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For Educators


Teachers Train in Planetary Science Like Astronauts

NEW: Optional CEU Available!

Today’s second graders will graduate into a world where we have a permanent presence on the Moon, people have landed on Mars, and humanity is multi-planetary.
Students need you to prepare them now!

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Educators visit Spaceport America, sand dunes, lava flows, caves, and more on this three-day astrogeology adventure!

Imagine having the confidence… to talk to your students about what private astronauts see when they launch -  and about what future explorers might encounter on the Moon, or Mars, or elsewhere in the solar system. Whatever grade level or subject area you teach, imagine knowing YOU were trained not only by a space geologist, but that you’d also visited those places yourself - or as close as you could here on Earth.


This Astrogeology Experience for Educators is designed to give you just that confidence. Led by Dr. Kirby Runyon, a planetary geomorphologist who trains commercial astronauts, and Dr. Mark Wagner, a former classroom teacher and career education technologist who focuses on space education… this course makes their expertise accessible to you - and your students. It also provides an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime travel experience for educators and enthusiasts alike!

Visit White Sands National Park, the Valley of Fires at the Carrizozo Lava Flow, and the Aden Volcanic Crater, where you’ll learn about geological features representative of otherworldly landscapes throughout the solar system. 


Experience the STEM Education tour at Spaceport America, and visit the Virgin Galactic launch facility! To your students, you’ll be an expert in commercial space flight!*


All of this includes discussion prompts, activities, and design challenges you can take back to share with your students, and drive them to aim higher with their own projects. You’ll be preparing them for the growing space economy, and for humanity’s rapidly approaching multiplanet future. 

Space is limited for this special experience. Take 5 minutes right now to watch the overview video and register today.

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Kilbourne Hole is a maar volcanic crater, located 30 miles west of the Franklin Mountains of El Paso, Texas.


Astrogeology is the study of rocky worlds in the solar system, such as the asteroids, the planets, and their moons. Research in this field helps scientists to better understand the nature of Earth - and the universe.


Explore the rocky landscapes of the Moon, Mars, and other solar system locations... right in your terrestrial backyard... New Mexico! 


  • White Sands National Park is the most space-visible landform over the American southwest. It is also an analog to the massive sand dune fields on Mars, Venus, Saturn’s moon Titan, and even Pluto. 

  • Valley of Fires Recreation Area at the Carrizozo Lava Flow is easily visible to private astronauts. This is also the 2nd-youngest lava flow in the continental US at “only” 5,200 years old. Run your finger on the ropy pahoehoe lava, explore lava tubes and deep fissures. Feel like you’re visiting the ancient volcanoes on the Moon, Mars, and even the giant asteroid Vesta. 

  • Kilbourne Hole Volcanic Maar Crater is where lava flashed groundwater to steam. Hunt for green olivine mantle xenoliths—literally alien rocks!


Visit Spaceport America, where private astronauts depart Earth with Virgin Galactic. Be inspired to adapt your experience to classroom activities simulating Apollo and Artemis moonwalks by astronauts. And… have more fun than your peers in teacher continuing education. This is much better than another online course!* 

This is a special event with astrogeologist Dr. Kirby Runyon, and space educator Dr. Mark Wagner. Register now to be sure you don't miss out!

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White Sands during sunset looks like a Martian landscape. 

Dr. Kirby Runyon is a planetary geologist with the NASA-funded Planetary Science Institute and is also an entrepreneur with his company, Dr. Runyon is also a zero gravity coach contracting with the Zero Gravity Corporation and has trained ticket-holding Virgin Galactic private astronauts in the geology they will see from space over New Mexico. Planex entertains, educates, and inspires tourists and the space-curious with astrogeology training and planetary-themed Zero Gravity flights. Reach him at


Dr. Mark Wagner is a former classroom teacher, career education technologist, and published space educator. Dr. Wagner is CEO and co-founder of ARES Learning, President of the Space Prize Foundation, and co-host of the Space Education Summit. He holds graduate certificates in space education and space philosophy, and is the author of both Space Education: Preparing Students for Humanity's Multi-Planet Future (2022) and More Now: A Message From The Future for The Educators of Today (2018). He can be reached at

Instructional materials are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) across grade levels, with clear connections to common core standards in other disciplines, including language arts.

An optional Continuing Education Unit (CEU) now available!** 

Your ticket features the complete three-day tour, including bus transportation, snacks, and drinks for only $999. This is a fantastic adventure package!***

Join the crew today!

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The STEM Tour of Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic are highlights of the experience.


"I had a great time getting to see real and applicable science outside of the classroom.  It’s one thing to read about geologic phenomenon in a textbook and something completely different to experience it in the field with the guidance of professional scientists.  Not only that, but the in-depth discussions based on real-world problems helps to create goal posts we can use in our individual classrooms to ensure we are instilling a sense of wonder and discovery in our students."


"This was a once in a lifetime experience for me.  At each place we explored, Mark and Kirby illuminated our understanding and widened our knowledge of land features and the  connection they have with various planets. The travel to and from our destinations did not disappoint either. The topics and questions posed provided deep discussions that presented a variety of viewpoints, which were validated and respected. I recommend this adventure to anyone interested in our world and our solar system."



Through a new collaboration with Limitless Space Institute this experience now include an exploration of exoplanet geology as well. We'll discuss specific worlds that have been detected orbiting neighboring stars... that also likely include features like lava flows, sand dunes, and impact craters. In addition, participants leave with lessons and activities they can use to introduce students to the scientific concepts behind advanced power and propulsion... that might one day take humanity to other star systems!


Still not sure the Earth and Space Experience is for you? Check out the informational webinar hosted by Dr. Kirby Runyon and Dr. Mark Wagner, featuring testimonials, partners, and sample content from the field! 

Oct 25, 2024, 7:00 AM MDT
Best Western El Paso Airport Entrada
Teachers Train in Geology Like Private Astronauts!

* NOTE: Final agenda subject to change based on evolving mission schedules, road conditions, weather, and other unavoidable factors. Agenda will be optimized for current conditions to provide the best experience possible when the dates arrive. Currently we have a STEM education tour of Spaceport America on Friday. Saturday we expect to visit the Space History Museum, Carrizozo lava flow, and White Sands National Park. Sunday plans include Kilbourne Hole Maar Crater and Aden Volcanic Crater. Register now to ensure your participation in the adventure!

**NOTE: Continuing Education Units require completion of a capstone project and payment of an additional university fee ($150).

*** NOTE: If you require lodging, please book your own room in the discounted "Astrogeology for Educators" block at the Best Western El Paso Airport Entrada Hotel. Be sure to book Thursday night because we start at 7 AM Friday morning. The experience will conclude by 5 PM on Sunday, but you should book that night as well if you wish to travel home on Monday. Be sure to book your room right away to ensure you make it into our discounted block. Call the hotel directly at (915) 772-3650 to get a special rate for the "Astrogeology for Educators" group.


This event produced in partnership with the Educational Technology and Life Corporation.

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