Space Rocks & Science Talks

 It was off to space and beyond, virtually, for Carmel High School science students, thanks to a recent in-class opportunity to hear from guest speaker David Burney, Ph.D., who studied Planetary Science at the University of Notre Dame.

Mars: How do we study it?

Burney, a former colleague of high school science teacher Cailey Burnett, spoke to a mixture of freshman Earth Science students, as well as sophomore and junior Astronomy students, about his research work. It covers a range of interesting topics from volcanoes to moon rocks, which all interconnect.

Burney’s discussion on his work studying lunar rock and glass samples that were brought back to Earth from Apollo space missions more than 50 years ago, really piqued the interest of many students.

“I loved the part of the presentation about grinding up space rocks,” reflected student Gianna Hererra. “I think that would be something that’s hard to do after the long trip those rocks have made to come back down to us on Earth.”

The students were equally impressed with Burney’s new role with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California: studying Martian meteorite samples to help determine the source of water on Mars!

“Dr. Burney talking about the future of space and making the moon into something like a gas station was wild,” said student Lila Perez. “I would never have thought about anything like that. I hope it happens in my lifetime!"

Having the opportunity to speak directly with working scientists in the field can make a positive lasting impact on students and their continued interest in the topic.

“I really enjoyed that Dr. Burney stayed after the call to take questions,” said student Jahvone Roberts. “I had a bunch of questions that I’ve tried searching on Google before that never make sense, but he explained it so that I could understand."

“We're so grateful that Dr. Burney took the time to virtually visit our science classrooms to discuss his research experience,” remarked Burnett. “His presentation was engaging and gave the students an idea of just how many different career paths could connect them to the scientific community.”

"The future of space exploration rests in the hands of this next generation!”