April 2015 Archives

NASA Awards Research Grants for Minority Serving Institutions

http://images.spaceref.com/news/corplogos/nasa.moon.jpg"NASA's Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) has selected 10 minority serving universities for cooperative agreement awards valued at almost $47 million. Award recipients were selected from 76 proposals after a rigorous peer review by education and technical experts. Each university will receive as much as $1 million per year for a maximum of five years based on the availability of funds and satisfactory performance."

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NASA Announces Winning Ideas for Mars Balance Mass Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/mars.2.jpg"A self-employed technical consultant from Texas with an idea to study the Martian atmosphere and a team of engineers from Michigan with a way to study Martian weather are the winners of NASA's Mars Balance Mass Challenge. Ted Ground of Rising Star, Texas, was awarded $20,000 for his idea to study the Martian atmosphere by releasing material that could be seen and studied by other Martian spacecraft in orbit and on the ground. Brian Kujawski, Louis Olds and Leslie Hall, from Grand Rapids, Mich., received an honorable mention and $5,000 for their idea to study Martian weather by looking at wind patterns near the planet's surface."

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Sentinel-2A Photo Contest

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/Colour_vision.jpg"For the launch of Sentinel-2A, ESA is inviting you to take part in a photo contest focusing on the theme of 'colour vision'. Enter for a chance to win a trip to ESA's operations centre for the satellite's launch event. The Sentinels are a fleet of satellites designed specifically to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Commission's Copernicus programme. This unique environmental monitoring programme is making a step change in the way we manage our environment, how we understand and tackle the effects of climate change and even safeguard our everyday lives."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/africa.space.jpg(Via Space Generation Advisory Council) "Dear Colleagues: Attached is an announcement regarding a funding opportunity that we would like you to pass on to your undergraduate students. We have been given funding from the IAU OAD to support a limited number of undergraduate science students to do some astronomy modules via distance education through the University of South Africa (Unisa). While registration for semester 2 2015 at Unisa ends already on 20 April 2015, we are now looking for applications for semester 1 2016. Please submit the names of suitable candidates by the end of July 2015 so that students have enough time to register at Unisa. The IAU OAD money will be used to pay for the application fee and the registration fee of suitable candidates."

European Space Agency MOOC: Monitoring Climate from Space

http://images.spaceref.com/news/europe.space.3.jpgESA's first MOOC, Monitoring Climate from Space, is open now for learners to sign up for, with teaching set to begin on 8th June 2015. Over five weeks, a selection of the world's foremost scientists will guide learners through the role of satellite data in supporting decisions relating to climate change and sustainable development. Designed for current and future policy makers, educators and anyone communicating about climate change, the course will aim to give learners a robust understanding of the datasets that should inform their work. As awareness continues to grow of the threat that climate change presents to our planet, the course will also appeal to a wider public interested in examining environmental elements - such as ice thickness, aerosol, sea level and soil moisture - in greater detail.

Learning About STEM 'On-and-Off the Planet'

http://images.spaceref.com/news/corplogos/nsbri.jpg"How does space travel affect your health? How do astronauts sleep in space? What do astronauts eat in space? How do astronauts exercise in space? These and other questions will be answered by current and former astronauts and scientists during a visit by nearly 200 students to the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) that will occur on April 23, 2015. The students, from the DeBakey High School for Health Professions, will participate in an event entitled, "STEM On-and-Off the Planet" as part of an overall program to encourage students to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)."

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Build an Ionic Thruster like NASA Uses for Space Propulsion

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/10b.jpg"An ion thruster produces a flow of air even though it has no moving parts. A version of this seemingly impossible device is used on a larger scale to propel deep space probes for NASA. The advantage to this system over others is that you need only an electrical source to power the device and it has no moving parts so it is almost unbreakable. So why aren't we using this to power our cars, boats, planes, and hovercrafts?"

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2009/s127e007464.s.jpg"Seven teams of high school students competing to have their entrée selected as food for astronauts aboard the International Space Station will meet in the Culinary Challenge at 11 a.m. CDT April 23 in the Space Food Systems Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The teams will prepare their entrées for taste-testing and evaluation. The winning meal will be prepared and packaged for future flight to the space station."

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NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge Winners

"University Gardens High School of San Juan, Puerto Rico, won first place in the high school division of the 2015 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, while an International Space Education Institute team of Moscow, Russia, won the college division of the event, held April 17-18, in Huntsville, Alabama. At the end of the two-day challenge, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, both teams posted the fastest vehicle assembly and race times in their divisions, with the fewest on-course penalties. In addition to taking home the winning trophies, both first-place teams also received a cash prize of $3,000, courtesy of corporate sponsor, The Boeing Company."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/img_0423.jpg"NASA is extending an opportunity to college and university teams to propose small spacecraft technology projects that they can conduct in collaboration with NASA researchers. This is the second time NASA has issued this type of call after the highly successful efforts that emerged from the first call in 2013. The Small Spacecraft Technology Program is issuing the Smallsat Technology Partnerships solicitation as an appendix to the Space Technology Mission Directorate's NASA Research Announcement for 2015. This is opportunity will engage university students and graduate researchers in advancing technology of value to NASA and the nation and help strengthen our high-tech workforce. Proposals are due by June 5, 2015."

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NSF Community College Innovation Challenge Winners

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/entry55305_disaster_relief.jpg"The National Science Foundation (NSF) named 10 teams as winners in its Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). The CCIC challenged community-college students to propose innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based solutions to perplexing, real-world problems. Community colleges from across the country participated in the challenge. They were invited to identify key problems and propose innovative solutions in areas with potential for solving some of America's most daunting challenges."

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NASA Launches RockSat-X Payload

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/RockSatX201501.s.jpg"A NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket carrying the RockSat-X payload was successfully launched at 7:01 a.m., Saturday, April 18, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Recovery of the payload with the six university experiments is in progress. The rocket carried experiments developed by undergraduate students from the Universities of Colorado, Northwest Nazarene, Puerto Rico; Nebraska and Virginia Tech."

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NASA Hosts Human Exploration Rover Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/m15-058.s.jpg"The annual NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge will take place April 17-18 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA Television will provide coverage of both days' races from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's UStream channel will broadcast the races and the awards ceremony, which will take place at 5 p.m. CDT on April 18 in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville. This year's competition will feature more than 80 high school and college teams from 18 states, Puerto Rico and international teams from Germany, India, Mexico and Russia racing against the clock in this engineering design competition."

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Space Apps 2015 Kicks Off

"NASA is gearing up for its fourth annual International Space Apps Challenge, April 10-12. The event unfolds at more than 135 locations worldwide, including this year's Global Mainstage event in New York featuring NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, agency Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan, and Deborah Diaz, NASA's chief technology officer for IT."

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NEOWISE Imagery Now Available Online

sunsets.jpg"Millions of images of celestial objects, including asteroids, observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft now are available online to the public. The data was collected following the restart of the asteroid-seeking spacecraft in December 2013 after a lengthy hibernation. The collection of millions of infrared images and billions of infrared measurements of asteroids, stars, galaxies and quasars spans data obtained between December 13, 2013, and December 13, 2014. "One of the most satisfying things about releasing these cutting-edge astronomical data to the public is seeing what other exciting and creative projects the scientific community does with them," said Amy Mainzer, principal investigator for NEOWISE at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California."

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NASA Helps Students Launch High-Power Rockets

"More than 30 high school, college and university teams will launch student-built rockets during the 15th annual NASA Student Launch event April 10-11 near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Middle school and high school teams will launch their rockets to an altitude of one mile, deploy onboard science experiments and land safely using a system of recovery parachutes. University and college teams will participate in either the Mini-Mars Ascent Vehicle (Mini-MAV) or the Maxi-Mars Ascent Vehicle (Maxi-MAV) divisions. Mini-MAV teams must use a robotic system to autonomously load a payload into their rocket, launch to half a mile and eject the payload during descent. Maxi-MAV teams, competing for a share of $50,000 in prize money, will attempt to meet more autonomy requirements before also launching to a half mile."

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Indian Crowd Sourced Spacecraft

sunsets.jpg"For the first time, space is not longer the exclusive preserve of advanced technology institutes and scientists. Isro's Space Application Center (SAC) has invited engineering institutes across the country to share their research ideas at a workshop on April 28 at Ahmedabad on the best possible ways of using its NEMO-AM satellite observations and for developing critical technologies for such missions in the future. Next Generation Earth Monitoring and Observation Aerosol Monitoring (NEMO-AM) is one of Isro's most crucial next generation high-performance 'micro-satellite' (small satellite) missions. The satellite weighs just 15 kg with dimensions of 2.2 ft length, 2 ft breadth and 1 ft in height. It will be launched at an altitude of 500 km above the earth. The project is a joint venture of Isro with the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies."

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40,000 Amateur Astronomers Have Classified Two Million Objects

sunsets.jpg"More than 40,000 amateur astronomers have classified two million unidentified heavenly bodies found by the SkyMapper telescope at The Australian National University (ANU). Among the haystack of celestial data, the volunteers uncovered five sought-after supernovas, extremely bright exploding stars, which provide crucial information about the history and future of the universe. "It was a huge success, everyone was really excited to take part," said Dr Richard Scalzo, from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. "One volunteer was so determined to find a supernova that he stayed online for 25 hours. Unfortunately he didn't find one, but he did find an unusual variable star, which we think might explode in the next 700 million years or so." The SkyMapper telescope, at the Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran in central New South Wales, is creating a digital survey of the entire southern sky with a detailed record of more than a billion stars and galaxies."

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New International Space Station Information System

sunsets.jpg"A new NASA-designed information system will drive discoveries as scientists and researchers devise future investigations to be conducted aboard the International Space Station. Specialists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, gathered critical information on the agency's physical science research to create Physical Science Informatics, a knowledge base that will give investigators access to information on previous space station research to boost future research. The space station is an orbiting laboratory providing an ideal facility to conduct long-duration investigations in a microgravity environment. The platform allows continuous and interactive research similar to Earth-based laboratories, including key hardware for conducting investigations."

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Moon Research Investigating Dust Expulsion Removal Systems

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"Moon Research Investigating Dust Expulsion Removal Systems (Moon RIDERS) is an educational project partnering Hawaii high school students with NASA, Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, and the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, which is a project of the Japan-U.S. Science, Technology and Space Applications Program of the University of Hawaii at Hilo Department of Physics and Astronomy, to develop and implement real-life lunar surface experiments. The test is hosted by NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, headquartered at Ames. The students are testing a hardware system developed in conjunction with Kennedy Space Center in Florida to remove lunar dust. The system uses high voltage square waves to ripple dust away from the surface."

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New Tool Enables Citizen Scientists to Examine Asteroid Vesta

sunsets.jpg"NASA has announced the release of Vesta Trek, a free, web-based application that provides detailed visualizations of Vesta, one of the largest asteroids in our solar system. NASA's Dawn spacecraft studied Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012. Data gathered from multiple instruments aboard Dawn have been compiled into Vesta Trek's user-friendly set of tools, enabling citizen scientists and students to study the asteroid's features. Vesta Trek was developed by NASA's Lunar Mapping and Modeling Project (LMMP), which provides mission planners, lunar scientists and the public with analysis and data visualization tools for our moon, spanning multiple instruments on multiple missions. Vesta Trek represents the first application of LMMP's capabilities to another world beyond the moon. LMMP-based portals for other worlds in our Solar System are currently in development."

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