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Mark Watney Is Alive And Well - In Togo African Inventor Makes 3D Printer from E-Waste, Inhabitat

"Kodjo Afate Gnikou, a resourceful inventor from Togo in West Africa, has made a $100 3D printer which he constructed from parts he scrounged from broken scanners, computers, printers and other e-waste. The fully functional DIY printer cost a fraction of those currently on the market, and saves environmentally damaging waste from reaching landfill sites. ... Gnikou is part of WoeLab, a hackerspace in the city of Lomé, and has big plans for his recycling project. According to his crowd funding page, he is working with FacLab-France in the WAFATE to Mars project, which aims to make machines from recycled e-waste to prepare for missions on Mars. Systems like the 3D printer could become a crucial part of missions on the Red Planet should they ever go ahead.""Anna-Sophia Boguraev's (17) winning Genes in Space student experiment is scheduled for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 8th from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida aboard NASA's Cargo Resupply Services flight (CRS-8). Her experiment will assess if changes in DNA can be detected aboard the ISS. The goal of the experiment is to establish whether genetic changes to DNA and the weakened immune system observed in astronauts are linked. Finding the cause for the weakened immune systems of crews is an important step in safeguarding health for long duration missions, such as the three year mission to Mars. This will be one of the first experiments ever to use advanced DNA detection technologies in orbit."


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."

Indian Students Build Mobile Planetarium

"Inspired by the National Aeronautical Space Agency (NASA) website, a team of engineering students of Mysuru have developed a low-cost portable mobile planetarium. The team lead by M Pajwal, a first grade college student of the National Institute of Engineering, decided to dispel beliefs about common myths and create awareness on galaxies and the universe. The project, named Cosmic Egg, began with a simple idea to promote scientific knowledge and erase popular myths like astrology. Initially, the planetarium was designed to be hexagonal in shape. This turned out to be a difficult task and it was then lead mentor Abhinandan who suggested them to develop a low-cost model that would reach at least 20 schools. With sustained efforts, a mobile planetarium was developed. The project was inspired by the NASA Educational website, says Pajwal."


Build Your Own Cubesat For Less Than $6,000

"Satellites have traditionally been expensive with even lower cost solutions like Cubesat costing six figure amounts, limited to those with larger budgets. The PocketQube Kit addresses these problems and widens access to space for smaller budget organisations. The PocketQube Kit is ideal for a wide range of groups who are interested in building a low cost Satellite. For example Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (or STEM) educators, from K-12, High School up to University. The Kits is also ideal for Governmental customers looking to begin a program."


LittleBits Used To Build Space Robotic Arm

"There were plenty of engineering-themed toys on view at this weekend's Toy and Game Fair in Chicago, but none of them came close to NASA's contribution in terms of sheer cred. On hand at the fair were NASA reps who demonstrated a mechanism built from the agency's new LittleBits kit. First announced in April, LittleBits' Space Kit was actually developed in tandem with NASA's Innovative Projects Office. As NASA reps told me this weekend, the office is developing several toys and games aimed at getting kids interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), including a multi-player game that pairs kids to solve problems and launch missions."

More: NASA Built a Grappling Claw With Just Household Objects and LittleBits

Space Kit, Littlebits

Student's Innovative DIY Microscope

Expensive tests for measuring everything from sperm motility to cancer diagnosis have just been made hundreds of thousands of pounds cheaper by a PhD student from Brunel University London who hacked his own microscope. Adam Lynch, from the university's College of Health and Life Sciences, created his own inverted microscope by adapting a cheap instrument he bought online to save himself time and money. The tool is used to measure cell motility - how fast cells move from one place to another - but the high-quality equipment, used to automatically test multiple samples, can stretch to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Now Adam has a cut-price version for a study to understand if a snail's immune system responds to chemical pollutants present in the water, which might influence the levels of transmission of Schistosome parasites from snails to humans.

Your Smartphone Can Become A Cosmic Ray Detector

Soon, the growing capability of your smartphone could be harnessed to detect cosmic rays in much the same way as high-end, multimillion-dollar observatories.

With a simple app addition, Android phones, and likely other smartphone brands in the not-too-distant future, can be turned into detectors to capture the light particles created when cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere.

"The apps basically transform the phone into a high-energy particle detector," explains Justin Vandenbroucke, a University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of physics and a researcher at the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC). "It uses the same principles as these very large experiments."

Cosmic rays are energetic subatomic particles created, scientists think, in cosmic accelerators like black holes and exploding stars. When the particles crash into the Earth's atmosphere, they create showers of secondary particles called muons.

NSF Is Interested in the Maker Community

The "maker movement" shines a spotlight on DIY design and manufacturing, NSF

"Engineering is enjoying a moment, thanks to the maker movement, a cultural phenomenon that encourages everyday citizens to design, build and create. "Making encompasses everything from electronics and robotics to woodworking and traditional arts and crafts," says Pramod Khargonekar, assistant director for Engineering at the National Science Foundation (NSF), "and the movement is poised to change the way we think about engineering--from where it happens to who can do it."

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