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NASA Astronaut Aboard Space Station to Answer Questions from High School Students

nasa astronaut aboard space station to answer questions from high school students

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, currently aboard the International Space Station, will answer questions posed by high school students from across the nation this week. The educational downlink event will air live at 12:25 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 2, on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Cassidy will answer prerecorded questions selected from high school students participating in the Society for Science & the Public’s Science News in High Schools program, which provides access to Science News magazine to more than 5,000 schools nationwide. The society, which seeks to expand scientific literacy and research through STEM competitions, journalism, outreach, and equity programs, is coordinating the question and answer session. Participating students will use news articles and related educational resources to learn about collaborative research studies completed by astronauts on the space station to prepare questions for the event.
Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance, and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Astronauts living in space on the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the Space Network’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).
For nearly 20 years, astronauts have continuously …

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Space Foundation to celebrate World Space Week with virtual and in-person programs

space foundation to celebrate world space week with virtual and in-person programs

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The Space Foundation will present a weeklong series of virtual and in-person events under the banner “Space Unites,” to celebrate World Space Week, starting Oct. 5.According to a news release from the Space Foundation, the events will be “inclusive to all — families, students, young professionals, and anyone else with an appreciation for how the pursuit of space has benefited humanity.”Many of the programs will be conducted online, though some will be held at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs. “Space access and opportunity are created by imagination, ingenuity, and collaboration of daring and like-minded people,” Tom Zelibor, CEO of the Space Foundation, said in the release.“We will celebrate the full spectrum of those possibilities during World Space Week and show there is space for everyone within this expanding and adventurous global community. That’s part of our mission at Space Foundation.”Program highlights include:”Audience with an Astronaut” featuring former NASA astronaut Duane “Digger” Carey.11-year-old author James Collier III reading his space-themed anti-bullying comic.”Drone soccer” competitions, in-person at the Space Foundation Discovery Center “Technology of Satellites” and “Galactic Farming” programsVirtual induction ceremony for the Space Technology Hall of Fame’s 2020 classLive “Space Unites” virtual event featuring …

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NASA Grant

nasa grant

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Ohio Wesleyan Professor Earns Federal Funding to Continue Plant-Gravity Research

S. Chris Wolverton, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University professor S. Chris Wolverton has earned a three-year, $449,921 NASA grant to help advance the agency’s “understanding of how living systems respond, acclimate, and adapt to the space environment in support of human space exploration,” NASA announced.
Wolverton’s work will continue NASA-funded research he previously conducted, which included sending plants to the International Space Station in 2017 to explore how they grow under different gravitational conditions. His new research will follow up on the insights gained from the space experiment and extend it in new directions.
“Unlike the previous project, in which much of the work was focused on preparing to do an experiment in space, this project is entirely ground-based and entirely at Ohio Wesleyan,” said Wolverton, Ph.D., professor of Botany and Microbiology. “But just like last time, OWU students will be front and center, conducting experiments and analyzing mutants, looking for new genes that regulate root growth responses.
“We take it for granted that plant roots will grow down and shoots will grow up,” said Wolverton, who joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 2002, “but we don’t …

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Do Black Lives Matter in Outer Space?

do black lives matter in outer space?

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On May 30, I tuned in to see the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Dragon, the first spacecraft to launch from U.S. soil in nearly a decade, was to herald the dawn of a new age of space colonization.
As I watched the astronauts on TV clad in futuristic designer-made suits prepare for blastoff, my mind was flooded with memories of my childhood in Jamaica. As a young girl in the 1990s, I spent hours poring over my Childcraft encyclopedias. I particularly loved the thick, brightly colored volume titled Our Universe, where I could bury my head in the stars and nurture my obsession with planets and black holes.
Moments after the SpaceX launch, the broadcasted words of President Donald Trump jolted me out of my reverie. He was giving a speech to the crowd gathered for the launch. “The United States has regained our place of prestige as the world leader,” he announced.
The president’s usual bluster-filled language about American greatness rang particularly hollow that day at Cape Canaveral. At that exact moment, hundreds of thousands of Americans were protesting in response to the horrific killing of George Floyd, an African American …

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Japan, U.S. astronauts “ready to fly” in Oct. 31 SpaceX mission

japan, u.s. astronauts “ready to fly” in oct. 31 spacex mission

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Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and his American peers on Tuesday expressed their readiness and excitement to fly aboard a spacecraft developed by U.S. aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, currently scheduled for liftoff on Oct. 31.
“We are ready to fly,” Noguchi told a joint press conference with the crew ahead of what would be the second manned mission for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, while pointing out the diversity of the team members with various experiences and backgrounds as their strength.

(From R) JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi and NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker are seated in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during a training session. (Photo courtesy of SpaceX)(Kyodo)

The upcoming mission will mark the first in a series of regular, rotational flights to the International Space Station by SpaceX’s new crew transportation system following its certification by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Upon the first launch with astronauts of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in May, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch humans into orbit. Two NASA astronauts safely returned in August.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the next Crew-1 mission will be another “critical milestone” in the development of U.S. ability to launch astronauts …

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Inclusion And Diversity In Space Exploration

inclusion and diversity in space exploration

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NASA scientist Geronimo Villanueva. Photo: NASA

Stay up to date on coronavirus coverage: Listen to WMFE on your radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” or “WMFE” and you’ll be connected.

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Android | NASA and other space and science agencies are striving to diversify their workforces, but there’s still a long way to go. As the country grapples with racial inequality, so do these organizations. Are We There Yet’s Nelly Ontiveros speaks with NASA scientist Geronimo Villanueva during Hispanic Heritage month to talk about efforts to get a more diverse group of STEM students and professionals and what the future corps of deep space explorers might look like.
Then, when talking about future exploration ambitions, language matters. The Atlantic’s Marina Koren writes about the language of space policy leaders, and how it shapes the direction of programs and the perception of space exploration. We’ll talk with Koren about her latest piece which examines the Trump administration’s language of ‘manifest destiny’ and its effects on space policy.

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U.S. astronaut crew on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to cast ballots from space

u.s. astronaut crew on spacex’s crew dragon to cast ballots from space

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By Joey Roulette2 Min ReadWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three NASA astronauts launching next month on SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon mission plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election from the International Space Station, the crew said Tuesday as they named the spacecraft “Resilience.”SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience capsule will carry NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the space station Oct. 31 as the company’s first non-test mission after completing a successful two-man preliminary mission last summer.“All of us are planning on voting from space,” Walker told a news conference, explaining that the three U.S. astronauts will fill out an electronic PDF file aboard the station some 250 miles above Earth and email it to elections officials.The crew’s more than six month mission in space, enabled by SpaceX’s new gumdrop-shaped Crew Dragon space capsule, comes as NASA regains its capability of sending astronauts to space after nearly a decade-long dependence on Russia’s Soyuz vehicles.Following tradition from SpaceX’s last crewed mission named “Endeavor,” which ended in August with a successful splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico, Hopkins said the crew chose the name “Resilience” as …

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Can space exploration motivate students to learn science?

can space exploration motivate students to learn science?

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Whether it is the acceptance of different passions, backgrounds, or even favorite movies, diversity matters. A group of ten researchers who noticed the positive correlation between motivation and academic success created the Ad Astra Academy to teach astrobiology abroad. They educated students from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to test if the academy’s program and lecture series would increase the students’ motivation within school settings. 
The program was conducted twice, once in 2015 and again in 2018, and used a mixture of team-based projects within the topic of space science to engage the students. The scientists hypothesized that through short interventions held within a short period of time, they could change the nature of students’ motivation and thus their career plans.
The scientists selected 20 teenage students to participate in each of the programs. The curriculum involved lectures, field trips, and interactive exercises which were led by an international team and a local team. The international team was made up of American and Brazilian scientists, and the local team was made up of only Brazilian scientists. The study coordinators were curious to see how the combination of local and international teams could influence student motivation.
In the 2015 program, there were …

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A better way to search for traces of life on Mars — and beyond! (op-ed)

a better way to search for traces of life on mars — and beyond! (op-ed)

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Patrick Gasda is a staff scientist in the Space Science and Applications group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. As a member of the OrganiCam team, he works with team leader Roger Wiens to study the geochemistry and astrobiology of Europa. The concept phase of OrganiCam is being funded by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. Gasda contributed this article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.In the disappointing absence of little green aliens on one of Jupiter’s moons or a canal-building civilization on Mars, hunting for life beyond Earth stretches our scientific and technological prowess to the limits. If we do find life out there, it will be tiny, on the molecular scale.After a successful launch in late July, NASA’s Perseverance rover is sailing silently through space on its seven-month journey to Mars, where it will scour Jezero Crater for evidence of habitability and life. In this peaceful interlude before the rover’s Red Planet touchdown early next year, we have time to think about future missions seeking life on other planetary bodies across the solar system. Related: 6 most likely places for alien life in the solar systemThose missions will hunt for biological organic molecules, the carbon-based building …

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Japanese space agency eyes turning water ice into fuel for exploration

japanese space agency eyes turning water ice into fuel for exploration

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The Japanese space agency, JAXA, announced on Monday that it wants to explore the moon sometime in the mid-2030s. The agency is eyeing a plan that would allow it to use hydrogen generated by water extracted from ice deposits on the moon as fuel. JAXA and NASA are both eyeing this plan as using fuel created from water ice on the moon could significantly reduce costs.

Japan intends to work with the US to build a lunar orbit space station Gateway in the 2020s and to construct a fuel factory at the lunar South Pole around 2035. The fuel would be used to power reusable spacecraft to carry four astronauts to and from the Gateway and power a transport vehicle that could travel up to 1000 kilometers on the Moon’s surface. The water would be turned into fuel by splitting the water into its oxygen and hydrogen components using solar power.
Once the fuel was created, the transport vehicle would allow four astronauts to explore the lunar surface on a much broader scale than astronauts of the past. JAXA estimates 37 tons of water would be necessary for a trip to and from the gateway, and 21 tons would be needed for …

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