November 2015 Archives

NASA Early Stage Innovations Space Technology Research Grants

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/15-227.jpg "NASA has selected 15 university-led proposals for the study of innovative, early stage technologies that address high priority needs of America's space program. The Early Stage Innovations awards from NASA's Space Technology Research Grants Program are worth as much as $500,000 each. Universities have two to three years to work on their proposed research and development projects. The proposals selected under the Early Stage Innovations 2015 solicitation address unique, disruptive or transformational technologies, including: payload technologies for assistive free-flyers; robotic mobility technologies for the surfaces of icy moons; integrated photonics for space optical communication; computationally guided structural nanomaterials design; and atmospheric entry modeling development using flight data from the Orion's first flight test in space last December called Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1)."

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Dale Andersen's Astrobiology Field Report 20 November 2015

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/tawani2015.jpg "Novolazarevskya Station, Antarctica: We spent the day packing gear onto the sled that will be towed by the Everest tracked vehicle across the ice to Lake Untersee. We made pretty good progress today and we plan to begin the 125 km traverse early tomorrow morning. Hopefully we will be at Lake Untersee by about 2pm UTC. For the moment we are still enjoying nice weather with clear skies, warm temperatures and little wind and if we are lucky this will be the case when we head to the lake tomorrow. Once at Lake Untersee we will beging putting up tents so if the weather becomes inclement we will have refuge from wind and blowing snow."

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Student Image of Northwest Australia Taken by the Sally Ride EarthKAM

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/ccfid.jpg"This stunning image of the northwest corner of Australia was snapped by a student on Earth after remotely controlling the Sally Ride EarthKAM aboard the International Space Station. The EarthKAM program allows students to request photographs of specific Earth features, which are taken by a special camera mounted on the space station when it passes over those features. The images are posted online for the public and students in participating classrooms around the world to view. EarthKAM is the only program providing students with such direct control of an instrument on a spacecraft orbiting Earth, teaching them about environmental science, geography and space communications."

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United Launch Alliance Reveals CubeSat Launch Program

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/ula.cubesat.jpg"ULA will offer universities the chance to compete for at least six CubeSat launch slots on two Atlas V missions, with a goal to eventually add university CubeSat slots to nearly every Atlas and Vulcan launch," said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO. "There is a growing need for universities to have access and availability to launch their CubeSats and this program will transform the way these universities get to space by making space more affordable and accessible."

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Dale Andersen's Astrobiology Field Reports

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/tawani2015.jpg "14 Nov 2015 11:00 am ET: The weather went down a bit and they could not keep up with the conditions to clear the ice-runway of snow. You can see in the webcam image taken just a short while ago that they are continuing to clear the snow. My guess is that the Baslers (DC3s) will arrive tomorrow, and they need to be in place before our flight arrives to transport passengers to other stations."

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"8 Nov 2015 10:30 pm ET: The image below, taken a little earlier, is from the webcam at Novo Station's ice runway. The guys in the radio shack sent me a note a short while ago letting me know they had blowing snow and a few wind gusts hitting 42 m/s (94 mph) today."

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"7 Nov 2015 7:20 pm ET: My research team and I are now in Cape Town, SA awaiting our flight to Novolazarevskaya Station in Antarctica. The first flight made it down but its return to Cape Town was delayed for a day due to less than good weather at Novo that kicked up just before they were to depart."

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Crowdsourcing Quality Control for Dark Energy Survey Images

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/crowd.des.jpg"We have developed a crowdsourcing web application for image quality control employed by the Dark Energy Survey. Dubbed the "DES exposure checker", it renders science-grade images directly to a web browser and allows users to mark problematic features from a set of predefined classes. Users can also generate custom labels and thus help identify previously unknown problem classes. User reports are fed back to hardware and software experts to help mitigate and eliminate recognized issues. We report on the implementation of the application and our experience with its over 100 users, the majority of which are professional or prospective astronomers but not data management experts. We discuss aspects of user training and engagement, and demonstrate how problem reports have been pivotal to rapidly correct artifacts which would likely have been too subtle or infrequent to be recognized otherwise. We conclude with a number of important lessons learned, suggest possible improvements, and recommend this collective exploratory approach for future astronomical surveys or other extensive data sets with a sufficiently large user base."

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Free Online Course: Monitoring Climate from Space

http://images.spaceref.com/news/earth.limb.4.jpg"As the crucial COP21 Paris Climate Summit approaches, detailed evidence about the process and impact of climate change is needed more than ever. Satellite Earth Observation technology provides a powerful and compelling insight into climate change which can help to underpin climate policy, scientific research and public engagement. But how does this technology work, and how can it achieve the essential detail and comprehensive worldwide view that we need? Join Lead Educator Professor Martin Wooster and leading climate experts such as Professor Konrad Steffen, Dr Anny Cazenave, Dr Stephen Briggs and Dr Emily Shuckburgh as they reveal the perspective provided by satellite Earth observation."

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