March 2015 Archives

Mike Kronmiller's UAS Presentation in Kathmandu

Mike Kronmiller: "Today I gave my STEM project presentation to the group of students I will be working with in Nepal. I just want to thank the Kanjirowa school for giving such an amazing opportunity." Click on images to enlarge. You can learn more about the project at its official website at

NASA Family Pursues STEM Education Research in Nepal

Rory Kronmiller arrived at Everest Base Camp, Nepal this morning along with his specially designed UAS quadricopter. Rory is in Nepal with his brother, Michael who is in Kathmandu. Mike and Rory are in Nepal to test out the use of drones for Search And Rescue and bridge inspection tasks. This is being done as part of a STEM education project between the Bullis School in Maryland and Kanjirowa National School in Kathmandu, Nepal. You may find their last names familiar: Mike and Rory are the sons of Kate (Orbital ATK) and Ted Kronmiller (aerospace lawyer).

Rory and drone #2 ("Windhorse") are back in Kathmandu. Michael made his presentation to some thirty students and faculty at the Kanjirowa School, and left his drone ("Garuda") and spare parts for further testing after his departure.

We'll be featuring more information here at Space College shortly - we have been supporting this project since its inception. You can learn more about the project at its official website at

NASA Provides Space Access for University Developed Experiments

"NASA will fly six university experiments developed by undergraduate students from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia between 6:45 and 10 a.m., Friday, March 27. The experiments will examine technology development, microgravity science and the search for life in the upper atmosphere and near space during the suborbital mission, which will reach an altitude of nearly 94 nautical miles. The experiments, which will fly aboard a NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket, were developed through the RockSat-X program, a collaboration with the Colorado Space Grant Consortium at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The back-up launch dates are March 28-30."


Colorful Life-Form Catalog Will Help Discern If We're Alone

"While looking for life on planets beyond our own solar system, a group of international scientists has created a colorful catalog containing reflection signatures of Earth life forms that might be found on planet surfaces throughout the cosmic hinterlands. The new database and research, published in the March 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, gives humans a better chance to learn if we are not alone."


Software Students: Go Where No Coder Has Gone Before

"ESA is seeking student software developers from across Europe to participate in its Summer of Code in Space. Winning applicants will be paid to develop innovative open-source software for space projects. ESA's Summer of Code in Space (SOCIS) is an annual programme to give students the chance to work on open-source space-related software during their summer time. Since SOCIS began in 2011, more than 60 students have been part of the adventure, and if you are a student in any ESA Member State, this year could be your turn."


Asteroid Detection App Now Available

"A software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge has the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers. Analysis of images taken of our solar system's main belt asteroids between Mars and Jupiter using the algorithm showed a 15 percent increase in positive identification of new asteroids. During a panel Sunday at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, NASA representatives discussed how citizen scientists have made a difference in asteroid hunting. They also announced the release of a desktop software application developed by NASA in partnership with Planetary Resources, Inc., of Redmond, Washington."


NASA Challenge Invites Students to Design Mars Systems"College students have the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation for NASA's journey to Mars by designing systems for future space habitats and exploration systems through the agency's Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge. The challenge is designed to engage students directly in the design, research and development of functional components of future habitats. As NASA develops missions to send astronauts to destinations far into the solar system, such as an asteroid and Mars, a habitat to sustain the crews pioneering deep space environments will be needed. The challenge also will help develop strategic partnerships with universities in order to increase knowledge in critical exploration capabilities and technology risk reduction activities."


NASA Announces Public Voting For Optimus Prime Spinoff Challenge

"The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office (ITPO) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has announced that public voting for the fourth NASA Goddard OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Challenge runs through March 22, 2015. The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness of NASA Goddard's Technology Transfer Program and to inspire interest in all NASA Goddard missions, programs and projects. Students in grades 3 through 12 are provided a unique experience using 21st century engineering design technology and purposeful interactions with tech transfer, science, and engineering professionals to create unique technology spinoff applications derived from actual NASA Goddard innovations and the James Webb Space Telescope."


"NASA is considering the Space Robotics Challenge to quickly advance the autonomous capabilities of dexterous mobile robots, particularly those of humanoid format, while also providing complex robotic platforms for the robotics community on which to deploy and test their advanced software. The scope of this challenge involves tasks that humanoid robots would perform either in transit to or at locations (such as the surface of Mars) for deep space exploration missions. Future manned-missions to deep space destinations will likely require pre-cursor robotic mission to deploy and prepare habitats, power systems and other infrastructure. Furthermore once humans arrive, a need will exist for robotic astronaut assistants both in intra-vehicular and extra-vehicular environments. Some of these robots may be of humanoid form as to fit into astronaut environments without modifications."


First Radio Galaxy Zoo Paper Submitted

"We find that the RGZ citizen scientists are as effective as the science experts at identifying the radio sources and their host galaxies. Based upon our results from 1 year of operation, we find the RGZ host galaxies reside in 3 primary loci of mid-infrared colour space. The mid-infrared colour space is defined by the WISE filter bands: W1, W2 and W3, corresponding to 3.4, 4.6 and 12 microns; respectively."


Citizen Science on the Faroe Islands in Advance of an Eclipse

"On 2015 March 20, a total solar eclipse will occur in the North Atlantic, with the Kingdom of Denmark's Faroe Islands and Norway's Svalbard archipelago (formerly Spitzbergen) being the only options for land-based observing. The region is known for wild, unpredictable, and often cloudy conditions, which potentially pose a serious threat for people hoping to view the spectacle. We report on a citizen-science, weather-monitoring project, based in the Faroe Islands, which was conducted in March 2014 - one year prior to the eclipse. The project aimed to promote awareness of the eclipse among the local communities, with the data collected providing a quantitative overview of typical weather conditions that may be expected in 2015. It also allows us to validate the usefulness of short-term weather forecasts, which may be used to increase the probability of observing the eclipse."


2015 Team America Rocketry Challenge

"Nearly 4,000 middle and high school students across the country are gearing up for the 2015 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), the aerospace and defense industry's flagship program to inspire young people to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This year, close to 700 teams representing 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are designing and building model rockets as they contest to qualify for the national finals scheduled for Saturday, May 9 in The Plains, VA."


ESA App Camp Brings Satellite Data to Mobile Devices

"Developers of apps that use satellite data to assist the agricultural industry took home the top two prizes at this year's ESA App Camp in Barcelona. The App Camp offers access to the latest space data and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform to European app developers, who work to make the information accessible to a broad audience."


Crowdfunding Astronomy with Google Sky

"For nearly four years, NASA's Kepler space telescope searched for planets like the Earth around more than 150,000 stars similar to the Sun. In 2008 with in-kind support from several technology companies, our non-profit organization established the Pale Blue Dot Project, an adopt-a-star program that supports scientific research on the stars observed by the Kepler mission. I describe how this innovative crowdfunding program has engaged the public over the past seven years to help support an international team in an era of economic austerity."


Student Teams to Go Underwater for Micro-g NExT

"Nineteen undergraduate student teams from 18 universities around the nation will participate in NASA's new microgravity activity called Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) this summer. Micro-g NExT challenges students to work in teams to design and build prototypes of tools to be used by astronauts during spacewalk training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The tools will be designed to address authentic, current space exploration problems."


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