Planetary Science Institute Opens New Tucson Conference Center


The Planetary Science Institute will dedicate a third Tucson facility March 4 to accommodate the continued growth of the organization.

The new 3,700 square-foot PSI Conference Center includes offices for scientists and education/public outreach staff as well as a large conference room for meetings and workshops.

"We were bursting at the seams and needed more room," said PSI CEO and Director Mark Sykes. "We needed office space for more scientists joining PSI as well as to accommodate the growing number of teachers wanting to take part in our educational workshops."

PSI's teacher professional development workshops -- Project WISER (Workshops in Science Education and Resources: Planetary Perspectives) -- have been very popular with teachers from local school districts, said PSI Education Support Specialist Thea Canizo.

"From their evaluations of our program we know that participants recognize the value of their interactions with PSI scientists and the in-depth information about Earth and space science that they receive," she said. "There are more teachers who want to participate in our workshops than we have space to accommodate. We have waiting lists of people who want to attend, but aren't able to. With the new conference room we'll be able to greatly expand the program. More teachers translates to more students interested in science and STEM careers."

PSI growth continues to be strong, with seven new scientists joining in 2012 and revenue increasing 14 percent, Sykes said.

During the ceremony, plans for additional growth will be unveiled that will include new space for an Atsa Suborbital Observatory training facility for future operator astronauts. PSI's Atsa project will see observations taken by a human-tended instrument carried aboard a commercial XCOR Lynx spacecraft.

Contact fischer@psi.edu for information on the March 4 ribbon cutting ceremony.

Contacts:
Alan Fischer
PIO, Planetary Science Institute
+1 520-382-0411, +1 520-622-6300
fischer@psi.edu

Mark V. Sykes
Director, Planetary Science Institute
+1 520-622-6300
sykes@psi.edu

The Planetary Science Institute is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to solar system exploration. It is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, where it was founded in 1972. PSI scientists are involved in numerous NASA and international missions, the study of Mars and other planets, the Moon, asteroids, comets, interplanetary dust, impact physics, the origin of the solar system, extra-solar planet formation, dynamics, the rise of life, and other areas of research. They conduct fieldwork in North America, Australia and Africa. They also are actively involved in science education and public outreach through school programs, children's books, popular science books and art. PSI scientists are based in 18 states and the District of Columbia, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Latvia, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

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