IBEX Planetarium Project

Program Element / Activity Title:
IBEX Planetarium Project
E/PO Project Name:
Program Element / Activity Website:
Program Element / Activity Partners within NASA:
Short Description:

This project makes the IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System planetarium show available to museums, science centers, nature centers, and planetariums in the U.S.  The purpose of this project is to make IBEX science discoveries available to a large number of informal education venues.  The planetarium show is distributed through the IBEX E/PO program and distributers.

Program Element / Activity Image / Visual:
Logo for the IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System planetarium show
Program Element / Activity Status
Please list products / materials that will result / have resulted from this program element / activity:
Name: IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System planetarium show
URL: http://nasawavelength.org/resource/nw-000-000-002-810/
Status: Completed
Audience Metrics
Who is the primary audience of your program element / activity?:
Who is the secondary audience of your program element / activity?:
National Priorities and Coordination Approaches as Articulated in CoSTEM:
  • Increase and Sustain Youth and Public Engagement in STEM
What are the goals and objectives of your program element / activity?:
The primary goal of the IBEX E/PO program is to communicate the scientific goals and results of the IBEX mission to the public in various locations and formats in ways that make the science, technology, engineering and math relevant to the learner:

IBEX E/PO Goal 1: Communicate IBEX science results and mission goals to multiple audiences in multiple formats.

Objectives: Planetarium show viewers will demonstrate knowledge of IBEX-related concepts. Planetarium show viewers will demonstrate an awareness of the IBEX mission. Planetarium staff will state a positive attitude toward NASA content-based IBEX planetarium show. Planetarium staff will state an interest in receiving more planetarium shows containing cutting-edge NASA content. (See attached summative evaluation report, starting on page 6)
What is the design of the evaluation process for your program element / activity?:
Needs assessment, focus group, post-show survey questions, planetarium show staff survey. (See attached summative evaluation report, starting on page 6)
What are the main impacts of your effort to date and how do they correlate to the project's goals and objectives:
From March 2009 through August 2012 at least 90,251 U.S. visitors saw the IBEX planetarium show at 106 locations in 36 states. Planetaria are using the show with school groups (grades 3 to 12), with high school and college astronomy classes, and with the general public. Planetaria staff were asked specifically about some of the changes that had been implemented by the IBEX EPO team and their reactions to the IBEX EPO efforts, overall. Informal educators reported that the IBEX planetarium show and kits are unusually comprehensive. A summary of the results shows how much the planetarium community appreciated aspects of the EPO program that were designed around the specific needs of planetarium audiences. Survey results showed that for the planetarium staff audience, it was very important that: -The IBEX show came with no licensing fee (95% of respondents), -free printed resources like posters, lithographs and lessons were made available (76%), -hands-on activities and lessons accompanied the show (76%), -downloadable resources were available (58%), -online information and how-to videos were developed (55%), and -the show contained cutting edge science as the main topic (100%). People attending an IBEX Planetarium show were able to correctly identify what the IBEX mission is collecting (96%), how the Solar System boundary is created (86%), that the boundary is not visible (86%), that they IBEX spacecraft had been launched from an airplane (67%), and the number of stars in our Solar System (61%). People attending an IBEX planetarium show were more interested in learning more about IBEX after seeing the show (97%). 97% of the participants who saw the planetarium show reported being very interested (48%) or somewhat interested (49%) in participating in one or more of the IBEX activities. In the 2006 preliminary knowledge needs assessment, only 40% of the 90 respondents knew that the solar system has a boundary, 36% said that the boundary occurs where the Sun’s gravitational pull ends, and 44% said that the boundary is marked by the outermost object that orbits the Sun, generally Pluto. Only 18% correctly identified the number of stars in our Solar System (one), compared with 61% of those exiting the IBEX show. The results from those attending the IBEX show indicate the show had a positive effect on the commonly held conceptions. (See attached summative evaluation report, starting on page 6)
Have your evaluation findings / impacts been published? If so, where?:
A summary of some evaluation data will be published in the conference proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 2013 EPO conference.