On April 15, 2021, NASA Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Scientist Kenton Fisher and additional Subject Matter Experts interacted with audiences across the nation (and world) about Earth Day and observing Earth from space, focusing on astronaut photography from the International Space Station. This event was led by JSC Astromaterials, with a webinar hosted by the Infiniscope Team and involved target audiences from the following SciAct Teams: Solar System Ambassadors, Museum & Informal Educators (MIE), NASA @ My Library, Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors, Night Sky Network Amateur Astronomers, Infiniscope, Girl Scouts. The event reached ~700 live participants; ~1000 later views + additional reach (100's to 1000s more) based on participants who indicated they would be sharing the archive with others.
For this webinar, we utilized, for a second time, a new model for facilitating our webinars that included having additional Subject Matter Experts participate in the webinar to interact with our participants. This enabled our participants to be introduced to and interact with a diverse set of Mars scientists and it allowed participants to more actively engage with SMEs throughout the event. These SMEs interacted and engaged with participants by providing them with feedback to their input in the chat (to questions the speaker posed to the audience) and also enabled participants to get answers to their individual questions posed in the Q&A area during the session. At the end of the session the involved SMEs who were monitoring the chat and Q&A introduced themselves and the SMEs continued to answer live questions. In addition to the benefits to the participants, there are also benefits for our participating SMEs. This includes providing informal training (via email and Teams Meeting Chats) along with enabling early career scientists to gain first experience with engaging and interacting with virtual audiences in this type of webinar event. It also provided these SMEs with a sample/model experience they can use as they participate in (or lead) a webinar presentation in the future.