The primary focus of the ESSE program has been on undergraduate courses. While ESSE will continue to operate at the undergraduate level, it will also find new audiences. Some partners have already adapted material for different educational levels. For example, the Exemplary Learning Module section has a module on Polar Remote Sensing with an adaptation for K-12 teachers and a module on Earth Systems and Pollution for graduate students, with lesson plans for undergraduate application. More work is also needed in engaging communities and the general public in scientific understanding that may include policy-relevant information.
Space science is very important for Earth system science education. The technology for observing Earth from space is an integral part of Earth system science education. The near-Earth environment has an impact on humans through “space weather” that can disrupt radio, television and radar communications and can potentially harm astronauts and satellites. Understanding the sun is an essential part of Earth system science. There are increasing overlaps between Earth science and planetary science in general, as shown in discussions about water on Mars and windstorms on Jupiter. A module in the Exemplary Learning Module secion has a focus on Earth and Space Science.
The primary focus of the ESSE program has been on colleges and universities in the United States. ESSE has some international collaborators and will strengthen its international partnerships to address global issues of sustainability.