"Astronomy has long been one of the most accessible sciences for children and adults alike -- around the world people gaze at the Moon and stars with wonder and curiosity, inspired to ask questions about the universe and the world in which we live. "There are a lot of mysteries left, and there are a lot of problems for you students to solve. And I want to be a President who makes sure you have the teachers and the tools that you need to solve them," President Obama said to middle school students, astronauts, and citizen scientists during the first-ever White House Astronomy Night in 2009."
August 2015 Archives
"For a few years already, ESA's Education Office is very active in offering university students several educational opportunities related to CubeSat satellites. Up until now, ESA has completed the 'CubeSats on the Vega Maiden Flight' educational programme which involved twelve different CubeSat student teams that were supported by the Education Office, and of which seven student CubeSats were eventually launched on Vega on 13 February 2012. In the period between October 2012 and March 2013, ESA's Education Office also provided support for the test campaign of the HumSat-D student CubeSat. Based on this initial experience, the Education Office launched the Fly Your Satellite! Programme in 2013. Its first edition is currently ongoing, and it aims at launching a few student CubeSats into orbit in 2016."
"Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the authority responsible for assigning official names to celestial bodies. The NameExoWorlds contest provides not only the first opportunity for the public to name exoplanets, but also -- for the first time in centuries -- to give names to stars. Twenty stars with known exoplanets in orbit around them are among the objects selected to be named. Astronomy clubs and non-profit organizations from 45 countries submitted 247 proposals for the names of the 20 ExoWorlds."
The questions about the origin and type of cosmic particles are not only fascinating for scientists in astrophysics, but also for young enthusiastic high school students. To familiarize them with research in astroparticle physics, the Pierre Auger Collaboration agreed to make 1% of its data publicly available. The Pierre Auger Observatory investigates cosmic rays at the highest energies and consists of more than 1600 water Cherenkov detectors, located near Malargüe, Argentina. With publicly available data from the experiment, students can perform their own hands-on analysis. In the framework of a so-called Astroparticle Masterclass organized alongside the context of the German outreach network Netzwerk Teilchenwelt, students get a valuable insight into cosmic ray physics and scientific research concepts. We present the project and experiences with students.
"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD), in collaboration with the Office of Education (OE) National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant) will release the Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) Student Flight Research Opportunity (SFRO) on or about August 21. USIP-2015 solicits proposals from U.S. institutions of higher education to develop an undergraduate-led Project Team that will fly a science and/or technology payload relevant to NASA strategic goals and objectives on a sounding rocket, balloon, aircraft, suborbital reusable launch vehicle (sRLV), or CubeSat launched on an orbital launch vehicle (hereafter referred to collectively as suborbital-class platforms)."
"A very special week is about to begin for approximately 30 students from Aalborg University, in Denmark, as their satellite - AAUSAT5 - waits to be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday 19 August. A few weeks later, AAUSAT5 will be deployed into orbit around Earth, marking the first ESA student CubeSat mission ever launched from the ISS: the pilot project of ESA's 'Fly Your Satellite from the ISS!' education programme. AAUSAT5, a CubeSat satellite entirely built by a university team with ESA's support, will reach the ISS aboard the Japanese HTV-5 cargo vehicle, planned to lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan."
"They say big things come in small packages, and that's evident with the small satellites that are becoming ubiquitous around NASA centers, university labs and even elementary school science classes. These tiny satellites are relatively inexpensive, which makes space-borne research accessible to more people today than has been possible in the past. NASA is focused on its journey to Mars, and these small satellites are helping us develop the miniaturized technologies needed to reduce unnecessary weight and space aboard crewed spacecraft that could be used for research, life support and other things astronauts will need as they travel to the Red Planet. Closer to home, the technologies developed to work on satellites ranging in size from a refrigerator to a box of tissues could radically change the way we predict weather, provide Internet and television programming and cellular reception."
"NASA launched a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket carrying the RockSat-X payload with university and community college student experiments at 6:04 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 12, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. More than 60 students and instructors from across the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico were on hand to witness the launch of their experiments. The payload flew to an altitude of about 97 miles and descended via parachute into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Wallops. Payload recovery operations began after lift-off."
"Space enthusiasts have an opportunity to contribute to NASA's exploration goals through the next round of the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative. Applicants must submit their proposals electronically by 4:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 24. The CubeSat Launch Initiative provides access to space for CubeSats developed by NASA centers, accredited educational institutions and non-profit organizations, giving CubeSat developers access to a low-cost pathway to conduct research in the areas of science, exploration, technology development, education or operations consistent with NASA's Strategic Plan. NASA does not provide funding for the development of the small satellites."
The NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) provides opportunities for scientists and engineers to conduct research largely of their own choosing, yet compatible with the research opportunities posted on the NPP Web site. Selected by a competitive peer-review process, NPP Fellows complete one- to three-year Fellowship appointments that advance NASA's missions in Earth science, heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary science, astrobiology, space bioscience, aeronautics and engineering, human exploration and operations, and space technology.
Applicants are invited for a postdoctoral position associated with the ERC e-Mars project dedicated to the evolution of Mars from the combination of orbital datasets of Mars, located at the laboratory of geology of Lyon at the University of Lyon (France). The research emphasis will be on Mars geology and surface processes using orbital data. Work on mixing morphological observations with spectral analysis will be encouraged.
"NASA has selected eight university teams to collaborate on developing and demonstrating new technologies and capabilities for small spacecraft. The selected teams will work with engineers and scientists from NASA under a cooperative agreement, beginning in Fall 2015. The goal is to develop technologies for small spacecraft--some of which weigh only a few pounds--that dramatically enhance their ability to serve as powerful and affordable platforms for science, exploration and commercial space missions."
"Experiments developed by undergraduate community college and university students from across the United States will fly into space August 11 as part of an 872 pound payload flying on a NASA two-stage Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket predicated to reach an altitude of 94 miles (152 kilometers). The launch is planned for 6 a.m. EDT from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The window is from 6 to 10 a.m. EDT. Backup launch dates are August 12 through 14."
"Over the past few years, there have been a few studies on the development of an interest in science and scientists' views on public outreach. Yet, to date, there has been no global study regarding astronomers' views on these matters. Through the completion of our survey by 155 professional astronomers online and in person during the 28th International Astronomical Union General Assembly in 2012, we explored their development of and an interest for astronomy and their views on time constraints and budget restriction regarding public outreach activities. We find that astronomers develop an interest in astronomy between the ages of 4-6 but that the decision to undertake a career in astronomy often comes during late adolescence. We also discuss the claim that education and public outreach is regarded an optional task rather than a scientist's duty. Our study revealed that many astronomers think there should be a larger percentage of their research that should be invested into outreach activities, calling for a change in grant policies."