World's First Crew To Mars Is Likely In Middle School Right Now

http://images.spaceref.com/news/humans.mars.2.jpg"Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company, has partnered with Discovery Education to launch the next phase of Generation Beyond, an initiative to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to prepare today's middle school students nationwide for deep space exploration. Lockheed Martin has supported every NASA mission to Mars over the last four decades and is currently developing technologies like the Orion spacecraft to help NASA send humans to deep space destinations like Mars in the 2030s. Generation Beyond brings the science of space into homes and classrooms across America to engage students in grades 6-8 and help them prepare to make these missions a reality and pursue STEM careers. The program, available at no cost, includes an online curriculum for teachers and families, with standards-based, digital resources such as lesson plans, educator guides and family activities. These resources will introduce a wide variety of STEM-focused careers in space exploration, compare and contrast differences between life in space and on Earth, and illustrate the challenges of a future Mars mission."

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Student Rocket Launch August 16

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/rocsatx.jpg"University and community college students will put their scientific and technological skills to test by flying experiments they developed on a NASA two-stage Terrier Improved-Malemute suborbital sounding rocket Aug. 16 from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch is planned for 6 a.m. EDT from pad two on Wallops Island. This will be the first mission from a new suborbital rocket launcher at the pad. The window is from 6 to 10 a.m. EDT. Backup launch dates are August 17 through 19. The NASA Visitor Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 5 a.m. on launch day for viewing the flight. The rocket launch is expected to be only seen from the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland."

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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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Teaching with Space and Astronomy in your Classroom

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/Space_Awareness_Logo.jpg"The Teaching with Space and Astronomy in your Classroom course will train and empower you to successfully teach space-related topics. It aims to educate teachers how to introduce and attract more and more young people to careers in space. The method through which you will be able to achieve this objective will be via inquiry-based science education teaching practices, the effective use of ICT tools, managing diversity and obtaining a gender balance in the classroom."

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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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2016 Genes in Space US Winner Announcement

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/genesinspace.jpg"Genes in SpaceTM named Julian Rubinfien, a high school student from New York, the winner of the second annual Genes in SpaceTM competition. The innovative contest challenges students in grades seven through 12 to design an experiment to solve a real-life space exploration problem through DNA analysis. The winning experiment will be conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) using miniPCR™ technology. Rubinfien (15) aims to study genetic processes that may lead to accelerated aging in space. His experiment seeks to measure the length of telomeres, the chromosome end-caps that are shortened in premature aging. Rubinfien hypothesizes that the lengths of telomeres change during spaceflight and that these changes contribute to accelerated aging experienced by astronauts. His experiment uses a PCR-based assay and human organoids, a three-dimensional organ-bud grown in-vitro that shows realistic micro-anatomy, to measure telomeres on the ISS."

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NASA Rover Game Released for Curiosity's Anniversary

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/mars-rover.jpg"As Curiosity marks its fourth anniversary (in Earth years) since landing on Mars, the rover is working on collecting its 17th sample. While Curiosity explores Mars, gamers can join the fun via a new social media game, Mars Rover. On their mobile devices, players drive a rover through rough Martian terrain, challenging themselves to navigate and balance the rover while earning points along the way. The game also illustrates how NASA's next Mars rover, in development for launch in 2020, will use radar to search for underground water."

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Fifth Year of NASA's Sample Return Robot Competition

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/15-125a_0.jpg"Twenty-one robotics teams are returning to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for a fifth year to compete in NASA's $1.5 million Sample Return Robot Challenge. The autonomous robotic competition will take place in two stages, with Level 1 from June 7-11 and Level 2 from Sept. 3-7. The event, part of NASA's Centennial Challenges prize program, is managed by WPI and hosted on its campus in Worcester, Massachusetts. Teams must demonstrate an autonomous robot that can locate, collect and return geologic samples on natural terrain without human control and within a specified time. Levels 1 and 2 vary in allotted time and sample complexity. Teams must successfully complete Level 1 objectives to be eligible for Level 2."

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First CubeSat Built By An Elementary School Deployed

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/stm-studentbuild.jpg"In 2012, the students from St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia lined up in the shape of a space shuttle in the school parking lot and witnessed the flyover of the Space Shuttle Discovery as it was being retired to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This awe-inspiring vision was an inspiration to the entire school and a catalyst for them to literally reach for the stars. Thus beginning their quest to build a small satellite, called a CubeSat, that would engage students around the world in Earth observations. Over the next three years, all 400 pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students participated in the design, construction and testing of their small satellite. Through this hands-on, inquiry based learning activity the students conducted real-world engineering and will operate the St. Thomas More (STM)Sat-1, the first CubeSat built by elementary school students to be deployed in space."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/ESA_Academy_Training.s.jpg"The ESA Academy Training and Learning Programme is offering a new opportunity to European students who are interested in learning how ESA is assessing technical and financial feasibility of future space missions and new spacecraft missions. ESA's Education Office is looking for 22 talented and motivated university students with an engineering or physics background to take part in a Concurrent Engineering Workshop that will take place from 20 to 23 September 2016. Europe's leadership in space depends upon its ability to continue developing world-class satellites. To do that, we need to train a new generation of space engineers and scientists. Concurrent engineering is a method of designing and developing products in the space sector. In concurrent design, contrary to the traditional design methods, all design steps take place simultaneously. This is a far more efficient way of designing, but it brings challenges as well. Solutions in one area that could impact the design in another must be identified and communicated instantly."

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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/rmc2015-bot.jpg"When explorers first set out to discover new lands, they couldn't take everything they needed with them. They packed what they could and then lived off the land once they arrived, using trees for building materials, making bricks out of clay, securing water and food from the earth. It will be no different when humans explore deeper into our solar system, using in-situ resource utilization, or ISRU - where an abundance of resources, such as water, reside in greater amounts in space than here on our home planet. The water is frozen or chemically bound to the regolith, and excavation is a crucial step in acquiring the water necessary to survive and travel in space."

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