The Astrobiology Student Intern Program is a partnership between Lassen Volcanic National Park, Red Bluff High School, and NASA Ames Research Center scientists. The overall goal of the program is to improve science literacy and increase interest in space science and STEM disciplines.
Each school year, a select group of junior and senior students from Red Bluff High School Students work with NASA scientists to perform inquiry-based research in both classroom and field settings. Through lab and field work, they aim to understand how volcanic and hydrothermal processes affect microbe communities in the park. These microbes, which thrive in extreme environments, may help scientists learn more about life on early Earth or Mars.
The course emphasizes hands-on experiments and encourages students to think critically and solve problems. The content of the course integrates multiple disciplinary core concepts, including Earth Materials and Systems in the Earth and Space Sciences, Chemical Reactions in the Physical Sciences, and Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems found in the Life Sciences. This skill-based approach allowed for a genuine NGSS experience that also emphasized student collaboration through teamwork both during fieldwork and in the laboratory.