development and piloting of a new classroom curriculum and teacher training modeled after a high-impact program in a Texas public school. This “teaching the teacher” program seeks to reach thousands of more students through group keyboard lessons and compel piano and piano lab purchases as part of music education infrastructure needs in public schools.

National String Project Consortium

The National String Project Consortium (NSPC) is a coalition of String Project sites based at colleges and universities across the United States. The NSPC is dedicated to increasing the number of children playing stringed instruments, and addressing the critical shortage of string teachers in the United States. The NAMM Foundation funding support will provide teacher training for string music educators and offer training to teach strings in inner-city and under-served communities. Funding will support the emerging programs of four existing sites at Pacific University, Kennesaw State University, Southern Mississippi University, and University of Texas at El Paso, as well as a new site at Tennessee Tech University.

Notes for Change, Inc.

Notes for Change, Inc. seeks to empower students through the experience of musical study and increasing access to music education. The organization’s goals are to promote life skills and community through musical training, and advocate for music education. The NAMM Foundation funding will expand the Ensemble Newsletter readership by distributing in formats that provide access through all means across the global Sistema. Support will also raise awareness through a social media campaign.

Orchestre a’ L’Ecole

Orchestre A L’Ecole, a non-profit music trade association in France, aims to develop the musical abilities of young people in schools in disadvantaged areas. The NAMM Foundation funding will support the continued expansion and provide instruments for students regardless of the personal financial resources of schools and students. As of September 2016, this program of youth orchestra development in France has increased to include 1,200 orchestras throughout the country and hosts national and regional festivals.

Percussion Marketing Council

The Percussion Marketing Council’s mission is to provide professional marketing and advertising campaigns, programs and activities that bring increased public awareness to drumming, thus increasing the number of people playing all types of drums. The NAMM Foundation funding supports four key PMC program areas: Drum Set in the Classroom (DSC) that offers in-school drum set workshops with a goal to create more drummers and familiarity with drum set music making; expansion of Percussion in the Schools (PIS) to include more in-school events and cultivate more professional facilitators; Drums Across America based on PMC’s successful drum lesson lab tent at select Vans Warped Tour in the summer and increase the lesson lab activities in school and community settings; and International Drum Month, an annual promotion and percussion celebration effort.

Percussive Arts Society

Percussive Arts Society (PAS) is a non-profit, music service organization. Its mission is to promote percussion education, research, performance and appreciation throughout the world. The NAMM Foundation funding supports its expansion of the Indianapolis-based Find Your Rhythm! Community Outreach program. The grant will continue its work with Indianapolis-area school districts via tours and hands-on programs at Rhythm! Discovery Center that also serve the general public with exposure to music education and percussion in its Saturday programs.

San Diego Youth Symphony

The San Diego Youth Symphony (SDYS) and Conservatory instills excellence in the musical and personal development of students through rigorous and inspiring musical-training experiences. The NAMM Foundation funding supports SDYS Community Opus after-school programs in Chula Vista, CA (CVESD). As the district builds its district-wide music education program, the Opus after-school program fill a gap of access for students who do not yet have in-school music and students who want a more advanced music ensemble experience. The NAMM Foundation support for the SDYS Community Opus in Chula Vista has been a catalyst for the re-instatement of music education in the district including the hiring of over 70 fulltime certified music and arts educators.

SongwritingWith: Soldiers

SongwritingWith: Soldiers (SW:S)’s mission is to transform lives by using collaborative songwriting to expand creativity, connections and strengths. Soldiers (SW:S) connects veterans with professional songwriters in retreat and workshop settings to craft songs about combat, the transition home and address issues of PTSD, connectedness and social isolation that can occur after military service. The program serves all branches of the military populations. Retreats are free to participants and their family/caregiver. The NAMM Foundation will support two SongwritingWith: Soldiers retreats.

The Sphinx Organization, Inc.

Founded in 1996, the Sphinx Organization is a Detroit-based national performing arts organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. The NAMM Foundation funding will support the organization’s summer academy that provides music education and a pathway to exemplary achievement in classical music for Black and Latino student musicians.

Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME)

The Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist music educators in applying technology to improve teaching and learning in music. The NAMM Foundation grant will support the TI:ME Technology Leadership Academy for pre-service music education teachers. Selected through a competitive, national application process, 20 participants who are in the final years of preparation to be music teachers, will attend the academy to be held in conjunction with the TI:ME National Conference and learn various methods for using music technology as part of standards-based music education curriculum.

VH1 Save the Music Foundation

VH1 Save the Music Foundation develops long-term, sustainable instrumental music programs in high-need public schools. In 2014, they created the KEYS + Kids Piano Grant Program to respond to the demand for high-quality piano packages for music, drama and community programs in K-12 schools. The NAMM Foundation funding will provide two targeted KEYS + Kids grants to qualifying schools in the 2017-18 school year.

Young Audiences Arts for Learning

A grant to Young Audiences (YA), a national non-profit that connects educators to community music and arts education resources, continues a collaboration with The NAMM Foundation to strengthen the capacities of music service organizations. YA will organize a series of forums and roundtables at The NAMM Show 2018 along with online resources to strengthen music making service organizations around issues of non-profit management including board governance, fund raising, promotion and program evaluation and implementation that includes alignment with national fine arts standards.

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,300 members around the world. The NAMM Foundation works to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit


Chalise Zolezzi


Director of PR and Social Media

Phone: (760) 438-8001


About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation‘s efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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The Whole World Will Be Watching

How is the sun completely blocked in an eclipse?

Image of moon covering sun in a solar eclipse

In this picture of a solar eclipse, the moon is beginning to move from in front of the sun. Credit: NASA

During a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between Earth and the sun. This completely blocks out the sun’s light. However, the moon is about 400 times smaller than the sun. How can it block all of that light?

It all has to do with the distance between Earth and the sun and Earth and the moon.

an illustration of the moon blocking the sun's light during the August 2017 eclipse

An illustration showing the Earth, moon, and sun during the August 21, 2017 eclipse. Image credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

When objects are closer to us, they appear to be bigger than objects that are far away. For example, most stars in the night sky look like tiny white dots of light. In reality, many of those stars are larger than our sun—they are just much farther away from Earth!

Even though the moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, it’s also about 400 times closer to Earth than the sun is. This means that from Earth, the moon and the sun appear to be roughly the same size in the sky.

an illustration showing that the sun and the moon appear to be the same size in the sky, but the moon is much closer to Earth than the sun is

Image credit: NASA

So, when the moon comes between Earth and the sun during a total solar eclipse, the moon appears to completely cover up the light from the sun.

However, it won’t always be this way.

Total solar eclipses won’t be around forever!

The moon’s orbit is changing. In fact, the moon’s orbit grows about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) larger every year. As the moon’s orbit takes it farther and farther away from Earth, the moon will appear smaller and smaller in our sky.

This occasionally happens now. The moon’s orbit isn’t perfectly round. That means that sometimes the moon is slightly farther away from Earth than it is at other times. Sometimes the moon is far enough away that it doesn’t create a total solar eclipse. In this case, the moon obscures most of the sun, but a thin ring of the sun remains visible around the moon.

However, once the moon’s growing orbit takes it approximately 14,600 miles (23,496 km) away from Earth, it will always be too far away to completely cover the sun. That won’t happen for a long time though. If the moon’s orbit grows only 1.5 inches every year, it will take more than 600 million years for total solar eclipses to completely disappear!

article last updated May 22, 2017

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Can Australia and the USA Get to Mars?

We can thank Jonathan Nalder founder of Future-U-Org for keeping our hopes of an international collaboration with the USA and Australia alive.
Teachers, students and librarians have all been immersing themselves in the First on Mars program over the last 2 months. In both Australia and the USA, this saw them visualising their journey from Earth to Mars, and then beginning to form a community to solve the problem of what would a Mars colony need first if its going to really thrive, not just survive.
Participants drew on their imaginations, learned by failing, completed Kan Ban planning charts and worked on the story that would be needed to explain their solution. All of these elements are drawn from the underlying framework that Future-U founder Jonathan Nalder has developed to show how all learners can future-proof themselves as the world of work and education changes rapidly due to automation and new technologies.
Participants also got to experience Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, and to test out the ‘Quiz Mars’ app developed by France’s ‘teach on Mars’ development house. You can learn more about First on Mars at, and read about the Future Literacies that provide its foundation at Finally, if you’d like to join the community discussion with experts from 13 countries – including Bob Barboza – please contact Jonathan via today. Can’t wait to have even more Kids Talk Radio and Barboza Space Centre educators join so we can in turn support their projects 🙂

Jonathan Nalder 
+61410394768 . @jnxyz
How can students and workers think beyond tomorrow to thrive today? Framework + Missions + Advice + Community
Digital Strategy | Design | Visuals | Social Media Stories | Community Building | Instructional Design | Training
Answering ‘What does best practice in Education look like right now?’

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Training for Mars

Still thinking about that #awesome #spacewalk
June 21, 2017

Astronaut Requirements

Illustration of astronaut and four spacecraft -- SpaceX Crew Dragon, Boeing CST-100 Starliner, Orion, and Space Station
During their careers, the next generation of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. spacecraft: the International Space Station, two NASA Commercial Crew Program spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.
Checklist showing astronaut requirements
What does it take to be an astronaut?
Infographic showing astronaut and statistics for the number of astronaut applicants in 1978, 2012, and 2016
In 2016, NASA received a record-breaking number of applications from people who wanted to become astronauts. One of these applicants may be one of the first explorers to travel to Mars.

Within the next few decades, humans could be leaving their footprints on the Red Planet! That’s the plan, as NASA continues to prepare to expand human exploration in the solar system. Astronauts currently work as scientists on the International Space Station — the test bed for cutting-edge research and technologies that will enable human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond the station’s low-Earth orbit. The Orion spacecraft atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will carry humans farther into space then they have gone before — beyond the moon and eventually to Mars.

NASA’s commercial partners are transporting cargo — and soon, crew — to the International Space Station. The need for crew members on these spacecraft and missions will continue. At times, NASA will put out a call for new astronauts.
A Very Brief History of Astronaut Selection

The military selected the first astronauts in 1959. They had to have flight experience in jet aircraft and a background in engineering. And they had to be shorter than 5 feet 11 inches – to fit in the Mercury spacecraft.

But, in addition to flight and engineering expertise, space exploration requires scientific knowledge and the ability to apply it. So, in 1964, NASA began searching for scientists to be astronauts. Back then, one qualification for scientist-astronauts was a doctorate in medicine, engineering, or a natural science such as physics, chemistry or biology.
So, What Does It Take to Be an Astronaut?

Astronaut requirements have changed with NASA’s goals and missions. A pilot’s license and engineering experience is still one route a person could take to becoming an astronaut, but it’s no longer the only one. Today, to be considered for an astronaut position, U.S. citizens must meet the following qualifications:

  1. A bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics.
  2. At least three years of related professional experience obtained after degree completion OR at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft.
  3. The ability to pass the NASA long-duration astronaut physical. Distant and near visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20 for each eye. The use of glasses is acceptable.

Astronaut candidates must also have skills in leadership, teamwork and communications.

NASA’s Astronaut Selection Board reviews the applications (a record-breaking 18,300 in 2016) and assesses each candidate’s qualifications. The board then invites about 120 of the most highly qualified candidates to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for interviews. Of those interviewed, about half are invited back for a second round. Once the final astronauts are selected, they must complete a two-year training period.

With NASA’s plans for the future of exploration, new astronauts will fly farther into space than ever before on lunar missions and may be the first to fly on to Mars.

Last Updated: June 21, 2017
Editor: Flint Wild

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Training for Mars on Earth

Mars on Earth: Canadian Arctic Serves as Red Planet Training Ground

Mars on Earth: Canadian Arctic Serves as Red Planet Training Ground
Canada’s Devon Island offers a training ground for future Mars expeditionary crews.

Credit: NASA/HMP/Pascal Lee

Would-be Mars explorers can get a taste of what Red Planet life would be like with a trip to the Canadian Arctic.

Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on Earth, is home to the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP),  an international, multidisciplinary field-research venture that aims to help lay the foundation for crewed missions to the Red Planet.

HMP started in 1997 and has been hosting NASA-supported research each year since then. The rocky, barren terrain of Devon Island offers many challenges, from remoteness and isolation to extreme temperatures and lack of infrastructure. [The 9 Coolest Mock Space Missions Ever]

But that cold-shoulder inhospitality is key to Devon Island’s appeal as a Mars-analogue site.

“This upcoming season is our 20th consecutive field season,” said HMP’s mission director and principal investigator, Pascal Lee of the Mars Institute, the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

“HMP is now the longest NASA-funded research project at the surface of the Earth,” Lee told

What makes Devon Island so Mars-like?

Foggy and surrealistic scenery of the Canadian Arctic's Devon Island, a Mars-like setting for science and exploration.
Foggy and surrealistic scenery of the Canadian Arctic’s Devon Island, a Mars-like setting for science and exploration.

Credit: NASA HMP

“The climate is cold — not quite as cold as Mars, but in the right direction,” Lee said. “The climate is dry — not quite as dry as Mars, but it’s in the right direction. And the terrain is unvegetated, not completely, but mostly. Not to mention the rocky, frozen ground and glaciers.”

And there’s another plus.

The island is scarred by Haughton Crater, roughly 12 miles (20 kilometers) in diameter and some 23 million years old.

The impact that created Haughton Crater “was so violent that it dug all the way down to a mile [1.6 km] into the rocks of Devon Island,” Lee said.

As a result, the once very compact rocks of Devon are now heavily shattered and colonized by microbes.

“The upshot of this,” Lee said, “is that impacts may be bad news for highly evolved creatures like dinosaurs or us … but they were a boon for microbes. Impacts brought in heat, and they created fractures and porosity in rocks to allow microbes to colonize. They were likely part of the vector for the early colonization of life on Earth.”

Lee said the initial motivation to go to Devon Island was strictly scientific, because of its Mars-like setting — an impact crater in a polar desert. Around the crater are also valley networks, canyons, gullies and ancient lake beds. In terms of their detailed morphology, those features have counterparts on Mars.

“That’s not to say that they were necessarily the same things that we were seeing on Mars. But there was a convergence of all these geologic features in one location,” Lee said. [Photos: The Search for Life on Mars]

The Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) research station will be home next year to the 20th HMP field campaign, consisting of a small international team of scientists.
The Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) research station will be home next year to the 20th HMP field campaign, consisting of a small international team of scientists.

Credit: NASA HMP

Lee said he believes that Devon Island holds important clues about early Mars. He said he’s skeptical of the classical view that the Red Planet had a warm and wet climate early in its history. Instead, Lee has proposed that while the ground was warm, early Mars had a cold climate.

“The idea of a warm ground under a cold-climate Mars is still gaining acceptance,” Lee said. “Impacts were dumping heat into the ground. Volcanism was also more active on a young Mars. Those two processes were injecting water vapor into a frigid atmosphere. The water vapor would then condense out onto the surface. There were transient ice covers here and there on Mars. Because the ground was warm, not the climate, these ice covers were melting from underneath, creating valley networks.”

Examination of Devon Island has raised the prospect for reinterpreting the Martian landscape in terms of a cold climate, ice caps, frozen lakes and other glacial features, Lee said. Mars of old was more likely quite chilly, enveloped in a cold, frigid, thin atmosphere, much as it is today, he added.

With so many Mars-like attributes, Devon Island offers the perfect backdrop to plan out a crewed trip to the Red Planet, Lee said.

Devon Island is rife with canyons, valley networks, gullies, ground ice, patterned ground, debris flows, cold-desert weathering crusts and paleo-lake deposits.

A spacesuited Devon Island explorer investigates the stark, Mars-like landscape.
A spacesuited Devon Island explorer investigates the stark, Mars-like landscape.

Credit: NASA HMP

HMP is a real field-exploration setting, Lee said. Valuable lessons learned at HMP are informing the planning and optimization of future human science and exploration activities on Mars, he said, including astrobiology and planetary-protection investigations.

“It’s a big team effort,” Lee said. The HMP Research Station, the project’s base camp, both satisfies scientific interests and serves as a pilot model for how a future Mars outpost might be designed and operated, he said.

“It’s an infrastructure that is dedicated to advancing the exploration of Mars by robotic and human means,” Lee said. “We’ve already had astronauts visit the place. We expect more will come as part of the actual training.”

HMP expeditionary teams have tested all manner of hardware: new robotic rovers, spacesuits, drills and aerial drones. There is other gear at the site, too, including the Mars-1and OkarianHumvee rovers — the HMP’s two simulated pressurized rovers for lengthy traverses into the wilderness — as well as personal all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for short treks.

“In terms of the science, I anticipate that there will be many more years of scientific work to be done on Devon Island,” Lee said. “We’re still making discoveries … we’re still learning about the site.”

Pascal Lee and his companion Ping Pong trek across Devon Island via an all-terrain vehicle.
Pascal Lee and his companion Ping Pong trek across Devon Island via an all-terrain vehicle.

Credit: NASA HMP

Lee and a small group of other scientists from around the world are now busy plotting out the 20th HMP field campaign, which is scheduled to occur in mid-2016.

And as future human-to-Mars activities gather steam, Lee said that the experiences gleaned from Devon Island will be invaluable.

“The way I envision it, Devon Island will eventually become a training site for astronauts bound for Mars,” he said. “It will become one of the imperative stops, if not the final stop, in your preparation for the Red Planet.”

Lee said, with a smile, that the first words pronounced on the surface of Mars might be: “Wow! This looks just like Devon.”

Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and is co-author of Buzz Aldrin’s 2013 book “Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration,” published by National Geographic with a new updated paperback version released in May 2015. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on

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50 Best Computer Schools in the World thought that you’d be interested in this article from Business Insider:

The 50 best computer science schools in the world
A computer science degree from a top university…

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International Youth Mar’s Art Contest

Mars Society to Hold International Student Mars Art Contest
Keep Those Wonderful Submissions Coming  (May 31st Deadline)
The Mars Society is sponsoring a Student Mars Art (SMArt) Contest, inviting youth from around the world to depict the human future on the planet Mars. Young artists from grades 4 through 12 are invited to submit up to three works of art each, illustrating any part of the human future on the Red Planet, including the first landing, human field exploration, operations at an early Mars base, the building of the first Martian cities, terraforming the Red Planet and other related human settlement concepts.

The SMArt Contest will be divided into three categories: Upper Elementary (grades 4-6), Junior High (grades 7-9), and High School (Grades 10-12). Cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250, as well as trophies, will be given out to the first, second and third place winners of each section. There will also be certificates of honorable mention for those artists who don’t finish in the top three, but whose work is nevertheless judged to be particularly meritorious.

The winning works of art will be posted on the Mars Society web site and may also be published as part of a special book about Mars art. In addition, winners will be invited to come to the 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention at the University of California, Irvine September 7-10, 2017 to display and talk about their art.

Mars art will consist of still images, which may be composed by traditional methods, such as pencil, charcoal, watercolors or paint, or by computerized means. Works of art must be submitted via a special online form ( in either PDF or JPEG format with a 10 MB limit per image. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2017, 5:00 pm MST. By submitting art to the contest, participating students grant the Mars Society non-exclusive rights to publish the images on its web site or in Kindle paper book form.

Speaking about the SMArt Contest, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, “The imagination of youth looks to the future. By holding the SMArt Contest, we are inviting young people from all over the world to use art to make visible the things they can see with their minds that the rest of us have yet to see with our own eyes. Show us the future, kids. From imagination comes reality. If we can see it, we can make it.”

All questions about the Mars Society’s SMArt Contest can be submitted to: