"Super-Earths And Life is a course about alien life, how we search for it, and what this teaches us about our place in the universe. In the past decade astronomers have made incredible advances in the discovery of planets outside our solar system. Thirty years ago, we knew only of the planets in our own solar system. Now we know of thousands circling nearby stars. Meanwhile, biologists have gained a strong understanding of how life evolved on our own planet, all the way back to the earliest cells. We can describe how simple molecules can assemble themselves into the building blocks of life, and how those building blocks might have become the cells that make up our bodies today. Super-Earths And Life is all about how these two fields together - astronomy and biology - can answer one of our most powerful and primal questions: are we alone in the universe? HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning."
January 2015 Archives
"After three months of designing and modeling, a panel of judges from NASA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation (ASME) and Made In Space Inc. have selected the winners of the Future Engineers 3-D Printing in Space Tool Challenge. The winner from the Teen Group (ages 13-19) is a Multipurpose Precision Maintenance Tool that Robert Hillan of Enterprise, Alabama, designed. The winner of the Junior Group (ages 5-12) is a Space Planter that Sydney Vernon from Bellevue, Washington, designed."
The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory is collecting public weather reports through a free app available for smart phones or mobile devices. The app is called "mPING," for Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground. mPING reports are immediately archived into a database at NSSL, and are displayed on a map accessible to anyone. To use the app, reporters select the type of weather that is occurring, and tap "submit." The anonymous reports can be submitted as often as every minute.
"The search for life in space involves scientists of all stripes--biologists, physicists, astronomers, chemists...and geologists? NASA-funded UW-Madison geoscientists use Earth's rock and fossil record to shape the search for life in our solar system and beyond. At this DIY event, you'll explore the creative ways these researchers are trying to answer the age-old question: Are we alone? This event is in collaboration with the Department of Geoscience and NASA-funded UW-Madison geoscientists part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute."
"Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life by The University of Edinburgh. Self-paced online course. Statement of Accomplishment: None. Subtitles: English. Learn about the origin and evolution of life and the search for life beyond the Earth. Instructor: Charles Cockell, Professor, Astrobiology, The University of Edinburgh"
Ariel Anbar and ASU staff member Lev Horodyskyj designed a course along these lines called "Habitable Worlds." The class is an introductory science course for non-majors that covers basic biology, chemistry and physics by way of the search for extraterrestrial life in the universe. Students are introduced to the topic by looking at a star field. Their task, over the course of the semester, is to determine how many planets within that field might host intelligent life with which we could communicate.
"A space robotics competition opens today for school students. The aim is to design a robot that can move cargo from one end of an International Space Station (ISS) mock-up to another. The competition is open to any school student aged between 11 and 19 from an ESA member state*. This is the second time that ESA has run a space robotics competition."
"Inspired by the National Aeronautical Space Agency (NASA) website, a team of engineering students of Mysuru have developed a low-cost portable mobile planetarium. The team lead by M Pajwal, a first grade college student of the National Institute of Engineering, decided to dispel beliefs about common myths and create awareness on galaxies and the universe. The project, named Cosmic Egg, began with a simple idea to promote scientific knowledge and erase popular myths like astrology. Initially, the planetarium was designed to be hexagonal in shape. This turned out to be a difficult task and it was then lead mentor Abhinandan who suggested them to develop a low-cost model that would reach at least 20 schools. With sustained efforts, a mobile planetarium was developed. The project was inspired by the NASA Educational website, says Pajwal."
"Xtronaut develops and supports innovative education-based initiatives and outreach programs associated with the OSIRIS-REx Mission, as well as other robotic space exploration missions. OSIRIS-REx is a NASA funded mission designed to launch (2016) an unmanned vehicle to rendezvous with an asteroid (2018), collect a sample from the asteroid and conduct various experiments, and return the sample to Earth (2023)."
"In order for longterm space missions to be successful, a renewable food source is needed. We've developed a hydroponic garden specifically designed to function under conditions of microgravity - ETON. We've been offered the opportunity to launch NanoETON on the ISS to test our hypothesis that water can be circulated in microgravity using centripetal force. This research may help the development of hydroponic gardens for future space missions."
"A NASA-sponsored website designed to crowdsource analysis of data from the agency's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission has reached an impressive milestone. In less than a year, citizen scientists using DiskDetective.org have logged 1 million classifications of potential debris disks and disks surrounding young stellar objects (YSO). This data will help provide a crucial set of targets for future planet-hunting missions. "This is absolutely mind-boggling," said Marc Kuchner, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the project's principal investigator. "We've already broken new ground with the data, and we are hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed to Disk Detective so far."
"Students will look to the skies this week when SpaceX's fifth commercial resupply services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station lifts off at 6:20 a.m. EST Tuesday, Jan. 6, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will carry scientific research conceived and designed by students who are learning first-hand what it takes to conduct research in space. Eighteen Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) teams worked to prepare the investigations in time to fly to the space station. The teams previously had their research aboard Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket, which suffered a failure during launch in October."