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NASA's Global Reach

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2017/IMG_5388.m.jpgUnderstanding NASA's Global Reach, SpaceRef

A young boy in Chile wearing a NASA t-shirt explains a computer game to Pete Worden from Breakthrough Initiatives. How did he get that t-shirt? Why is he wearing it? Worden is currently in Chile to announce that Breakthrough Initiatives has teamed with the European Southern Observatory to use the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to observe Alpha Centauri. Alpha Centauri is the destination of Breakthrough Starshot Initiative. Enhancements will be made to the VLT to allow it to detect small, potentially habitable planets in the Alpha Centauri system and possibly other star systems. So why is a boy wearing a NASA t-shirt in the Atacama region of Chile? Worden did not know. I have a theory. In 2010 NASA was instrumental in rescuing 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped in the San José copper mine. The mine is located near Copiapó, Chile. Parnal Observatory, where the VLT is located is 411 Km north of Copiapó a town with a population of 200,000. La Serena, the town where this photo was taken, is located 349 km south of Copiapó and also has a population of over 200,000. These locations are all connected by the same road (Route 5). I would have to assume that NASA remains a very popular entity in the region after the mine rescue - popular enough that its logo is something that children want to wear. When I was in Nepal in 2009 I was constantly amazed to see street vendors in remote villages selling t-shirts and DVDs featuring American wrestlers and recording artists. Branding is pervasive and utterly global these days. In Chile it would seem that NASA is iconic and cool .

NASA Awards Grants to Inspire Mars Generation

http://images.spaceref.com/news/humans.mars.2.jpg
NASA Awards Grants to Inspire Mars Generation of Explorers, Scientists

NASA is awarding approximately $3 million in grants to three informal education organizations to help inspire the next generation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers as the agency progresses on its Journey to Mars. The selected projects will create a new Mars exploration exhibit, offer educator professional development on space science topics and engineering technology, pilot Mars-themed lesson plans in regional school districts, expand regional afterschool and summer camp opportunities, and develop community programs related to space exploration. "Museums and out-of-school time providers are in a unique position to provide STEM engagement through hands-on experiences," said Roosevelt Johnson, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Office of Education in Washington. "NASA supports experiences that engage with STEM topics in personally meaningful ways." The proposals were selected through a peer-review process for NASA's Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities. In June, NASA announced the first nine proposals selected from the 73 applications received through this opportunity. The newly-selected projects range in value from approximately $600,000 to $1.25 million. Organizations will implement their proposals over the next one to five years, depending on their project.

New NASA Education 'Science Wow!' Weekly Email Newsletter

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/sciencewow.s.jpg"Are you a science educator or interested in science education? Sign up for the NASA Education "Science WOW!" mailing list. Receive an email with NASA's latest science education offerings delivered "Weekly on Wednesdays."Science starts with a question, and so does "Science WOW!" Each week's message kicks off with a science question and a link to where you can find the answer. "Science WOW!" also highlights an awesome science education tool each week. These featured resources will include NASA apps, interactive games, 3-D printing templates and more! Plus, "Science WOW!" delivers - right to your inbox - the latest science education opportunities offered by NASA. It's a simple way to keep up with the latest professional development webinars, student contests, workshops, lectures and other activities."

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Meet NASA Datanauts: 2016 Class

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/datanauts.jpg"Our second class of Datanauts will serve as beta-testers for the data engagements we designed over the last year. We created a collaborative environment to enable the new cohort to work together, share ideas and skills, and hopefully learn and hone new capabilities as they solve monthly data challenges and host data engagements within their communities. We have 16 beginning coders, 26 intermediate, and 7 advanced. We asked the Datanauts to self-sort themselves in skills categories. The breakdown is as follows: 2 designer/artists, 16 developers, 5 entrepreneurs, 1 game designer, 6 storytellers, 9 students, 7 subject matter experts, and 2 miscellaneous."

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How Astronomers View Education and Public Outreach

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.

Announcing DreamUp, PBC

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/dreamup.jpg "NanoRacks and its parent company, XO Markets, are excited to announce they are creating a new company dedicated to lowering the barriers to student and university research: DreamUp, PBC. As such, we join the ranks of Ben & Jerry and Kickstarter, just two of the growing number of companies that have been incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation. PBC's are commercial organizations whose by-laws urge shareholders and management to do more than turn a profit: they also seek to undertake some public good in a series of defined mandates. Until now, in our society, companies must focus only on the bottom line. Benefit Corporations are different: they can and must do more for society. For DreamUp, the goals are simple: we will strive to make space research a viable part of students and university researchers. We will seek to make crowdsourcing a far more efficient tool for space-based projects. And within a few short years we aim to have teachers and students from all fifty states and a dozen countries worldwide enjoy the benefits of real STEM experience via the unique environment of space."

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NASA Google+ Hangout Focuses on College Interns Rocket Experiments

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/quick-look-launch-BR.jpg "NASA's Digital Learning Network will host a Google+ Hangout on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 1:15 p.m. EDT to discuss NASA's flight test of a modified sounding rocket motor, launch vehicle and spacecraft systems with the student interns who worked on the payload experiments. The flight test of the modified Black Brant sounding rocket motor and other technologies is scheduled for a suborbital mission on Wednesday, Oct. 7 between 7 and 9 p.m. EDT, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The student Rocket and Payload Integration Development (RaPID) team supported two experiments in the payload stack from NASA's Game Changing Development (GCD) Program within the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD): the Advanced Near Net Shape experiment and the Orbital ATK LEO-1 CubeSat experiment."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/hubble_friday_07102015.jpg"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."

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