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For Educators

Teachers Train in Planetary Science Like Astronauts


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!


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 launch facilities for both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin! 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 one-time special event with astrogeologist Dr. Kirby Runyon, and space educator Dr. Mark Wagner. Register NOW to be sure you don't miss out!


Dr. Runyon at White Sands during sunset. 

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. 

Your ticket features the complete tour, including bus transportation and meals for only $699. This is a fantastic adventure package!**

Join the crew today!


* 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 and Virgin Galactic on Friday the 27th. 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: If you require lodging, please book your own room in the discounted "Astrogeology for Educators" block at the Holiday Inn Express El Paso North. Be sure to book the night of October 26 because we start at 7 AM Friday morning. The experience will conclude by 5 PM on October 29th, but you may book that night as well if you wish to travel home on the 30th. The cutoff date for the discounted rate at the hotel is October 12, 2023. (Link provided on registration page.)

Oct 27, 7:00 AM MDT
Holiday Inn Express El Paso North
Teachers Train in Geology Like Private Astronauts!
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