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ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration hosts open house

The goal of the open house was to promote public outreach and engage with the community

open house done big telescope.jpg

"The School of Earth and Space Exploration is having an open house." Illustration published on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. 

The ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) is hosting a series of open houses in an effort to reach out to the community.

Attendees can learn about research and missions being conducted at ASU, view 3D tours of known space and participate in hands-on activities, like viewing celestial objects through telescopes with the ASU Astronomy Club

“What we do here at SESE is not only research," Rhonda Holton, a graduate student studying astrophysics and director of the Earth and Space Open House events, said. "We have a mission and drive to share what we do with our community."

Earth and Space Open House events are organized and staffed by graduate students. 

“It’s important for graduate students to learn outreach, whether they’re aiming to become faculty or want to work in industry," Holton said. "Reaching out to the public is something I don’t think science has done a good enough job of in recent years." 

The theme and schedule of each open house varies. The open house on Oct. 13 was called "The Active Earth." It focused on the changes Earth undergoes due to natural occurrences and human activity. 

“A geologist’s job is amazing. It’s so fun and enriching,” Kelin Whipple, a professor at SESE, said at the open house on Oct. 13. 

He spoke about the impact water has on landscapes, including how the Grand Canyon formed. 

“We believe it formed about six million years ago. That’s like yesterday for geologists,” Whipple said. “The Earth is about four billion years old.”

Holton said she was excited to have Whipple and Arjun Heimsath, a professor at SESE, speak at the open house, because it was the first time an open house focused on the geology research conducted at ASU. 

“A lot of the problems we face as a society are linked to earth science," Heimsath said. "It’s vital that we reach out to inform the community and voters."

Heimsath was one of the keynote speakers on Oct. 13. He focused on changes the Earth undergoes due to human activity. 

“Government doesn’t always pay attention to science,” Heimsath said.

Heimsath said the current administration is defunding important research, like that aimed at studying climate change. He also said it is important for scientists like himself to inform the public about scientific discoveries because they help the public make sound decisions as voters.

Earth and Space Open House events are family friendly. The events are intended to be a fun way to educate and interact with the community. 

SESE is scheduled to host a larger event, similar to the open house on Nov. 18. It's called "Earth and Space Exploration Day", and will involve every department of SESE. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @sonic_429 on Twitter. 

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