The Meteoritical Society Endowment Fund supports a variety of activities through grants that are made twice a year. We are very pleased to announce that three grants were recently selected for funding in the summer of 2023. Thank you to the Endowment Committee for their efforts leading this opportunity. The summaries below, provided by the lead of each project, give more information about the worthwhile activities being supported through these new Endowment Fund Grants.
- Planetary and Space Science Outreach for Senior High Schools in Ghana, Lead: Marian Selorm Sapah – Creating awareness and promoting planetary and space science amongst Senior High School students in Ghana, through educational outreach.
Planetary and Space Science (PSS) studies and research is important in worldwide development. There are deep and growing benefits of research in PSS for humanity. However, PSS is generally underdeveloped in Africa, due to factors including but not limited to a lack of awareness of and interest in the field, the lack of funding and the lack of experts in the field. Even though some PSS research groups, and institutions are emerging on the continent, they remain few, scattered, and underfunded. This applies directly to Ghana, where PSS is still in its infancy. Like in many other African countries, PSS related subjects are not incorporated into formal educational curricula especially at the Basic and High school levels, as such, students grow without developing any interest in the field. To help raise awareness of, create interest in, as well as promote PSS studies in Ghana, this project will support a PSS workshop for a selected Senior High School in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. This will also be in an effort to complement the PSS content or lack thereof in Senior High School curricula in Ghana. This program will be an interactive workshop aimed to teach basic planetary science concepts which will allow students to gain understanding and knowledge of the field and its influence on our Earth, environment and our everyday livelihoods. This is expected to help raise awareness, enthusiasm and interest in the field, to promote and facilitate research and careers in the field for the good of the Ghanaian society and for development.
- Bay Area Planetary Science Conference and Development of a Field Course to Explore a Potential Impact Structure, Lead: Myriam Telus – The Bay Area Planetary Sciences (BAPS) conference will bolster collaborations and community among planetary scientists and develop a cross-institutional field course to investigate a potential impact crater in the region.
- The Bay Area Planetary Sciences (BAPS) conference was started in 2019 to bolster collaborations and community among planetary scientists in the San Francisco Bay Area (USA). The conference location rotates each year and the community works collaboratively to organize it. Previously, the conference was hosted by Stanford (2019 and 2020) and Berkeley (2022). The meetings have been a huge success with participation per meeting of approximately 100 participants, including many early career researchers (graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduate students, including from community colleagues). This year’s conference will be hosted by UC Santa Cruz on Tuesday September 19th, 2023. In order to make the meeting in Santa Cruz more accessible, these funds will be used to reserve approximately 25 hotel rooms for participants that are traveling far (> 50 miles) and especially those that are early career participants. Pre- and post-meeting mixers will be organized to facilitate community building and research collaboration. We are especially excited about using the conference to develop a cross-institutional field course to study a potential impact crater in the region.
- Workshop on Planetary Impacts During The Total Solar Eclipse, Leads: Kai Wünnemann and Miki Nakajima – This focused workshop will address planetary impact processes in Rochester NY, USA during the total solar eclipse. The range of topics include the Moon-forming impact, giant impact processes, developing community based impact codes, and crater-forming processes.
- We will host a workshop that focuses on planetary impact processes, including the Moon-forming impact as well as cratering impacts on Earth and other planetary bodies. The workshop will take place in Rochester, NY, USA on April 8-12, 2024. The primary focus is the theoretical investigation, but contributions from related fields are welcome and invited. The workshop coincides with the total solar eclipse on April 8th, which is timed to encourage participation across the world. Funds will be used to support the travel expenses of students, early career researchers, or scientists from countries with limited financial resources. In addition to research talks, we will also host open discussion sessions where we assemble working groups to write review papers to be published in Icarus and/or MAPS to discuss what our focus should be over the next 10 years. This workshop is organized by Miki Nakajima, Kai Wünnemann, Gregor Golabek, Doris Breuer. The main workshop is between April 8 and April 11 and we will host an optional field trip to Niagara Falls on April 12.
The Meteoritical Society is delighted to be able to support these worthwhile international projects that further the society’s goals to promote research and education in planetary science. The next application deadline for Endowment Fund requests is 15th January 2024. Guidelines for submitting your requests can be found on the Grants website.