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  • UW professor part of team researching earthquakes in Japan | Q13 FOX News
    Thursday, February 28, 2019
    Harold Tobin, director of Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and a UW professor of Earth and space sciences, just came back from a two-month research trip primarily on board a boat off the coast of southern Japan. The team consisted of 170 members, and 25 members of the team are scientists. Read More
  • Rattlesnake Ridge landslide slows as close monitoring continues | The Yakima Herald
    Monday, February 25, 2019
    The Rattlesnake Ridge landslide has slowed its descent down the ridge's western slope from a peak speed of 1.6 feet per week in the early months of last year to 0.7 foot per week, according to a geological report released earlier this month. Stephen Malone, professor emeritus of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • 14 percent chance of megaquake hitting Seattle, experts say | KOMO
    Monday, February 25, 2019
    There's a 14 percent chance of a magnitude 9 Cascadia earthquake hitting Seattle in the next 50 years, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates. Alison Duvall, principal investigator with the UW's M9 project and assistant professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • An ominous (?) lull in earthquake activity
    Friday, February 22, 2019
    The last decade seems to be a lull in earthquake activity in the Pacific Northwest according to an opinion piece published in Seismological Research Letters by Research Professor Emeritus Steve Malone. In interviews on NPR radio and KGW8 TV both Harold Tobin (current Director of the PNSN) and Steve Malone (retired director) emphasize that this observation is little more than a curiosity and not an indication of likely lower or higher earthquake rates in the future.
    KGW8: Read More
  • Pacific Northwest in an earthquake lull, according to new study | KING 5
    Thursday, February 21, 2019
    A new study out just this week suggests the Pacific Northwest may actually be in the middle of an earthquake "break" of sorts. Stephen Malone, professor emeritus of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • Students: Design a drone/robot combo for a virtual moon landing, and win a free trip to NASA | The Seattle Times
    Monday, February 11, 2019
    A national competition sponsored by NASA and run by a University of Washington educational consortium is aimed at inspiring students to think about science, space travel and the history of America's journeys to the moon. Robert Winglee, director of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline and a UW professor of Earth and space sciences, is quoted. Read More
  • The real Seattle Freeze: 'Cruisin' the Fossil Coastline' explores the compelling topography of the Puget Sound landscape | The Seattle Times
    Thursday, January 31, 2019
    Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll's new book "Cruisin' the Fossil Coastline" dives into the geological history of the Seattle area's landscape. David Montgomery, professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is featured. Read More
  • Kids get a chance to re-enact Apollo 11 moon landing with robots | GeekWire
    Thursday, January 31, 2019
    Fifty years after the first Apollo moon landing, students from across the country will get a chance to re-enact the feat with drones and robots, thanks to an educational challenge orchestrated by NASA and the UW's Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline. Robert Winglee, director of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline and a UW professor of Earth and space sciences, is quoted. Read More
  • UW-based group launches national challenge to recreate first moon landing -- with drones and Lego robots
    Wednesday, January 30, 2019
    robot with lunar lander

    A Lego Mindstorms robot, with a plastic astronaut strapped to the front, approaches the lunar lander. Student teams will program the robot to explore the moon’s surface.Dennis Wise/University of Washington

    On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission landed the first two people on the surface of the moon. NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first steps and famously proclaimed: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

    This July will mark the 50th anniversary of that landmark event. The University of Washington’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline is calling on the next generation of astronauts and aeronautical engineers to recreate the historic event using modern technology.

    blue drone dangling orange object

    A flying drone carries a lunar lander above a map of the moon’s surface. The landing spot is the actual site of the Apollo 11 landing. Other craters that teams will explore are circled in red.Dennis Wise/University of Washington

    At a kickoff event Jan. 30 in Kent, Washington, the organizers will officially open the Apollo 50 Next Giant Leap Student Challenge, known for short as the ANGLeS Challenge, in collaboration with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

    “This is a truly interdisciplinary challenge, involving computer programming, robotics, remote sensing and design,” said Robert Winglee, director of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline and a UW professor of Earth and space sciences. “We’re calling it the ‘next giant leap.'”

    Teams of students from fifth to 12th grades are invited to participate. Each team will build a replica of the lunar lander and use a remote-controlled drone to land it on an 8-by-12-foot map of the moon’s surface. Students will modify and program a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot to then explore the lunar surface and bring back a rock sample.

    High school students will also use the drone to retrieve the team’s lunar module and bring it back to the starting line.

    As in a real-life expedition, teams will also create a mission patch, design uniforms, do event outreach and leave a “culturally significant artifact” on the lunar surface.

    Organizers emphasize that it’s a challenge, not a contest. Teams will be judged on multiple criteria and can earn various prizes. No experience is required; registration opens Feb. 1.

    Students with robots and rocks in foreground

    These University of Washington students demonstrate the challenge involving a lunar lander (left, orange) a Lego Mindstorms robot (center) and rock samples (right).Dennis Wise/University of Washington

    The challenge has no entry fee. A $500 kit contains subsidized equipment including the drone and Lego Mindstorms parts, and loaner equipment will be available to schools that qualify. Accommodation at the UW campus will be covered for teams at schools with more than 50 percent subsidized lunches. The organizers will also help all teams with fundraising, and can provide drone and robotics training on request.

    “An important aspect of the project is to provide access to NASA science and technology for many of the underserved and underrepresented communities across the U.S.,” Winglee said.

    The ANGLeS Challenge website

    UW News: “NASA-funded consortium to support science education in Washington, Oregon and Montana” - Feb. 2016

    UW News: “Native American youth launch high-altitude balloons for unique perspective on solar eclipse” - Aug. 2017

    Teams must include one adult to act as the coach, and a five-member “flight crew” all under the age of 18 who will be on the challenge field to pilot the drone, operate the robot, identify rock samples and guide the pilot. Other members of the mixed-grade teams will help with building equipment, designing logos and other off-the-field tasks.

    The Northwest challenge will be held in July in Seattle and is open to teams from schools or recognized informal education programs in Washington. Twelve other NASA regional hubs will also host events the week of July 15-20. The winning team from each location will win a trip in early August to visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

    The initial sponsors of the national challenge are drone maker Force1, NASA, the Museum of Flight, Pacific Science Center and the City of Kent. Organizers are seeking more event sponsors, and volunteers to help advise teams and host the challenges.

    The UW-based Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline consortium was created in 2016 with a $10 million cooperative agreement that established a “NASA hub” in the Pacific Northwest. The group conducts teacher trainings, especially in underrepresented communities; its past events include a NASA Pow Wow in Ellensburg and a NASA Fiesta in Seattle.

    “Smaller-scale, related STEM efforts in recent years have shown that student participants have increasing interest and skill in doing STEM activities,” Winglee said. “The Apollo effort seeks to expand this effort on a national scale.”


    More information is at The challenge email is


    Members of the media can contact communications officer Chris Wallish at 206-221-7743 or

    Read More
  • Soil health: The next agricultural revolution | EcoWatch
    Monday, January 14, 2019
    "By adopting three practices -- no-till farming, cover crops and diverse crop rotations -- farmers worldwide can help preserve the world's soils, feed a growing global population, mitigate climate change and protect the environment," writes Ken Roseboro for EcoWatch. David Montgomery, professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More