Astronomy Club Shines at International Space Science Conference


The poster for the Astronomy Club’s project, “Examining Potential for Ice Extrusions in Relationships Between Furrows and Related Terrain on Ganymede,” was developed from September to March and presented at the 46th International Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Photo courtesy of Jon Benignus.


The Astronomy Club participated in the 46th International Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) Mar. 17 and 19 at the Marriott Waterway Convention Center in The Woodlands. The 10-student research team presented its scientific findings relating to the possible existence of ice extrusions on the surface of Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons. Under the leadership of Principal Investigator and graduating senior Sierra Schuman, the team gathered amidst esteemed scientists from across the nation and around the world.

Klein is recognized as the only high school to consistently partake in the annual global event, which is supported by NASA, the Lunar Planetary Institute, and Universities Space Research Association. The Astronomy Club students had an opportunity to attend presentations on current advancements in space technology, explore symposiums on planetary discoveries, learn about impending passenger travel to Mars, and engage with geologists, astrophysicists, geochemists, astronomers, grad students, and space specialists from the world’s most renowned institutions, planetariums, and universities.

In addition to having their scientific abstract published in the LPSC journal, Astronomy Club members had the opportunity to present their research and exhibit a poster of their findings at an open session Mar. 19, featuring hundreds of posters from scientists around the world. The poster session afforded the students one-to-one conversation and topical discussion with some of the world’s most accomplished space professionals.

The Astronomy Club was established in 2003 under the faculty sponsorship of World Geography and Dual-Credit Government teacher Jon Benignus. His wife, Carol Benignus, has been instrumental to the success of the club. An astronomer herself, Carol has facilitated research projects and publications, as well as the club’s participation at annual LPSC conferences. This year, Earth Space and Aquatic Science teacher Anthony Phillip became a faculty advisor.

This year’s abstract, “Examining Potential for Ice Extrusions in Relationships Between Furrows and Related Terrain on Ganymede” can be found at It was researched, prepared, and written by seniors Sierra Schuman, Natalie Morales, and Edgar Najera; juniors Vivian Chang, Victoria Do, and Christian Sanchez; and sophomores Tanishk Gambhir, Brianna Lalinde, Aleen Mah, and Andrew Manchester. Manchester has been named Principal Investigator for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.