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4 mins read 27 Jul 2020

Australia Citizen Scientists encouraged to join NASA GLOBE program

The CSIRO, collaborating with the Australian Space Agency, are working with NASA to once again bring the international GLOBE education program for students, teachers and enthusiasts across the nation.

Wanting to participate in an NASA program has never been easier for Australian students, teachers and enthusiasts – with the ability to join an international science and education community science project, from the classroom or home, with the aim of helping collect and record real-time data about the Earth - data which is then used by scientists globally.

The Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program, now in its 25th year, is run by NASA a features a number of activities and investigations that participants can get involved in through contribution of data collection and learning about the scientific process. The topics of science are related to four of Earth’s spheres: the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and soil/pedosphere.

Credit: Globe.gov

NASA’s vision for the program has always been to bring together a world-wide community of students, teachers and citizen scientists to work with the scientific community to better understand, sustain and improve Earth’s environment and local, regional and global scales.

The program, which has been developed by the scientific community and then validated by teachers, was announced in 1994 by the U.S. Government and commenced operations in 1995. Since then, the program has grown to over 100 countries participating.

Whilst being sponsored through NASA, the GLOBE program is delivered across Australia through our leading science agency, CSIRO, and in collaboration with the Australian Space Agency.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said through a partnership with CSIRO, this exciting program will be reinvigorated and delivered to a cohort of GLOBE schools in Australia.

“We want to inspire the next generation and this program will help develop a future space workforce with strong STEM skills to keep the Australian economy growing,” Minister Andrews said. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he was excited to see Australia re-engage in the GLOBE program. 

“Global observations are a critical component of this program and participation from observers across Australia will help ensure we have the best data possible to help students, teachers, scientists and citizens promote science and learn about the environment,” Mr Bridenstine said.

“It also strengthens our partnership with a key international ally who will help us in our efforts to send the first woman and next man to the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis program.”

Head of the Australian Space Agency Dr Megan Clark AC said the program was an excellent opportunity to get children engaged in STEM education.

“Inspiring young Australians in space is a really important priority for the Australian Space Agency,” Dr Clark said.

CSIRO Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley said the current demand for online learning and home education made this a great time for the reintroduction and reinvigoration of the GLOBE program.

“STEM skills will be essential to Australia’s recovery and future resilience, which is why CSIRO is committed to working with partners like NASA and the Australian Space Agency to ensure Australia has a strong and vibrant STEM pipeline for the future,” Dr Foley said.

Credit: Globe.gov

As of June 2020, the GLOBE program has seen some impressive statistics through both participation and usage of the collected data, including:

  • Over 120 countries participating in the program
  • 39,650 teachers working across 37,000 schools which ran GLOBE projects
  • 180,000 GLOBE observers which collected data
  • A record-breaking cumulative total (since the program started) of 184,968,751 of data points measured and entered across the program
  • GLOBE training provided to 44,200 people

    Source: Globe Program Website – impact and metrics

Whilst the program is sponsored through NASA, it is implemented globally through government-to-government partnership agreements – which also allows the collected data to be utilised by world-wide network of scientists who can tap into the massive database resource across a range of different fields.

Getting Involved

The CSIRO is hosting a special professional learning GLOBE webinar (40 minutes long) for teachers on 4 August 2020. The free event is open to STEM or HASS educators, along with primary and secondary teachers – providing tools on how the GLOBE program can be used in the classroom or at home.

For teachers to become qualified in the GLOBE program, the requirement is to complete an online introductory module and short multiple-choice assessment for each of the Earth Spheres, along with any additional training protocols. From here, the students of GLOBE teachers can then collect and upload their findings into the international database.

The GLOBE website also has a range of membership and training opportunities to developed for teachers and educators, citizen scientists, STEM professionals and more.

Video Credit: The Globe Implementation Office.