Astrobiology Field Trip

Teachers – Join us on an Astrobiology Field Trip to Rotorua from 17 to 19 April 2023.
Are you interested in learning more about astrobiology, the study of life in the universe? Do you want to explore some of the most amazing geothermal features and ecosystems in New Zealand? Do you want to network with other teachers and experts in the fields of space sciences?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we have an exciting opportunity for you!

We invite you to join us on an astrobiology field trip to Rotorua from 17-19 April.

NASA Spaceward New Zealand 2015 – Professor Kathy Campbell and teachers. Astrobiology field trip Waimangu Volcanic Valley, photo Hari Mogoșanu

This field trip will give you a chance to:

  • Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Orakei Korako, and Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park, where you will see hot springs, mud pools, acidic and alkaline pools, and other volcanic features that resemble those found on other planets (locations may vary depending on weather and conditions).
  • Learn about the origin and evolution of life on Earth and how it relates to the search for life elsewhere in the solar system and beyond.
  • Conduct experiments and activities demonstrating how astrobiologists use different techniques to detect signs of life in extreme environments.
  • Meet and interact with researchers who are working on cutting-edge astrobiology projects such as Mars analog research, extremophile microbiology, planetary protection, exoplanet detection, and more.
  • Enjoy Rotorua’s natural beauty and cultural diversity, including its lakes, forests, parks, museums, markets, spas, and restaurants.

Some of the subjects we will discuss

  1. Look at life’s origins back to the Big Bang, the cycles of stars, and the evolution of solar systems. 
  2. Look at how we know what we know.
  3. Review the Solar System as revealed by robotic exploration over the past three decades.
  4. Describe our planetary neighbours and discuss similarities and differences with Earth. 
  5. Assess the potential for extinct or extant life in the Solar System, and how to search for it.
  6. Discuss the future of life on Earth and in the cosmos, including ethical and societal implications.
  7. Understand the multidisciplinary nature of the Planetary Sciences and Astrobiology and how to use astrobiology for science lesson plans with your students.


Day 1 – Lectures at Te Takinga Marae in Rotorua

Your instructors: Haritina Mogosanu, Samuel Leske, Prof Kathy Campbell – New Zealand Astrobiology Network and Laura Ward

Day 2 – Field Trip

Day 3 – Field Trip

This field trip is open to all teachers who are teaching or planning to teach any space-related topics at any level. It is also suitable for teachers who want to integrate cross-curricular themes such as sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change into their STEM curriculum.

What’s included

The cost is $795 per person, including access to all sites and food.

You can also come for one day, which costs $350/day or $625 for any two days.


If Field-Based STEM is your PLD provider, please contact us and you might be able to get this for free (conditions apply).

Book here or send an enquiry

Other considerations

You will need to organise your own transport and accommodation, some carpooling will be available.

Spaces are limited so don’t miss this chance to join us on this amazing field trip.