CubeSat Initiative Aids Solar Sails in Space

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/15-101a.jpg"With help from NASA, a small research satellite to test technology for in-space solar propulsion launched into space Wednesday aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, as part of the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative. The Atlas V sent the U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane on its fourth mission, which also is carrying NASA's Materials Exposure and Technology Innovation in Space (METIS) investigation that will expose about 100 different materials samples to the space environment for more than 200 days."

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The CubeSat Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/medium.jpg"The goal of this challenge is to design a small satellite frame optimized for additive manufacturing. By using the benefits of design for additive manufacturing (DFAM) principles: Mass distributions and materials can be rethought to minimize weight, Part count can be reduced to improve producibility, and ultimately, cost can be reduced."

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Winners and Awards: 2015 NASA Student Launch Challenge

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/sls.launch.jpg"NASA has announced the winners of the 2015 NASA Student Launch challenge, held April 11 near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Thirty-five teams from middle schools to universities demonstrated aerospace and engineering skills, while vying for prizes, awards and a lifetime of bragging rights.

The top winners of this year's challenge are:"

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/s93_45585.jpg"NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, known as America Makes, are holding a new $2.25 million competition to design and build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency's journey to Mars. The multi-phase 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge, part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, is designed to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond. Shelter is among the most basic and crucial human needs, but packing enough materials and equipment to build a habitat on a distant planet would take up valuable cargo space that could be used for other life-sustaining provisions. The ability to manufacture a habitat using indigenous materials, combined with material that would otherwise be waste from the spacecraft, would be invaluable."

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Google and NASA Work With Disney To Inspire Girls

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/IT-DISNEY31431717671a.jpg"There are certain television tropes about computer scientists that just drive programmers nuts. They include the portrayal of coders as sun-starved and soft-bellied nerds who spend long hours alone in front of their computers. And almost always, those TV characters are male. So when Disney Junior approached Google and NASA last year for a new series about a space adventure-seeking boy, his smart sister who codes and mother who drives the family spaceship, everyone involved in the project was determined to bury those stereotypes. They agreed that done right, the show could help get girls interested in the sciences at an early age. After all, the data on gender and careers showed that the media can play a huge factor in girls' decisions to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, according to a 2014 report by Google."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/corplogos/space.apps.2015.jpg"From a voice and gesture command system for spacecraft, to an app that provides farmers information about their crops' health, this year's winners of the International Space Apps Challenge cover a wide range of technology solutions for space exploration and life on Earth. NASA, in conjunction with other space agencies around the world, held the fourth annual code-a-thon April 10-12 at more than 135 locations worldwide and the results are in. Winning apps were selected in six categories, including a People's Choice Award. Participants were asked to develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth. This year, 35 challenges represented NASA mission priorities in four areas: Earth studies, space exploration, human health research and robotics. The categories and winning apps are:"

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NASA Releases Abundance of Free Code

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/engines.jpg"This week, NASA released its second annual Software Catalog, a giant compendium of over 1,000 programs available for free to industry, government agencies, and the general public. The Software Catalog contains the actual advanced engineering and aeronautics codes NASA engineers purpose-built for their daily work. The Software Catalog stemmed from the October 28, 2011 Presidential Memorandum on accelerating the commercialization of Federal research in support of high-growth businesses, in which the President challenged all Federal agencies to find new ways to increase the efficiency and economic impact of their technology transfer activities."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/Preparing_the_experiment.jpg"High-school student Arthur Admiraal has been awarded the prestigious Hugo van Woerden Prize by the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS). He has been honoured for an experiment he performed in the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC). The Hugo van Woerden Prize is awarded to young people under twenty-five who are members of the KNVWS and who have shown an unusual commitment to researching either in meteorology or astronomy."

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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.

"For the third year in a row, the Vanderbilt Aerospace Club has won NASA's eight-month long rocketry competition - the 2014-15 Student Launch Challenge - beating out 30 other university and college teams. Judges announced the Vandy team's victory on Tuesday, a month following the launch day competition that took place on April 11 at Bragg Farms in Toney, Alabama, near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville."

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Abstract Call: 2015 IAF-SUAC International Student Workshop

http://images.spaceref.com/news/earth.12.jpg"The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) is pleased to open a call for abstracts for the 2015 IAF-SUAC International Student Workshop.´╗┐The International Astronautical Federation and the Space University Administrative Committee (SUAC) organizes for the second time, an international student workshop, this time, in cooperation with the Israel Institute of Technology - Technion, Asher Institute in conjunction with the 66th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), 12 - 16 October 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel."

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Registration Open For LunGradCon 2015

http://www.nasawatch.com/images/119238737.jpg"Registration is now open for the 6th Annual Lunar and Small Bodies Graduate Conference (LunGradCon 2015) to be held on Monday, July 20, 2015 at the NASA Ames Research Center, preceding the NASA Exploration Science Forum (ESF). With the expanded interests of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), the scope of this year's LunGradCon is expanded to include both lunar and small bodies science."

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Send Your Drawing Into Space With Cheops

http://images.spaceref.com/news/corplogos/esa.jpg"Do you want to send your art into space on the new Cheops satellite? ESA and its mission partners are inviting children to submit drawings that will be miniaturised and engraved on two plaques that will be put on the satellite. Cheops - for CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite - is a space telescope that will observe nearby stars known to host planets, and is being built as a collaboration between ESA's Science Programme and Switzerland. The planned launch date is at the end of 2017. With the data from Cheops, astronomers will be able to characterise the sizes and masses of many extrasolar planets, to gain new insights into the formation of planetary systems."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/astrobiology.9.jpg 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.

http://images.spaceref.com/news/extrasolar.145.jpgInterested 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:

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