Ice and Stone 2020 is a weekly series of educational material focusing on some of the small bodies of the solar system – comets and asteroids. The Earthrise Institute, a non-profit educational organization founded by Comet Hale-Bopp co-discoverer Alan Hale, is partnering with the La Cumbres Observatory and RocketSTEM to release the material for FREE online so that all teachers, students and parents worldwide have access to it.

“2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp, and also marks the 50th anniversary of my first comet observation, which I made when I was still in Elementary School,” notes Hale. “Given that, together with the resurgence in interest in these ‘small bodies’ over the past couple of decades and the various spacecraft missions that have examined them, it seems especially appropriate to have a program of this nature at this time.”

Comets and asteroids are of high interest for a variety of reasons. They are “leftovers” from the formation of the planets, and thus they can provide valuable clues into our own origins. We have also learned that this process of forming the planets is not over and that comets and asteroids have played sometimes unwelcome roles in Earth’s natural history – and could do so again if we are unprepared for that. At the same time, they contain valuable resources that we can utilize both here on Earth and in space, and thus are in a position to play critical roles in the future development of our human society.

Comets and asteroids are more than just objects of scientific study, however. Comets, in particular, have long held a particular fascination in the human psyche, and both comets and asteroids continue to show up in our stories, our art, and our music. At the same time, the potential extraction of resources from these bodies not only involves the development of the necessary engineering and technology but also the examination of various economic and legal issues.

Ice and Stone 2020 will examine all these and other facets of these small worlds of the solar system via presentations on various topics, historical recaps, and projections of projected future events, all of which will be available on-line and unveiled on a weekly basis. When appropriate, it will incorporate observations of comets and asteroids that might be visible in the sky – including those that might be passing by Earth – and along these lines, The Earthrise Institute is collaborating with the Las Cumbres Observatory, a worldwide network of automated telescopes based at some of the top astronomical observatory sites on our planet.

Each week throughout 2020, new content will be posted on RocketSTEM and at the Earthrise Institute’s web site.

A companion glossary of many of the terms used throughout the content is available by clicking on the following button.

Companion Glossary


PLEASE NOTE: There is a signup form at the bottom of this page to be notified via a weekly email of newly posted content.

Week 42 Content (October 11-17, 2020):

Week 41 Content (October 4-10, 2020):

Week 40 Content (Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2020):

Week 39 Content (September 20-26, 2020):

Week 38 Content (September 13-19, 2020):

Week 37 Content (September 6-12, 2020):

Week 36 Content (Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2020):

Week 35 Content (August 23-29, 2020):

Week 34 Content (August 16-22, 2020):

Week 33 Content (August 9-15, 2020):

Week 32 Content (August 2-8, 2020):

Week 31 Content (July 26-August 1, 2020):

Week 30 Content (July 19-25, 2020):

Week 29 Content (July 12-18, 2020):

Week 28 Content (July 5-11, 2020):

Week 27 Content (June 28-July 4, 2020):

Week 26 Content (June 21-27, 2020):

Week 25 Content (June 14-20, 2020):

Week 24 Content (June 7-13, 2020):

Week 23 Content (May 31-June 6, 2020):

Week 22 Content (May 24-30, 2020):

Week 21 Content (May 17-23, 2020):

Week 20 Content (May 10-16, 2020):

Week 19 Content (May 3-9, 2020):

Week 18 Content (April 26-May 2, 2020):

Week 17 Content (April 19-25, 2020):

Week 16 Content (April 12-18, 2020):

Week 15 Content (April 5-11, 2020):

Week 14 Content (March 29-April 4, 2020):

Week 13 Content (March 22-28, 2020):

Week 12 Content (March 15-21, 2020):

Week 11 Content (March 8-14, 2020):

Week 10 Content (March 1-7, 2020):

Week 09 Content (February 23-29, 2020):

Week 08 Content (February 16-22, 2020):

Week 07 Content (February 9-15, 2020):

Week 06 Content (February 2-8, 2020):

Week 05 Content (January 26-February 1, 2020):

Week 04 Content (January 19-25, 2020):

Week 03 Content (January 12-18, 2020):

Week 02 Content (January 5-11, 2020):

Week 01 Content (January 1-4, 2020):

Stay informed about new content posted each week

You can sign up to receive an email once a week to notify you of the posting of new Ice and Stone 2020 content, as well as other recent articles that have been posted to the RocketSTEM website.

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Subject (optional)

    Your Message (optional)

    Capcha Text