The Toolbox for Research and Exploration (TREX) is a node of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). TREX aims to develop tools and research methods for exploration of airless bodies, like the Moon and asteroids, to prepare for human missions. These rocky surfaces also are coated in fine particulate dust. In order to understand the surface characteristics and to investigate potential resources on airless bodies, the TREX team is conducting laboratory spectral measurements and other experiments (e.g., irradiation, impact shock, etc.) that will enhance the study of existing mission datasets. The TREX team is made up of multidisciplinary scientists and education and communication specialists from 12 institutions. TREX public engagement connects TREX subject matter experts to their local communities as well as national audiences through public events, camps, talks, and museum events.
Over the past year, the TREX team has leveraged the increase in broad video technology usage to conduct outreach across the country including presentations for Chabot Space and Science Center, both for volunteers and the general public, undergraduate students at Howard University and Diné College, and other outreach for science nights, clubs, and schools. Additionally, TREX scientist supported the 2020 International Observe the Moon Night first ever NASA livestream. Upcoming workshops include 1) Enhancing the Science Communication Capabilities of Disabled Writers – The Moon as a Catalyst which will be a 7-week online workshop for self-identified disabled writers to support their interest in space science and create a collaborative network of writers and scientists who will produce content for the TREX website and other media outlets, and 2) Making Space: A Workshop on Space, SciArt, & Society which will be five day workshops for scientists and artists that include science talks and art tutorials and result in science inspired art that will be highlighted on the TREX website and in other public settings. TREX scientists will continue both virtual and in-person outreach as we embark on field work with our rover.