University Researchers Develop Zero-G Expresso Technology

The Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State University (PSU) today announced another advance in the development of micro-gravity drinking cups. The new design makes possible the enjoyment of espresso and other drinks in the low-gravity environments of spacecraft. It is the second such innovation to be announced by PSU, following the zero-gravity coffee cup unveiled last summer. Without the pull of gravity, fluids behave very differently than on earth. Instead of 'pouring,' a liquid retains a more globular shape held together by its own surface tension. This phenomenon complicates even the most basic of maneuvers such as drinking a cup of coffee.

Crowdfunding Opportunity: DreamUp

DreamUp, powered by NanoRacks, is a nonprofit organization now providing a place for student project teams to raise required funds to fly a science experiment to the International Space Station (ISS). The goal of DreamUp is to help students integrate into the commercial space community by delivering their experiments via NanoRacks to the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the ISS. "Whether you are a large company or a high school student, space is complexand although it isn't quite as expensive as in the past, it's still outside of the average student budget" says DreamUp Director Patricia Mayes. "Our platforms give access to the frontlines of space research and we see all of our educational payloads as a contribution to the space industry. We are thrilled to see NASA and the ISS Program Office supporting commercial and student research on Station."

NASA Announces Micro-g Experiment Design Teams

NASA is offering undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in a new microgravity activity called Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT). The deadline for proposals is Jan. 28, 2015. Micro-g NExT challenges students to work in teams to design and build prototypes of spacewalking tools to be used by astronauts for spacewalk training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Teams will be selected to participate in the experiential/hands-on learning portion and will travel to Houston to have their prototype tested in the simulated microgravity environment of the NBL-- a 6.2 million gallon indoor pool where NASA astronauts perform complex training activities in advance of their assigned space missions. This project coincides with the 50th anniversary of NASA extravehicular activity.

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Send Your Computer Code Into Space with Tim Peake

"Leading UK space organisations have joined forces with British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake and Raspberry Pi to offer students a chance to devise and code their own apps or experiment to run in space. Two Raspberry Pi computers are planned to be flown to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of Tim's 6 month mission and both will be connected to a new "Astro Pi" board, loaded with a host of sensors and gadgets. Launched today at an event held by the UK Space Agency, the Astro Pi competition will be officially opened at the BETT conference (21-24 January) and will be open to all primary and secondary school aged children who are resident in the United Kingdom. The competition will be supported by a comprehensive suite of teaching resources that are being developed by ESERO-UK and Raspberry Pi."

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NASA-USGS Data App Challenge

NASA in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is offering more than $35,000 in prizes to citizen scientists for ideas that make use of climate data to address vulnerabilities faced by the United States in coping with climate change. The Climate Resilience Data Challenge, conducted through the NASA Tournament Lab, a partnership with Harvard University hosted on Appirio/Topcoder, kicks off Monday, Dec 15 and runs through March 2015. The challenge supports the efforts of the White House Climate Data Initiative, a broad effort to leverage the federal government's extensive, freely available climate-relevant data resources to spur innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in order to advance awareness of and preparedness for the impacts of climate change. The challenge was announced by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Dec. 9.

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In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular method of funding new technology or entertainment products, or artistic projects. The idea is that people or projects ask for many small donations from individuals who support the proposed work, rather than a large amount from a single source. Crowdfunding is usually done via an online portal or platform which handles the financial transactions involved. The Universe Awareness (UNAWE) programme decided to undertake a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign centring on the resource Universe in a Box2. In this article we present the lessons learned and best practices from that campaign.

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