Education: February 2011 Archives

Allure From Afar: 1st Prize Student Essay at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, 2011, Kevin Schillo, University of Central Florida

"We stand at the forefront of what may be a renaissance in suborbital spaceflight. As such, it is paramount that we ask ourselves the most basic and fundamental inquiry regarding this development. Why does it matter, especially when compared to other developments made with space technology? Because the fact remains that even after nearly sixty years, human spaceflight remains an extremely expensive, hazardous, and dangerous undertaking. Only Russia, the United States, and China have been successful in developing and launching their own manned spacecraft. To date, only slightly more than five hundred people have flown in space."

Make sure watch in HD! More Robonaut-1 mission video and imagery will be released in conjunction with a presentation at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference being held in Orlando 28 Februrary to 2 March.

Co-sponsored by the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, this mission is one in a series of flights conducted by Quest for Stars, a California-based non-profit educational organization that uses off-the-shelf hardware and a little ingenuity to allow students to place experiments at the edge of space at exceptionally low cost.

Quest for Stars and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education have now joined together to promote the use of these low cost delivery systems. This mission will be the first of what is hoped to be many future collaborations.

- First Photos: Shuttle Discovery's Trail Into Space As Seen from Over 70,000 Feet in a Balloon
- Robonaut-1 Balloon Mission Live Video and Mission Updates
- Challenger Center and Quest For Stars Chase Attempt to Photograph Discovery At The Edge of Space

First Photo: Shuttle Discovery's Trail Into Space As Seen from Over 70,000 Feet in a Balloon

"This photo was taken from an an altitude of over 70,000 feet (still being determined exactly) at 5:20 pm EST on 24 February 2011. The camera used was the lowest resolution camera on board the Robonaut-1 balloon - a Motorola Droid X smartphone. You can see the plume left by Space Shuttle Discovery as it headed into space. We will be releasing more images of greater resolution and HD video very soon - all of which show Discovery heading into space. Photo credit (mandatory) Quest for Space/Challenger Center."

Keith's update: We've added a video still taken by a GoPro Hero Motorsport that clearly shows Discovery arcing into orbit. The video (we'll post it soon) clearly shows the Discovery climbing into space.

[Click on image to see flight path]

< Keith's note: The Robonaut-1 balloon has Landed. Updates at @nasawatch

Keith's update: The recovery team found the balloon and payload exactly where they expected it to be (recovery photo). They are heading back to the hotel to start seeing what the cameras and computers captured. We're optimistic that the payload was where we wanted it to be during Discovery's launch.

More information

20-Million Milestone for 100-Year Citizen Science Project

"A citizen science project running for over 100 years reached a key milestone this month when an amateur astronomer contributed the 20 millionth observation of a variable star on February 19, 2011. A variable star changes in brightness over time. Records of these changes can be used to uncover the astrophysical processes within evolving star systems. With a database going back over a century, variable star astronomers have access to a data source unparalleled in astronomy."

Keith's note: This video, "The Sagan Series (Part 2): Life Looks for Life" is the second video by Reid Gower. You may recall that an earlier video of his (the precursor to this one) went uber viral a month or so ago with over 900,000 views on YouTube Alas, NASA was unable to find a way to link to that video then and I doubt that they will find a way to link to this one now. I would very much like to be proven wrong - but I am not holding my breath.

Poignant Video: NASA - The Frontier Is Everywhere (Update), earlier post

Keith's update: To be fair, NASA Is not ignoring videos like this. In fact with Mr. Gower's previous video they did try and find a way to link to it or acknowledge it. This is where NASA's notoriously inconsistent official party poopers, the lawyers, come in. The issue has to do with the sources of imagery and sounds that Mr. Gower has used. This video is a mash-up - a compilation of sampled images, music, and vocals assembled from a variety of sources. Although Mr. Gower has been diligent in listing his sources, NASA's issue is whether he actually has their formal permission to use these materials. The Fair Use Doctrine does enter into this - somewhat - except some works are sampled in great part - like Carl Sagan's voice and the background music. NASA has gotten clearance from the organizations that guard recording artist issues to allow things such wake up songs and other copyright items to be used since NASA is not out to make a profit and uses these works for education purposes.

Life is a montage of other people's stuff - but these are the rules that this one government agency tells itself that it must follow in this fashion. But as culture adapts, NASA needs to adapt too. This is not the first video to appear that NASA should pay attention to and it will not be the last. Instead of just staying silent NASA needs to explain why it cannot link to such things. All that continued silence does is to support the premise made by many (like me) that NASA doesn't "get it". NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Public Outreach Alan Ladwig has stopped by here to make comments on this topic. Perhaps NASA Watch readers could offer him some solutions to this problem - and some encouragement. He's trying.

The Conrad Foundation announces finalists for the 2011 Spirit of Innovation

"Officials with The Conrad Foundation today announced 27 high school teams will compete in the finals for the 2011 Spirit of Innovation Awards. The annual competition, presented by Lockheed Martin Corporation, challenges students to solve real-world problems by creating science and technology based products that can be introduced to the marketplace. This year's competition challenges students to develop new ideas in the areas of aerospace exploration, clean energy and cyber security. The finalist teams in each category include: ..."

Outpouring of Support for Challenger Learning Centers

Leland D. Melvin, NASA Associate Administrator for Education: "As an astronaut, I have a deep connection to the honor and legacy that the Challenger Center for Space Education represents. A theme is evident in both the Challenger Center's mission and the President's Day of Remembrance remarks: triumph from tragedy. These words exemplify the resilience, purpose, and optimism that led to the creation of the Challenger Centers. The Challenger Centers and NASA also have similar values in terms of education, and these goals align with my own personal commitment."

Students Discover A Pulsar

Students Excited by Stellar Discovery , NRAO

"In the constellation of Ophiuchus, above the disk of our Milky Way Galaxy, there lurks a stellar corpse spinning 30 times per second -- an exotic star known as a radio pulsar. This object was unknown until it was discovered last week by three high school students. These students are part of the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC) project, run by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, WV, and West Virginia University (WVU)."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Education category from February 2011.

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