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Online Course on Human Spaceflight Astronaut Christer Fuglesang Will Teach Online Course on Human Spaceflight, SpaceRef

Christer Fuglesang, a veteran of five spacewalks and a professor of particle physics, will present a five-week online course on human spaceflight beginning on 23 January. The course is available to all to follow on aspects of human spaceflight such as the environmental, medical and technical challenges of space travel, offering a broad overview of spaceflight from research to social and political aspects and looking to the future."Enrol now if you are curious about spaceflight or want a better understanding of the subject." The course is offered for free online with weekly tests and a final exam. A certified diploma is available if you pass the tests for a fee. The course is offered by the Swedish KTH Royal Institute of Technology in collaboration with ESA.

2016 Annual Planetary Science Summer School Applications Open is accepting applications from science and engineering post-docs, recent PhDs, and doctoral students for its 28th Annual Planetary Science Summer School, which will be held July 25-29, 2016 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. During the program and pre-session webinars, student teams will carry out the equivalent of an early mission concept study, prepare a proposal authorization presentation, present it to a review board, and receive feedback. By the end of the session, students will have a clearer understanding of the life cycle of a space mission; relationships between mission design, cost, and schedule; and the tradeoffs necessary to stay within cost and schedule while preserving the quality of science. Applications are due April 6, 2016. Partial financial support is available for a limited number of individuals. Further information is available at:

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."


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.


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.

MIT, Boeing, NASA, and edX Offer MOOC

MIT, Boeing, NASA, and edX to launch online architecture and systems engineering program

MIT is collaborating with Boeing and NASA to develop a four-part online, certificate-based program: "Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods to Manage Complex Systems." The program aims to ensure that the engineering workforce has continual training and access to the latest knowledge and methods to design and develop products in a rapidly changing environment. The four courses, which will be delivered by MIT Professional Education via the edX platform, will marry the research and knowledge of MIT's world-renowned faculty with lessons and case studies in industry and government from Boeing and NASA professionals. Focused on modern complex systems from hybrid cars to aircraft, the program will teach how to frame system architecture as a series of decisions which can be actively sorted and managed. "Engineering practice is changing rapidly in tandem with the growth of software, driving incredible capability changes, but also causing enormous challenges managing complex development programs," says Bruce Cameron, director of the System Architecture Lab at MIT, and director of this program.

We report on ongoing work to gain insight into the astronomy knowledge and perspectives of pre-service teachers and middle school students in Norway. We carefully adapted and translated into Norwegian an existing instrument, the Introductory Astronomy Questionnaire (IAQ); we administered this adapted IAQ to (i) pre-service teachers at the largest teacher education institution in Norway, and (ii) students drawn from eight middle schools in Oslo, in both cases before and after astronomy instruction. Amongst our preliminary findings - based on an analysis of both free-response writing and multiple-choice responses - was that when prompted to provide responses to hypothetical students, the pre-service teachers exhibited a marked drop in pedagogical responses pre- to post-instruction, with corresponding shifts towards more authoritative responses. We also identified potentially serious issues relating to middle school students' conceptions of size and distances in the universe, with significant stratification along gender lines.

Doing is understanding: science fun in India

In India, as in many countries, the main focus in science classrooms is on exams rather than musing on the fascinating concepts and understanding of the world that science offers. This can mean that students lose interest in studying science -a problem that is further hampered where there is a lack of facilities, expertise or mentors. We started the 'Science is fun' outreach programme to address these problems. The 15-person team, led by undergraduate and research scientists, conducted four workshops with underprivileged children in Indian primary and secondary schools during December 2014 and January 2015.

The workshops explored basic science concepts, reinforced by hands-on experiments using readily available materials. They were generally successful, with students keen to participate and motivated to learn more after the workshops. We were also pleasantly surprised to see students engaging with new concepts and not hesitating to participate in the discussions. We tried to ensure teachers were central to the activities, and also designed the experiments to be easily repeatable so that teachers could incorporate them into their own lessons once the workshops were over. In this article, we describe three of our successful activities: building a periscope and a digital microscope, and two experiments based on the physical gas laws. All are cheap and easy to perform, yet reveal interesting scientific principles. Each activity takes about an hour.

Six specific modes of reasoning about ratio and proportion have been delineated as a means of operationalizing expert practice. These modes stem from consideration of how physicists reason in context, are informed by prior work in physics and mathematics education, and have grain size matched to the steps in reasoning needed to solve problems commonly used in physics instruction. A suite of assessment questions has been developed and validated to probe student facility with the reasoning modes. Responses to open-ended and multiple-choice versions of the assessment questions have been collected from more than 3000 students at Western Washington University, Rutgers University, and New Mexico State University. Results have been used to identify specific reasoning difficulties, to document differences in performance between student populations, and to explore the effect of question context on student reasoning. We find that students enrolled in university physics courses have difficulty interpreting and applying ratios in context, and in many cases lack facility with the reasoning underlying basic arithmetic operations of division and multiplication.

Free Online Course: Monitoring Climate from Space"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."


Free Course: Science and Exploration of Phobos and Deimos "The "Science and Exploration of Phobos and Deimos" series is jointly organized and led by SSERVI teams at University of Central FL (CLASS) and Brown University/MIT (SEEED) with many SSERVI-affiliated institutions participating. A major goal is to identify major outstanding questions and scientific and exploration goals for robotic and human exploration of Phobos and Deimos.The 13 weekly seminars with lectures given by leaders in the field will include opportunities for questions and discussion. The lectures will be accessible through Adobe Connect in real-time and will be recorded for on-line reference. All lectures will be held on Mondays at 3pm EDT/EST [1 hr lecture + 30 min discussion]."


High Energy Astroparticle Physics for High School Students 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.

Web App For Teaching Remote Sensing"Teaching remote sensing? This web mapping application can be a very useful teaching tool. The web mapping application covers the whole planet, with mapping services that are updated daily with new Landsat 8 scenes. Access many band combinations and indices by hovering over the tools to the left of the map image and selecting among the following:

- Agriculture: Highlights agriculture in bright green. Bands 6,5,2
- Natural Color: Sharpened with 25m panchromatic band. Bands 4,3,2+8
- Color Infrared: Healthy vegetation is bright red. Bands 5,4,3
- SWIR (Short Wave Infrared): Highlights rock formations. Bands 7,6,4
- Geology: Highlights geologic features. Bands 7,4,2
- Bathymetric: Highlights underwater features. Bands 4,3,1
- Panchromatic: Panchromatic image at 15m. Band 8
- Vegetation Index: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). (Band5-Band4)/(Band5+Band4)
- Moisture Index: Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI). (Band5-Band6)/(Band5+Band6)"

More "Indian space programme has multi dimensions, providing significant infrastructure for national development in the vital areas like tele-communication, television broadcasting, meteorological observations and generating timely and accurate data on natural resources management. More recently, it has brought in revolutionary progress in education and public health domain. Today, the fruits of space research are reaching the common man and society, touching their daily life, be it a fisherman, a farmer, a student, a patient from a remote area, an administrator, a policy maker or a person struck in a natural disaster. In the recent years, ISRO has undertaken important applications programmes for societal benefits; one such example is being Telemedicine."


MOOC on Introduction to Geographical Information Systems

GIS (Geographical Information Systems) is everywhere. From your smartphone to your tablet, location enabled devices are present in almost every household. With over 80% of all data having some type of spatial (or geographical) component, GIS and the principles of geographic data have relevancy everywhere. This course will introduce students to GIS and the principles of spatial data in their personal life as well as applications of GIS across various industries. Major components of the course include computer representation of geographic information, the basics of GIS databases, spatial analysis with GIS, and application areas of GIS. At the end of the course, students will have an understanding of elementary GIS theory and examples of GIS-based solutions in the world around them. Self-organizing processes in chemical reaction/precipitation systems can lead to a variety of complex structures, including chemical gardens and inorganic membranes. They key aspects of these systems are the steep concentration gradients and far-from-equilibrium conditions, which in turn are determined by environmental and chemical factors. Chemical garden systems form complex self-organized structures and are now known to have many interesting and useful aspects, such as the ability to generate electrochemical energy and act as catalysts, and there is much interest in learning to control the precipitation process in such systems in order to produce useful materials. researchers and students are invited to apply for the summer school "Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems and Habitable Planets", which will take place in Moletai, Lithuania (close to Vilnius) from 21 to 30 August 2015. The summer school will present an overview of the pathways of formation of habitable planets both in our and extrasolar planets. It is co- organised by the Nordic Network of Astrobiology, the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership "European Astrobiology Campus" and the EU COST Action "Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth and in the Universe". Its programme includes:

Free Online ESA Course: Monitoring Climate from Space MOOC"Registration is open for a free online course that provides an introduction to monitoring climate change using satellite Earth observation. ESA has teamed up with FutureLearn, a leading online learning platform, to offer the 'Monitoring Climate from Space' course beginning on 8 June. From their vantage point some 800 km above Earth, satellites provide crucial information on our planet's land, oceans, atmosphere and ice. This information gives us a view of the current state of our climate, and allows us to detect changes over time. The course will focus on the role of satellite data in supporting decisions relating to climate change and sustainable development. It is designed for current and future policy-makers, educators, climate communications professionals and the wider public."

More 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'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.

Exoplanetary Geophysics: An Emerging Discipline

"Thousands of extrasolar planets have been discovered, and it is clear that the galactic planetary census draws on a diversity greatly exceeding that exhibited by the solar system's planets. We review significant landmarks in the chronology of extrasolar planet detection, and we give an overview of the varied observational techniques that are brought to bear. We then discuss the properties of the currently known distribution, using the mass-period diagram as a guide to delineating hot Jupiters, eccentric giant planets, and a third, highly populous, category that we term "ungiants", planets having masses less than 30 Earth masses and orbital periods less than 100 days. We then move to a discussion of the bulk compositions of the extrasolar planets."


Online Course: Super-Earths And Life

"Super-Earths And Life is a course about alien life, how we search for it, and what this teaches us about our place in the universe. In the past decade astronomers have made incredible advances in the discovery of planets outside our solar system. Thirty years ago, we knew only of the planets in our own solar system. Now we know of thousands circling nearby stars. Meanwhile, biologists have gained a strong understanding of how life evolved on our own planet, all the way back to the earliest cells. We can describe how simple molecules can assemble themselves into the building blocks of life, and how those building blocks might have become the cells that make up our bodies today. Super-Earths And Life is all about how these two fields together - astronomy and biology - can answer one of our most powerful and primal questions: are we alone in the universe? HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning."


DIY Science: Astrobiology, Using Earth Rocks to Look for Alien Life

"The search for life in space involves scientists of all stripes--biologists, physicists, astronomers, chemists...and geologists? NASA-funded UW-Madison geoscientists use Earth's rock and fossil record to shape the search for life in our solar system and beyond. At this DIY event, you'll explore the creative ways these researchers are trying to answer the age-old question: Are we alone? This event is in collaboration with the Department of Geoscience and NASA-funded UW-Madison geoscientists part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute."


Online Course: Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

"Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life by The University of Edinburgh. Self-paced online course. Statement of Accomplishment: None. Subtitles: English. Learn about the origin and evolution of life and the search for life beyond the Earth. Instructor: Charles Cockell, Professor, Astrobiology, The University of Edinburgh"


Interactive Astrobiology at ASU

Ariel Anbar and ASU staff member Lev Horodyskyj designed a course along these lines called "Habitable Worlds." The class is an introductory science course for non-majors that covers basic biology, chemistry and physics by way of the search for extraterrestrial life in the universe. Students are introduced to the topic by looking at a star field. Their task, over the course of the semester, is to determine how many planets within that field might host intelligent life with which we could communicate.


Remote Sensing of Exoplanets

"A two day long winter school on Remote Sensing of Exoplanets will be held at our University on December 4th and 5th, aimed primarily at graduate students involved in hysperspectral remote sensing activities, physics and astronomy, geography. The winter school will provide an overview of the knowledge acquired during the past 20 years in the domain of exploration of exoplanets. It will review the different detection methods, their limitations, and the information provided on the orbital system and the planet itself, and how this information is helping our understanding of planet formation."

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