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UH Manoa scientist chosen to lead millions of students on internationally broadcast expedition

Victoria Hamilton working alongside three students and a teacher to compare geology of Earth and Mars

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jennifer Walsh, (703) 276-2772
JASON Project
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Aug 17, 2005

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Hawaiʻi — Victoria Hamilton—an assistant professor at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa—will unwrap the geologic mysteries of Hawaiʻi volcanoes for JASON Project students around the world when she leads an international science expedition, filming at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Aug. 15 through Aug. 19, 2005.

Hamilton was invited to join the JASON Project‘s expedition team based on her extensive work and expertise on meteorites from Mars that have traveled through space and landed on Earth, and the Martian source regions of those meteorites.

More than one million students around the world will be examining the nature and history of Earth and Mars and Hamilton‘s work through the JASON Expedition: Mysteries of Earth and Mars interdisciplinary curriculum. As the highlight for the year, three students and one teacher will accompany Hamilton to Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaiʻi for a hands-on expedition, which will broadcast and webcast internationally Jan. 30 through Feb. 4, 2006.

"I‘m extremely excited about this expedition," said Hamilton. "All Martian meteorites include minerals that were once molten. This means that the rocks likely formed in volcanoes or in some other very hot place on Mars. By investigating locations on Earth that were once similar to Mars, such as Hawaiʻi‘s volcanoes, we can begin to learn more about the geology of both planets."

Using additional data and research gathered by NASA Mars rovers, the JASON Project expedition team will examine the similarities and differences between the volcanoes on Mars and those on Earth. Although volcanoes on Mars do not seem to be currently active, lava from past eruptions covers large parts of the Martian surface.

"Having students work with leading scientists, such as Dr. Hamilton, is the basis of JASON‘s mission to inspire in students the thrill of exploration and discovery," said Caleb M. Schutz, president of the JASON Project. "Dr. Hamilton is a role model. To many kids she is like a rock star or professional athlete. While they‘re watching the expedition and her amazing research, they will want to know, ʻHow do I get to be like her some day?‘"

"This unique program (JASON Project) gives children everywhere the tools to discover for themselves. They get to see how science unfolds in the field and maybe some day, they‘ll be the ones carrying on my work," Hamilton said.

During the school year, students across the nation will compare and contrast the environments of Earth and Mars through the JASON Project Mysteries of Earth and Mars multimedia science curriculum. Using videos, webcasts, online chats, digital labs and hands-on activities, JASON students will model the work of Hamilton and her team in the field.

In addition to the Hawaiʻi expedition, nine other students and three other teachers will film expeditions at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Meteor Crater in Arizona and Mono Lake in California that will broadcast and webcast the same week in January and February.

The JASON Project is working collaboratively with institutions such as NASA, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Education, National Geographic Society, EDS, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Arizona State University, the University of Hawaiʻi and numerous educational institutions around the world that provide access to leading scientists, ground-breaking research and top-notch technology and tools.

Visit to follow Hamilton and her expedition team of students and a teacher as she embarks on the JASON Project Mysteries of Earth and Mars adventure.

The JASON Project is a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society dedicated to providing experience-based science curricula and professional development for grades 4-8. Combining technology-rich tools, multimedia and an inquiry-based approach to learning with standards-based content, JASON inspires students and teachers to become lifelong learners in science and mathematics through active participation in real scientific expeditions around the world.

About the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) was established by the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii in 1988. SOEST brings together in a single focused ocean, earth sciences and technology group, some of the nation‘s highest quality academic departments, research institutes, federal cooperative programs, and support facilities to meet challenges in the ocean and earth sciences, including the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP). Scientists at SOEST are supported by both state and federal funds as they endeavor to understand the subtle and complex interrelations of the seas, the atmosphere, and the earth.

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