March 2016 Archives

Second-Round Prizes in Cube Quest Challenge Awarded"NASA has awarded $30,000 each to the five top-scoring teams that competed in the latest segment of the agency's small satellite Cube Quest competition. Cube Quest is a $5 million challenge that requires teams to design, build and deliver flight-qualified CubeSats capable of advanced operations near and beyond the moon. It is part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, which engages the public to compete to solve challenges that will benefit the agency and the nation. Cube Quest comprises of two phases: ground tournament and in-space tournaments, or derbies. The Ground Tournaments serve as progress checks, and are held every six months, leading to an opportunity to be selected as one of three allocated slots on NASA's Orion capsule's first unmanned lunar flyby, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), planned for launch in 2018."


Nepal Robotics/Bullis-Kanjirowa STEM Update Robotics/Bullis-Kanjirowa STEM Update 25 March 2016

"Mike Kronmiller Kathmandu, Nepal: Day 6 went really well! I had an opportunity to work with the students for 3 more hours which allowed me to teach them about calibrating the drone and safety. I'm really impressed that they were able to build a drone in 6 hours and they are very excited to teach more of their peers about construction, operation, and safety. Now that they have completed a drone I plan to teach them about utilizing drone websites to learn about more applications of drone, beyond search and rescue, and allow them to pursue their own ideas."

International Space Apps Challenge Update Announces Dates for International Space Apps Challenge Hackathons

"NASA's open innovation incubator, the International Space Apps Challenge, will take place April 22-24. The global main stage for this year's event will be in Pasadena, California, with local events taking place simultaneously in 193 locations spanning 72 countries. On April 23 and 24, participants are asked to develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualizations and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth. This year's challenge will include a Data Bootcamp on April 22, streamed live from the global main stage. The bootcamp is open to the public and will give participants the opportunity to learn new skills with computer coding and data."

Nepal Robotics/Bullis-Kanjirowa STEM Update

Nepal Robotics/Bullis-Kanjirowa STEM Update 24 March 2016

"Mike Kronmiller, Kathmandu, Nepal: Day 5 was a was extremely fun! I had the opportunity to present to my youngest audience, 8 year old 3rd graders. While presenting at Kanjirowa, the head of a primary school in Kathmandu offered to let me take about drones to 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. I happily accepted and had a wonderful time taking to the students about drones. The asked great questions about the applications of drones and how they can begin learning about them."

Congress Pushes NASA to Do More Edcation Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act

"Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a plan for how NASA can best facilitate and support both current and retired astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators, including early career female astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators, to engage with K12 female STEM students and inspire the next generation of women to consider participating in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to pursue careers in aerospace."

NepalRobotics Update Robotics/Bullis-Kanjirowa STEM Update 22 March 2016

"Yesterday I had time to work individually with the students, teaching them about the hardware in their kits and also giving them the curriculum powerpoint. I look forward to work more closely with them on Wednesday on the software. Later I went to Ihub, a library funded by the US embassy an talked with students from other schools about drone technology. Many of the students were so excited they wanted to work with the students at Kanjirowa."

Star Trek Boldly Goes Into Education With Lecture Series"The next frontier in the celebrations of Star Trek's half-century anniversary isn't visiting a new galaxy, facing off against an alien race that would make the Borg nervous or even someone finally getting around to inventing transporter technology. Instead, CBS Consumer Products has announced Trek Talks, a series of lectures designed to examine the ways in which Star Trek has interacted with the real world throughout its history. In a series of talks taking place from July 2016 through July 2017 in colleges, universities, museums and elsewhere CBS' official release references "academic and entertainment institutions" - topics discussed will include Star Trek's impact on (and prediction of) the information age, the show's utopian idea of a multi-cultural society and the way the show addresses the idea of scientific exploration."


TshepisoSAT, Africa's First Nanosatellite

Promising cubes in space, YouTube, TEDxTableMountain

"What does it mean to democratize space? How can Africa take part in the immense opportunities that miniature satellites (CubeSats) represent? With his characteristic dry sense of humour, Prof van Zyl tells the story of TshepisoSAT, Africa's first nanosatellite - built by his team of students and CPUT staff and launched in November 2013. Overseeing a satellite programme that truly represents Africa serves as a unique platform to further the socio-economic development of Africa. To this end, Prof van Zyl has established the international African CubeSat programme and workshop series to provide an innovation and developmental forum."

Spotlight TEDx Talk: A mission to launch African nanosatellites

"Right now, a satellite only 10 cm wide and 10 cm tall circles our planet around 15 times a day, in flight thanks to a group of students at the French South African Institute of Technology in Cape Town. The tiny satellite, named "TshepisoSat" for the seSotho word for "hope and promise," has been in orbit for over two years, taking photos of the Earth and collecting data on radio waves in the ionosphere."

NASA's 28th Annual Planetary Science Summer School: 2016

The Planetary Science Summer School prepares the next generation of engineers and scientists to participate in future solar system exploration missions. Participants learn the mission life cycle, roles of scientists and engineers in a mission environment, mission design interconnectedness and trade-offs, and the importance of teamwork.

More NASA has selected 11 educator teams for its 2016 Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program. The program is a professional development opportunity for educators designed to improve teaching methods and to inspire students. As part of the preparation, the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors complete a graduate credit astronomy course and are partnered with professional astronomers to participate as the scientists conduct research on board NASA's flying telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

SOFIA is a highly modified Boeing 747SP jetliner fitted with a 2.5-meter (100-inch) telescope that uses a suite of seven instruments to study celestial objects at infrared wavelengths during 10-hour overnight science missions. SOFIA flies at altitudes between 39,000 and 45,000 feet (12-14 kilometers) above more than 99 percent of the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere that blocks infrared energy from reaching ground-based observatories.

The ESA Academy

What is the ESA Academy?

The ESA Academy will provide a new perspective on the learning of space disciplines. It will be run in close collaboration with European universities and is designed to complement academic education. It will enhance the students' educational experience and allow them to benefit from an unprecedented transfer of ESA's practical and theoretical know-how. This will range from space sciences to engineering, spacecraft operations, product and quality assurance, project management and much more. It will help university students become acquainted with the standard professional practices applied nowadays across the whole space sector, and better prepare them for the labour market.

The two pillars of the ESA Academy

The ESA Academy brings together existing and new elements of the ESA Education Programme for universities. It will now group these under two interconnected pillars of activity:

- Hands-on Space Projects, an existing programme that enables students to gain first-hand experience of real space-related projects.

- Training and Learning Programme, a new initiative offering an entirely new set of courses and learning opportunities.

In addition to providing access to existing ESA establishments and partners' infrastructures, the ESA Academy will make use of new dedicated facilities located at ESA's Redu Centre in Belgium. The Training and Learning Centre, will start courses in March this year, and the CubeSat Education Centre will become operational in 2017.

"Nearly 5,000 students across the country are gearing up for the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), the world's largest rocketry competition. 789 teams of secondary school students from all backgrounds are vying for 100 coveted spots in the TARC national finals held on Saturday, May 14, outside of Washington, D.C. "Over its 13-year history, TARC has emerged as one of the aerospace industry's premier youth outreach and education programs," said AIA President and CEO, David F. Melcher. "We believe the skills students discover and build while participating in this program will propel them to pursue education and careers in STEM fields, specifically in the aerospace industry." To encourage ingenuity, every year participants are tasked with new and different design and flight parameters that are structured to emulate the aerospace industry's design, engineering, and testing processes. This year, teams must place eggs perpendicularly to each other in the body of the rocket, requiring a wider rocket body and innovative egg protection solutions. The rocket must fly to 850 feet and return to Earth safely with its payload intact. The entire flight must last between 44 and 46 seconds."


Citizen Scientists Help NASA Understand Auroras"Space weather scientist Liz MacDonald has seen auroras more than five times in her life, but it was the aurora she didn't see that affected her the most. On the evening of Oct. 24, 2011, MacDonald was sitting in front of her computer at her home in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Forecasts predicted a geomagnetic storm would hit Earth that night and potentially create beautiful aurora. The aurora didn't come to Los Alamos, but MacDonald was still amazed -- not by any bright, dancing lights in the sky, but by the number of aurora-related tweets on her computer screen. People across the eastern United States, from Alabama to Chicago, tweeted about seeing the aurora in real-time. This storm became one of the first wide-scale documentations of aurora activity with social media."


"Twenty middle and high school teams across Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi will demonstrate their student-built robots during the annual "Robots to Rocket City" at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, located at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This event runs from 1-3:30 p.m., helping kick-off the 2016 season of FIRST Robotics, a national competition for students in grades 9-12. News media interested in covering the event should contact Pat Ammons at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center at 256-721-5429; or Angela Storey of the Public & Employee Communications Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, at 256-544-0034, no later than 3 p.m. Friday, March. 4. Robots to Rocket City provides teams an opportunity to demonstrate their robot's ability to complete tasks associated with the 2016 challenge, named "FIRST Stronghold" -- a medieval-themed game where robots must storm opponent castles, breach defenses, launch foam boulders and capture opposing towers."


ESA Fly Your Thesis! 2017 Call for Proposals ESA Education is inviting university student teams to submit proposals related to designing, building and flying their experiment in a parabolic flight campaign, which is tentatively scheduled to take place in autumn 2017.

STATUS: OPEN. ESA Education is currently accepting proposals.
DEADLINE: 16 May 2016 23:59pm CET.

Teams interested in participating in the Fly your Thesis! 2017 programme should submit an accurately completed Experiment Proposal document detailing the description of the experiments that they intend to perform. Experiments are required to be a key part of master or PhD theses, and the subject of the experiments investigations must require availability of microgravity conditions.

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