Archives

NASA Hack Space: October 2011


Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Challenge Submission Extension

"Due to requests from high school teams around the world, the entry deadline for the fifth annual Spirit of Innovation Challenge is extended to Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Now, students and coaches have more time to participate in Webinars, communicate with mentors and develop innovative products. The competition is free and it's easy to register. To enter, simply answer four questions about your innovative concept by Nov. 29, 2011. We are excited to announce that select finalists will also win a trip to Rio de Janeiro to participate in Rio+20, a once-in-a-decade opportunity. Act now - create your team TODAY!"

DICE - Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment: DICE will map geomagnetic Storm Enhanced Density (SED) plasma bulge and plume formations in Earth's ionosphere. Two identical spinning spacecraft will measure plasma density and electric fields to determine the how and why of variations in ionospheric plasma density that affect the performance of communications, surveillance, and navigation systems on earth and in space.

Just-launched tiny USU satellites studying solar disturbances, Desert News

"The DICE satellites, known as "nanosatellites," are smaller than a toaster. They were put together by students at Utah State University and launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Delta rocket that also carried NASA's satellite, known as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System."

Twin USU Built Small Satellites Delivered to California for Launch Prep

"Two Utah State University completed Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment (DICE) satellites have been delivered to the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, for final launch readiness. Cal Poly will place the two National Science Foundation funded miniature spacecraft in an ejection canister and verify that the assembly is ready for launch."

AubieSat-1: "AubieSat-1 is the first student built satellite in Alabama. It is a 1U CubeSat: 1000cm3 in volume and weighing 1.03-kg. It is entirely designed and built and tested by Auburn University undergraduate students, without using components off the shelf. It will study radio wave propagation through the ionosphere and test solar panel protective films. It is part of the ELaNa3 Mission."

Radio Aurora Explorer (RAX): "RAX is a joint venture between the University of Michigan and SRI International. Its primary mission objective is to study large plasma formations in the ionosphere, the highest region of our atmosphere. These plasma instabilities are known to spawn magnetic field-aligned irregularities (FAI), or dense plasma clouds known to disrupt communication between Earth and orbiting spacecraft." Twitter: @RAX_2010 Facebook RAX

Michigan Multipurpose Minisat (M-Cubed): "The objective of MCubed is to obtain a mid resolution image to date of Earth with at least 60% land mass and a maximum of 20% cloud coverage from a single cubesat platform. S3FL is also developing the MCubed bus with the intention of making it a heritage design, thus allowing for future missions to be flown on the same bus." Twitter: @UMCubed Tumblr: M-Cubed

Michigan Exploration Laboratory

M-CUBED and RAX Photos below

MSU satellite orbits the Earth after early morning launch

"Early Friday morning, shortly before 4 a.m. Mountain time, a student-built satellite called Explorer-1 [Prime] roared into the sky on a NASA rocket launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Almost two hours later, the satellite separated from the rocket and starting circling the Earth. Within three hours of launch, ham radio operators in France, England and The Netherlands had reported hearing from the satellite. ... Updates on Explorer-1 [Prime] are available on the Montana Space Grant Consortium Facebook page."

NASA's Robotic Lander Development Project in Huntsville, Ala., has successfully completed seven autonomous outdoor flight tests of a lander prototype, dubbed Mighty Eagle. On Oct. 14, Mighty Eagle ascended to three meters, translated 30 feet sideways and turned 90 degrees before setting down safely. On Oct. 17, Mighty Eagle successfully flew to a height of 30 feet, translated sideways 30 feet before landing. These tests are paving the way for a Nov. 4 100-foot flight test.

NASA's Liquid Galaxy: An Overview, open.NASA

"A few months back, Open.Gov Team Lead, Nick Skytland approached me with an idea to implement Google's Liquid Galaxy project at NASA. I was immediately intrigued by the idea, and set forth researching what would be involved. Nick and I collaborated with others at Johnson Space Center (JSC) to come up with a way to implement our own Liquid Galaxy. We also collaborated with people from other NASA centers to come up with ideas to extend the project's functionality, and to apply the same hardware to other activities. In the end, we came up with an exciting eight-display Liquid Galaxy "immersive cave" and a number of ideas to consider for the future."

Note: This Open Government Initiative project (with the support of NASA Forward Maker Camp and the JSC ICA) highlights the intersection of clustered computing, open source, data visualization, and space-is-awesome.

Elon Musk Named Innovator of the Year Award in Technology by WSJ. Magazine

"WSJ. Magazine's first annual Innovator of the Year Awards honors the most creative, disruptive, and influential individuals in the world today. Musk was recognized for revolutionizing three of the biggest industries in the world -- automobiles, energy and space exploration -- simultaneously. Artist Tom Sachs, whose recent work is based on the imagery of space, presented the award to Musk."

Shooting for the Stars, Wall Street Journal

"Musk launched SpaceX in 2002 and built and designed his own engines from scratch. "I'm head engineer and chief designer as well as CEO, so I don't have to cave to some money guy," he says. He launched his rocket with a team of eight in the control room, instead of dozens. The result: He's offering to send a 10,000-pound payload to geosynchronous orbit for $60 million (compared to an industry standard many tens of millions higher).

NASA Robotic Lander Test Flight Nov. 4

"NASA will conduct a 100-foot robotic lander altitude test flight Friday, Nov. 4, to mature the technology needed to develop a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of achieving scientific and exploration goals on the surface of the moon, asteroids or other airless bodies."

NASA Seeks Hosts for Space Station Interactive Education Events

"NASA is seeking proposals from educators who are looking for a unique way to inspire the next generation of explorers. Formal and informal education organizations can apply to host live interactive education downlinks with astronauts onboard the International Space Station. During Expeditions 31 and 32, NASA crew members Don Pettit, Joseph Acaba and Sunita Williams will participate in the 20-minute downlink opportunities. Participants on Earth see and hear the crew members live from space, while the crew hears the questions but does not see the audience."

NASA Request for Information (RFI) - Future Space Validation of Earth Science Technologies

"ESTO is funding several CubeSat-based technology validations as part of a pathfinder process. ESTO is now interested in defining the parameters of a possible future competitive program to space validate selected Earth science technologies. That future program is the focus of this RFI. The program may consist of one or two parts. The first part would be a continuation of the current CubeSat-based validations or validation using suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLV). The second part would be a somewhat more robust program, expanding the class of possible technologies to validate. NASA is issuing this RFI to seek the high-level details of various projects which might fit in either one or the other of these classes."

YouTube Space Lab Competition Expands Panel of Prestigious Judges

"YouTube and Lenovo today announced seven new, prestigious judges have joined YouTube Space Lab, a global science competition and ongoing education program launched by YouTube and Lenovo in conjunction with space agencies throughout the world. The expanded roster of judges, including Anthony Aveni, Ph.D., Russell Colgate Professor of Astronomy at Colgate University; Todd Boyette, Ph.D., director of Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, N.C. and Arimasa Naitoh, chief development officer and vice president in the Product Group at Lenovo, will help select two science experiments designed by students between the ages of 14-18 to be conducted 250 miles above Earth on the International Space Station and live streamed on YouTube in Summer 2012."

23 August 2011: "During a recent test at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., the robotic lander prototype, known as Mighty Eagle, performed a hover test flying up to three feet and then translated, or moved itself sideways, to perform a controlled, safe landing 13 feet from the launch pad." More information.

Experiencing An Event Apart, open.NASA

"The overwhelming message throughout the entire event was that the long-predicted shift in the ways people access the web has happened. Smartphone and tablet usage has skyrocketed over the past few years and users are accessing online resources more and more while they are on the move. However, a website tailored to consumption on a desktop of laptop doesn't necessarily translate well to an iPhone. While I'm proud to say that the entire family of openNASA websites are accessible from pretty much any modern (or, as we learned, legacy) platforms out there, they aren't really optimized to any specific mobile usage. Moving forward, I'd like to start implementing more elements of responsive design into our projects, tailoring the content we present depending on things like browser width."

NASA Seeking Student Experiments For Balloon Flight

"NASA is accepting applications from graduate and undergraduate university students to fly experiments to the edge of space on a scientific balloon. This balloon flight competition is a joint project between NASA and the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE) in Baton Rouge. NASA is targeting fall 2012 for the next flight opportunity for the LaSPACE maintained High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) facility. HASP is a balloon-borne instrument stack that provides an annual near-space flight opportunity for 12 undergraduate and graduate student-built instruments."

JP Aerospace Airship Flies to the Edge of Space, Smashing the Existing World Altitude Record

"On Saturday morning, October 22, 2011, The Tandem airship was launched from Nevada's Black Rock desert. The airship flew to 95,085 feet, higher than any airship in history. After fighting through extreme turbulence from 40,000 to 60,000 feet, Tandem soared to 95,085 feet. Tandem flew nearly four miles higher than any airship before. The pilot on the ground then remotely turned on the motors and flew the airship through a series of maneuvers. At the end of its mission one balloon burst and the command was sent to release the other balloon. Tandem was then carried to a soft landing by a row of five parachutes."

Replicators Have Arrived, Paul Spudis, Air & Space

"Of all the wonders depicted in science fiction books and movies, one of the most intriguing is the machine that makes anything that you need or desire. Merely enter a detailed plan, or push the button for items programmed into the machine - dials twirl, the machine hums and out pops what you requested. Technology gives us Aladdin's Lamp. A handy device that will find many uses. We're not quite there yet but crude versions of such imagined machines already exist."

LPI Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program

"To help integrate those science priorities with NASA's exploration program, the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) is hosting a special summer intern program to evaluate possible landing sites for robotic and human exploration missions. Two teams of students will work with LPI science staff and other collaborators to evaluate the best landing sites to address each of the NRC's science priorities.  This will be a unique team activity that should foster extensive discussions among students and senior science team members. This Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program will operate parallel with LPI's regular summer intern program."

NASA Awards Grant to Chabot Space & Science Center For Space Weather Exhibition

"The centerpiece of the exhibition will be compelling high resolution imagery of the Sun from NASA's SDO mission, provided to Chabot by Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory. The mesmerizing visualizations of eruptions, flares, prominences, and coronal mass ejections are all the result of colossal magnetic disturbances taking place right next to our planet. Interactive stations in the exhibition will illustrate the outcome of solar storms, displaying colorful aurora, and forecasting geomagnetic storm warnings."

Small But Agile Proba-1 Reaches 10 Years in Orbit, ESA

"A good photographer needs agility. So it is with ESA microsatellite Proba-1, which turns in space to capture terrestrial targets. Celebrating its tenth birthday this week, Proba-1's unique images are used by hundreds of scientific teams worldwide. A technology demonstrator turned into an Earth observation mission, the microsatellite - just a cubic metre in volume - has acquired nearly 20, 000 environmental science images with its main Compact High Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (CHRIS), used by a total of 446 research groups in 60 countries."

"The NASA Airborne Science Program announces the opportunity for highly motivated junior and senior undergraduate and early graduate students to participate in an 8-week summer 2012 internship program in Earth system science using its P-3 flying laboratory. The NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) is managed by the National Suborbital Education and Research Center SARP 2012 will take place in Southern California with research locations based at the University of California, Irvine and at the NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale."

More information

MSU's twin satellite to launch Oct. 28 on NASA rocket

"The twin of a Montana State University student-built satellite that was launched in the spring but failed to reach orbit as a result of an anomaly with the TAURUS-XL rocket is scheduled to be launched Friday, Oct. 28, on another NASA rocket. This miniature research satellite - also called Explorer-1 [Prime] in honor of the first successful U.S. satellite - is set to launch between 3:48 and 3:57 a.m. Mountain time on a Delta II rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Maria, Calif. MSU students and faculty members plan to watch from the Air Force base, as well as from MSU's Space Operations Center in Cobleigh Hall, said Dave Klumpar, director of MSU's Space Science and Engineering Laboratory."

Erich Leeth: This is what space looks like from a weather balloon. We're working on determining exactly what altitude we got to, but I'd put it somewhere near 100,000 feet. Photos on Flickr

You can see about half of the city of Lubbock along the bottom of the photo just right of center.
We launched our little spacecraft (Cygnus) at 9:02am from ‎33° 49' 28"N 102° 53' 56"W, and it touched back down to Earth at 11:56am at 33° 19' 21"N 101° 59' 42"W. 62 miles from where it was released. This image was taken 1 hour and 55 minutes into the flight.

Innovators Sought for DARPA Satellite Servicing Program, DARPA

"More than $300 billion worth of satellites are estimated to be in the geosynchronous orbit (GEO--22,000 miles above the earth). Many of these satellites have been retired due to normal end of useful life, obsolescence or failure; yet many still have valuable components, such as antennas, that could last much longer than the life of the satellite. When satellites in GEO "retire," they are put into a GEO disposal or "graveyard" orbit. DARPA's Phoenix program seeks to develop technologies to cooperatively harvest and re-use valuable components from retired, nonworking satellites in GEO and demonstrate the ability to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost."

Yuri's Night Announces Partnership With National Space Society

"Yuri's Night, the World Space Party, today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Space Society (NSS) that provides for cooperation and joint activities between the two organizations. The MOU calls for the NSS and Yuri's Night to promote each other's organization to its respective members. The NSS will help promote Yuri's Night to its membership and Yuri's Night in turn will promote the NSS to participants in the World Space Party. In addition, Yuri's Night event organizers are encouraged to work with local NSS representatives and members in the planning of their events."

Dayton City Paper Donates Full Page Ad to Space Shuttle Enterprise Petition Effort

"The quest to land retired Space Shuttle Enterprise at the National Museum of the United States Air Force received a major boost when Paul Noah, the publisher of the Dayton City Paper, donated a full page ad supporting the White House petition effort in the Oct. 18th LWV voters guide issue.

The petition launched two weeks ago, has picked up approximately 3,500 supporters and will need to earn a total of 5,000 signatures by October 30th in order to receive consideration from the Obama administration.

View the petition at "We The People" at WhiteHouse.gov"

Video: ESA Astronaut Cave Crew Returns to Earth

"Take five astronauts and instead of sending them into space take them underground. ESA's CAVES venture prepares astronauts to work in an international team under real exploration conditions. The latest 'crew' has returned after six days in the dark."

open.NASA.gov: Analyzing the vast amount of data that NASA brings back from its missions is an enormous task. In order to improve collaboration internally, as well as engage citizens in NASA's mission, the Open Government team is experimenting with different ways to process mission data quickly. The NASA OpenGov team has enlisted the help of established NASA partners Zooniverse and Vizzuality, who have pioneered the analysis of large datasets through crowdsourcing, using the power of elegant interfaces, to engage citizen scientists in the NEEMO mission.

Using a new platform which takes a square kilometer of ocean-bottom imagery and parses it out into an easily navigable, compelling user interface, we humbly ask you to help find scientifically relevant items, in order to allow us to outline them for a broad representation of the reef. Then, traverse planning scientists can then use this aggegated data to target, or confirm the interest items for further study. We can't do this kind of science on our own. We need your help today and again when we send humans beyond the surly bonds of Earth.

The spashdown of the crew on Thursday will also mark the official launch of our beta site at neemo.zooniverse.org, part of the new Zooniverse Labs arena. Please keep in mind that we are still in beta for the site, and the site may be down periodically. If you find this to be the case, check out the NEEMO mission page for a while and come back soon!

More information on open.NASA at at Crowdsourcing Science at NEEMO-15

Jim Rice, NASA Mars Landing Site Specialist

"Jim Rice, now a veteran of the site-selection process, got his first taste in 1994 with NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission. "I was just a graduate student then, and I can't tell you how excited I was," he says. "It was the first mission to land on Mars in more than 20 years, and my site was chosen for the landing!"

Mind Reading Computer System May Allow Paralyzed People To Communicate and Control Robots, NSF

"Imagine living a life in which you are completely aware of the world around you but you're prevented from engaging in it because you are completely paralyzed. Even speaking is impossible. For an estimated 50,000 Americans, this is a harsh reality. It's called locked-in syndrome, a condition in which people with normal cognitive brain activity suffer severe paralysis, often from injuries or an illness such as Lou Gehrig's disease."

Think about this: this is clearly one of the major steps in the path toward creading the human/machine interface used inthe film "Avatar" wherein a paraplegic person was able to remotely control an "avatar" body. The same technology could aid astronauts n the operation of various robotic vehicles in remote and hazardous locations.

A Pre-Mission Conversation With NASA NEEMO Aquanaut Steve Squyres

"I had a chance to chat with NEEMO 15 crew member Steve Squyres today as he waits out some bad weather before his 13 day underwater mission begins. According to Steve its looking like Thursday before they can "splash down" and begin their mission."

Winners of Space App Competition announced

"Space technology experts from Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) and the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) have announced the four lucky winners of the 'Space App Competition' who will see their Android Applications run on smartphone-powered satellite STRaND-1, due for launch into space next year. Applying through a competition held on Facebook, the four winners were chosen for their app's scientific benefits, their creativity, or the app's ability to get young people enthusiastic about science and technology."

NASA, NIA Announce 2012 Student Rover Contest

"NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) are launching a 2012 undergraduate and graduate level student robotics competition. The RASC-AL (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage) Exploration Robo-Ops Student Challenge will allow up to eight teams to compete at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) next spring. The prize is $10,000 and a chance to attend the popular analog and robotics testing event, NASA Desert Rats, in fall 2012."

NASA ARC Internal Memo: ARCTek 2012: Keeping Ames at the Cutting Edge of Technology

"The Nation needs innovation in order to remain economically strong. Innovation is a priority for the Administration. And innovative technologies will enable the Agency to achieve its science and exploration goals. But: how do we keep ARC innovative? How do we maintain our reputation as NASA's "go-to" Center for innovation? How do we stay at the nation's technology cutting edge?"

Seeking a New Name for Transformed Scientific Icon - The Very Large Array

"The most famous radio telescope in the world is about to get a new name. The Very Large Array, known around the world, isn't what it used to be. The iconic radio telescope, known around the world through movies, documentaries, music videos, newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, textbooks, and thousands of scientific papers, is nearing the completion of an amazing transformation. More than a decade of effort has replaced the VLA's original, 1970s-vintage electronics with modern, state-of-the-art equipment. And so it's time, the Observatory has decided, to give this transformed scientific facility a new name to reflect its new capabilities."

Announcing the data.nasa.gov API, open.NASA

"We're excited today to announce the launch of our Data API for data.nasa.gov, the collaborative online database of NASA datasets we launched in August. The data.nasa.gov API allows a machine-readable interface to return metadata from the site organized by category, tag, date, or search term. We're hoping this allows new and creative visualizations of the data resources NASA provides to the public. Additionally, it is a learning experience for us as we work to expand transparency, participation, and collaboration at NASA through new uses of technology. You can view documentation on the API directly on data.nasa.gov. As this (like all of our project) is a continual work-in-progress, we would love your feedback on the tool and your ideas on how you would improve access to NASA's public data."


Team America Rocketry Challenge Registration Opens

"Registration for the world's largest student rocket competition is open now through November 30. The Team America Rocketry Challenge will accept up to 1,000 student teams in grades 7-12 from any U.S. school, home school or non-profit youth organization. The 2012 contest rules and registration information are available at www.rocketcontest.org."

On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Derek Deville's Qu8k (pronounced "Quake") launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000' before returning safely to earth. Above 99% of the atmosphere the sky turns black in the middle of the day and the curvature of the earth is clearly visible.

Photos

The Space Generation Advisory Council Holds Impressive 10th Anniversary Congress

"The Space Generation Congress (SGC), organized by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), held its 10th annual event for the first time in the continent of Africa. SGC 2011 was held from September 29 to October 1, 2011, just prior to the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Cape Town, South Africa. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, SGAC organized and executed their biggest event since their foundation at UNISPACE III. With a 30% increase in the number of delegates since last year, SGC 2011 brought together 130 students and young professionals from 42 countries and six continents."

NASA Announces Two National Student Science Competitions

"NASA is offering students the opportunity to compete in two microgravity challenges: "Dropping In a Microgravity Environment," or DIME, and "What If No Gravity?" or WING. DIME is a team competition for high school students in the ninth through 12th grades. WING is a competition for student teams from the fifth through eighth grades. Both are project-oriented activities that last throughout the school year for the selected teams."

KickSat -- Your personal spacecraft in space!, Kickstarter

"My goal is to bring down the huge cost of spaceflight, allowing anyone from a curious high school student or basement tinkerer to a professional scientist to explore what has until now been the exclusive realm of governments and large companies. By shrinking the spacecraft, we can fit more into a single launch slot and split the costs many ways. I want to make it easy enough and affordable enough for anyone to explore space."

Amateur Skywatchers Help ESA's Space Hazards Team

"For the first time, observations coordinated by ESA's space hazards team have found an asteroid that comes close enough to Earth to pose an impact threat. The space rock was found by amateur astronomers, highlighting the value of 'crowd-sourcing' to science and planetary defence. The discovery of asteroid 2011 SF108 was made by the volunteer Teide Observatory Tenerife Asteroid Survey (TOTAS) team during an observation slot sponsored by ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme in September."

"What's Next?" in space exploration - Coalition for Space Exploration announces video contest

"During this historic time of change within the space industry, the Coalition for Space Exploration (Coalition) wants to hear from the American public about what they envision for the future of space exploration. The Coalition is launching a contest based on a simple question, "What's Next?" Participants are encouraged to share their ideas for the future direction of America's space program in a video. The creator of the winning video entry wins an iPad2."

NASA Releases New Interactive Space Communications Game

"NASA has released an interactive, educational video game called NetworKing that depicts how the Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) network operates. Developed by the Information Technology Office at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., NetworKing gives players an insider's perspective into how astronauts, mission controllers and scientists communicate during space missions."

YouTube SpaceLab Lifts Off With Lenovo Aboard

"Six regional finalists will gather in Washington, D.C., in March 2012 to experience a ZERO-G flight and receive other prizes. From them, two global winners, one from each age group, will be announced and later have their experiments performed 250 miles above Earth and live streamed on YouTube. Additionally, the global winners will get to choose a unique space experience as a prize: either a trip to Tanegashima Island, Japan, to watch their experiment blast off in a rocket bound for the ISS, or once they are 18 years old, a one-of-a-kind astronaut training experience in Star City, Russia, the training center for Russian cosmonauts."

Getting Science Beyond the Research Community: Examples of Education and Outreach from the IceCube Project

"The IceCube collaboration has built an in-ice neutrino telescope and a surface detector array, IceTop, at the South Pole. Over 5000 digital optical modules have been deployed in a cubic kilometer of ice between 1450 and 2450 m below the surface. The novel observatory provides a new window to explore the universe. The combination of cutting-edge discovery science and the exotic Antarctic environment is an ideal vehicle to excite and engage a wide audience. Examples of how the international IceCube Collaboration has brought the Universe to a broader audience via the South Pole are described."

Subtly Shaded Map of the Moon Reveals Titanium Treasure Troves

"A map of the Moon combining observations in visible and ultraviolet wavelengths shows a treasure trove of areas rich in titanium ores. Not only is titanium a valuable element, it is key to helping scientists unravel the mysteries of the Moon's interior. The new map is a valuable tool for lunar exploration planning. Astronauts will want to visit places with both high scientific value and a high potential for resources that can be used to support exploration activities. Areas with high titanium provide both -- a pathway to understanding the interior of the Moon and potential mining resources," said Robinson."

Defense Department looks to crowd-source new drone innovations, Washington Post

"Called UAVForge, the competition is open to individuals, such as scientists, engineers or aircraft hobbyists, as well as to teams of contestants. The task is to come up with ideas for a small, silent aircraft that could be controlled from two miles away and monitor people or cars in an urban area for up to two hours while sending back still photos or video."

UAVForge, DARPA

NASA Announcement of Mission of Opportunity for Secondary Payload on EcAMSat NanoSatellite Flight Opportunity

"The International Space Station Utilization Office currently has 2U Mission of opportunity payload capacity available on the EcAMSat launch mission planned for Summer of 2012. This launch opportunity will be open to all Ames individuals or groups with technology that meets the interface requirements as described in the attached file and will be ready for integration by the project March 21, 2012, CDR date."

The Astronaut's Secret, Kickstarter

"What is "The Astronaut's Secret"? "The Astronaut's Secret" will be a 30 minute documentary about the life of Astronaut Rich Clifford. It will uncover how he and NASA kept his Parkinson's Disease a secret for 17 years, explore the impact of the end of the Shuttle Program on Rich's life, and follow him as he speaks nationwide about the importance of Early Detection of Parkinson's Disease."

The Astronaut's Secret, official website

Keith's note: I just donated $100. Rich has a compelling story to tell.

Planets Found in Decade-Old Hubble Data

"In a painstaking re-analysis of Hubble Space Telescope images from 1998, astronomers have found visual evidence for two extrasolar planets that went undetected back then. Finding these hidden gems in the Hubble archive gives astronomers an invaluable time machine for comparing much earlier planet orbital motion data to more recent observations. It also demonstrates a novel approach for planet hunting in archival Hubble data."

Be like Steve Jobs. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

"Steve Jobs was 6 months older than me. I am certainly not done with life. Given his tectonic impact, he was clearly not ready either - even if he had faced his fate."

X PRIZE Foundation Announces Three-Year, Multi-Million Dollar Sponsorship with Shell for Prizes Promoting Exploration of Space, Oceans and Land

"The X PRIZE Foundation, the leading nonprofit organization solving the world's Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, global incentivized competitions, today announced Shell as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the X PRIZE Exploration Prize Group, which aims to foster innovation through exploration to improve life on Earth. During the three-year, nine million dollar sponsorship, the X PRIZE Foundation will address these objectives through its incentive prize model to stimulate innovation, competition and collaboration at the frontiers of space, our earth and its oceans."

Yuri's Night Announces 2012 Slogan: "Make An Impact"

"Yuri's Night 2012: Make an Impact" calls on event organizers and attendees around the world to both remember the impact of space travel on human society and make their own impact locally through their Yuri's Night event. The slogan also slyly hints at the hype surrounding 2012 as the year of the supposed Mayan end-of-the-world prophesies."

Monkeys move virtual arm with their minds, CNN

"Remember the hit movie Avatar, where the human brain alone could control a lifelike hybrid body, seeing what it sees and feeling what it feels? Scientists at Duke University are one step closer to making that concept a reality, with important applications for medicine. They have developed a system through which a monkey can control a virtual arm with its brain and also feel sensations from the appendage. The ultimate goal is to build a robotic body suit controlled entirely by brain activity, which will provide tactile feedback to the wearer, says Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, study co-author and neuroscientist at Duke University. This could potentially enable quadriplegic individuals and people with locked-in syndrome to move, walk and feel textures with robotic hands and feet."

Think about this: The same technology could allow intimate interactions with robotic systems in remote locations in space and on other worlds. It could also allow exoskeletons to operate with humans inside on worlds with higher gravity levels.

Researchers Transform iPhone Into High-quality Medical Imaging Device, Optical Society of America

"In a feat of technology tweaking that would rival MacGyver, a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis has transformed everyday iPhones into medical-quality imaging and chemical detection devices. With materials that cost about as much as a typical app, the decked-out smartphones are able to use their heightened senses to perform detailed microscopy and spectroscopy."

Virtual Institutes to Support the Scientific Collaborations of the Future

"The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI), an effort to motivate collaboration among scientists and educators around the globe to spur scientific discovery. By connecting researchers with common interests and goals, SAVI can better leverage taxpayer resources while helping to address some of society's most vexing problems. Building on beneficial partnerships initiated by NSF-supported researchers, research institutes and universities, SAVI projects will address common challenges and serve as creative hubs for innovative research and education activities across borders."

Keith's note: The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) has recently release a large number of standards designed to structure the creation of a "vrtual observatory" that spans efforts by many individuals and organzations across the world. According to their website: "The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) was formed in June 2002 with a mission to "facilitate the international coordination and collaboration necessary for the development and deployment of the tools, systems and organizational structures necessary to enable the international utilization of astronomical archives as an integrated and interoperating virtual observatory." The IVOA now comprises 19 VO programs from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States and inter-governmental organizations (ESA and ESO). Membership is open to other national and international programs according to the IVOA Guidelines for Participation."

A large number of updated standards were posted today at astro-ph (listed below):

ISS-Notify - The Space Station Light, Kickstarter

"Human space flight is an awesome part of living in the future. But why does it still seem so abstract? There are people in space right now! Did you know that? Do you know how many there are? ISS-Notify is a simple attempt at making our space program more real. Many times a day the international space station passes overhead unnoticed. Often it happens during the day when it's too bright to see the tiny dot in the sky. So this light will pulse and shine whenever the station is overhead -- making the invisible visible. This started as a simple weekend project because I thought it would be cool. I finished it in only 4 days! The response has been overwhelming. Everyone says "I want one"! I've heard from space geeks, teachers, NASA employees, and just about everyone in between."

Keith's note: An interesting new website International Space Station Live!, hosted at JSC, is now online. It displays a variety of telemetry and data feeds from the ISS. Much of the data is realtime or close to real time and will offer people a chance to look over the shoulders of the people operating - and working aboard - the ISS.

Keith's note: In the very near future NASA, Google, and computer manufacturer Lenovo are set to announce an interesting educational project. As I understand the gist of the effort from various sources, students will be asked to come up with ideas for experiments that can be performed on the ISS and submit a video via YouTube that describes their idea. Winners will be selected and the experiments described in the videos will actually be performed aboard the ISS. This is an interesting way to get novel ideas onboard the ISS - and possibly to spark careers. Moreover, it is a way to show that the ISS has utility beyond the experiments proposed by a small cadre of insiders.

NASA Selects Technology Payloads For Reduced-Gravity Flights

"NASA has selected nine proposals to demonstrate new technologies for the second set of payloads to fly on commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles and the Zero-G commercial parabolic aircraft. NASA is using commercially available vehicles to carry these technology demonstration payloads to help develop the U.S. commercial reusable suborbital transportation industry."

NASA Invites Students to Name Moon-Bound Spacecraft

"NASA has a class assignment for U.S. students: help the agency give the twin spacecraft headed to orbit around the moon new names. The naming contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade at schools in the United States. Entries must be submitted by teachers using an online entry form. Length of submissions can range from a short paragraph to a 500-word essay. The entry deadline is Nov. 11."

NASA To Seek Applicants For Next Astronaut Candidate Class

"In early November, NASA will seek applicants for its next class of astronaut candidates who will support long-duration missions to the International Space Station and future deep space exploration activities. After applicant interviews and evaluations, NASA expects to announce the final selections in 2013, and training to begin that August."

NASA Needs to Preserve Skilled Astronaut Corps In Post-Shuttle Era, Says New Report

Keith's note: DARPA is hosting a conference for its 100 Year Starship project between 30 September - 2 October in Orlando. The agenda is interesting and ecclectic. We'll be onsite at the conference covering this event via live blogging here at NASAHackSpace.com. You can also follow via Twitter at @NASAhackSpace or see Tweets from other participants on Twitter via the hashtag #100yss.

The transcript is posted below.