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Volume 18 – February 26, 2010


Book Signing Events

The book is finally here! Anousheh and Homer's book, My Dream of Stars will be on the shelves in just a few days.  The first book signing events will start right away as follows: (Please click on the event to visit their sites)

My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer is the name of the book coming out March 2010. The book is written by Anousheh Ansari and Homer Hickam. Homer H Hickam, Jr., author, Vietnam veteran, and a former NASA engineer is the author of a number of best-selling memoirs and novels including his autobiographical and widely-read novel Rocket Boys, later made into the movie: October Sky.

In her memoir, Anousheh recalls her long path to success and to achieving her dream. She tells the readers of the prejudices and obstacles she had to overcome as well as her determination and hope, and the love and support that made it possible. It's Anousheh' s hope that her personal story would encourage and inspire people around the globe, especially the younger generation, to strive to overcome any barriers holding them back from their dreams.

To learn more about the book:

Wireless Powerplant in Your Backyard!
There is a new claim to clean energy source and this time it is under the title of Bloom Energy. In the 1990's Dr. KR Sridhar and his team were working at NASA toward creating a technology that could sustain life on Mars. Their research resulted in a device that could produce air and fuel from electricity or electricity from air and fuel. Realizing the impact of this technology, after the end of the Mars project in 2001, the team continued the research with the goal to make clean and reliable energy.

In their press release, on the occasion of its official launch on February 24, 2010, Bloom Energy Corporation, announced the availability of their "technology that provides cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable alternative to both today's electric grid as well as traditional renewable energy sources."

"Built using abundant and affordable materials, Bloom's fuel cell technology is .... distinct in four primary ways: it uses lower cost materials, provides unmatched efficiency, has the ability to run on a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels, and is more easily deployed and maintained."

Among their customers one can see the names of industry-leading customers Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, eBay, Google, FedEx, Staples, and Walmart. They each "have deployed the solution to lower and/or fix their energy costs, while significantly cutting their carbon footprint and enhancing their energy security by reducing their dependence on the grid. "

To learn more please visit:


Kepler Mission To Date 

The centuries old quest for other worlds like our Earth has been rejuvenated by the intense excitement and popular interest surrounding the discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other stars. The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets, in the habitable zone of sun-like stars, especially those with liquid water on the surface.

The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone.

The scientific objective of the Kepler Mission is to explore the structure and diversity of planetar systems to determine the percentage of terrestrial and larger planets and the distribution of sizes and shapes of their orbits as well as to estimate the number of planets in multiple-star systems among others.

Since its launch almost a year ago on March 6, 2009, Kepler has discovered five Exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system demonstrating the effectiveness and precision of the Mission. Another aspect that demonstrates the scientific, technical workings of this mission is its "safe mode events". Till now, Kepler has experienced 4 safe mode events.

A safe mode is a self-protective measure that the spacecraft takes when something unexpected occurs. During safe mode, the spacecraft points the solar panels directly at the sun and begins to slowly rotate about a sun-aligned axis. As a safety precaution, the spacecraft turns off a redundant system, photometer, and both star trackers.

On February 2nd, the last safe mode experience to date, Engineers immediately began telemetry analysis to determind the cause of the malfunction. After a thorough examination they successfully recovered the vehicle from safe mode and the spacecraft resumed collecting scientific date on Feb, 2010.

To learn more and to read the monthly updates, please visit:


NASA Inventions In Our Daily Lives
From its inception in 1958, NASA was required to benefit all people with its research and advancements. Looking back at the numerous technologies and gadgets used today in everyday lives, we can state with certainty that NASA has stayed true to this purpose.

Just a simple search on the internet provides pages and pages of links of inventions that belong to NASA, either directly or as spin off. There are about 6300 patents stemming from NASA research and of course they can't all be lsited, but here are a few: invisible braces, ear thermometer, fire fighter equipments, sports equipments, long distance telecommunications, adjustable smoke detector, cordless tools, water filters.

Just to get you started here are 4 links to sites with different lists of NASA spin offs.


What If Competition!

The What If Competition 2009-2010 is a competition for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. This year the contestants have written an essay on how to help the crew of Space Peace Mission 1 (SPM-1) who are stranded in space. As of February 19th, the deadline for the entries, the total number of entries are 39. The participants will receive updates and announcements about the judging date via email.  To Learn more about the prizes, rules, and other details please visit: http://www.whatifprize.org/  .



Anousheh's Favorite Quote:

"A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

   Lao-Tzu (the Way of Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher, 604-531 BC)