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Volume 20 – April 26, 2010


Book Signing Events

My Dream of Stars is out and up to a great start. Anousheh has attended a number of book signing events. The next one will be held on April 9th, 2010 at Books Inc. in Mountain View, California. For more information visit their website at:


  1. April 30: X PRIZE special event: TweetUp with “ My Dream of Stars” Anousheh Ansari http://thelaunchpad.xprize.org/2010/04/special-event-x-prize-foundation.html
  2. May 1: Book signing at B&N in Costa Mesa , CA   http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/66393
My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer is the name of the book that came 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:

Water on Moon

As you may have read in the news, the latest analysis of data gathered by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft  strongly indicated the presence of water on Moon.  "The emerging picture from the multiple measurements and resulting data of the instruments on lunar missions indicates that water creation, migration, deposition and retention are occurring on the moon," said Paul Spudis, principal investigator of the Mini-SAR experiment at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston.

While presence of water had been suspected in other studies, the new surprising discovery is the large quantity of ice as well as the seeming water cycle on Moon. According to Spudis, "if you converted those craters' water into rocket fuel, you'd have enough fuel to launch the equivalent of one space shuttle per day for more than 2000 years".

Although we might still be years away from a moon colony but this discovery could certainly bring that vision closer to us. for more information please visit:




Water on Earth

While Scientists are busy finding water on Moon and beyond, Earth is still faced with water shortage around the globe. There are many nations that are deprived of this very basic human necessity. However, there are also  many visionaries and inventors who persist on their quest to conserve water to make it more available to Earth inhabitants. Here are a few of them.

Inspired by bird excrement (yes that's bird poop), a Dutch entrepreneur named Pieter Hoff has invented a "water battery", Groasis Waterboxx, to improve farming in dry regions. His invention is a 20-inch by 10-inch box that captures water from the air, much the same way excrement protects seeds that birds have digested.

In the bird model, the excrement provides humidity and shelter from the elements so the seeds can grow. In Hoff's model, the box surrounds the young plant and at night an insulation plate allows it to harvest water through condensation.  To make it even more effective, the lid also captures rainwater. A "wick" in the box delivers small amounts of water onto the plant daily until the plant can grow and reach deeper reserves underground.  At which time the box is lifted and reused for another plant. The Groasis is still a work in progress, and Hoff is perfecting it to become a completely "green" invention.  However Mr. Hoff just recently completed a 3-year testing in deserts of Morocco with remarkable results. To read more about this invention please visit:  http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/09/developing-a-water-battery-for-trees/

In some parts of the world, the problem with available water does not lie in the quantity but in the quality of water. There are millions of people on Earth who don't have access to "clean water".  Most purifying methods involve a hefty price tag and a large-sized machine. After a trip to El Salvador, Jerry and Judy Bohl, were determined to find a way to help this cause in any way possible. After interviewing multiple companies, they came across an article describing a water purifier created by a professor in Rochester, NY.  Inspired by this unit, and assisted by a Michigan art professor, Paul Flickinger, the Bohls designed a new purifier. This unit using ultraviolet light to destroy harmful bacteria and organisms,  is the size of a suitcase and weighs about 35 pounds. With the low cost of $750 to $1500 (for an electric or solar-powered units), 54 of these home-made purifiers are being successfully used in countries including Nicaragua, Kenya and Haiti.  It should be noted that the Bohl's organization, "Clean Water for the World" donates the unit for free to the people in the poor regions for community use.  To learn more please visit: http://news.discovery.com/tech/clean-water-for-the-world.html

Experience the Shuttle Launch!

If you are planning to be in the vicinity of Kennedy Space Center any time soon, you need to check "Shuttle Launch Experience". On Shuttle Launch Experience, visitors strap in to the sights, sounds and sensations of a real Space Shuttle launch.

As the passengers enter the 6-story structure that looks like the actual Space Shuttle facilities at Kennedy Space Center, veteran shuttle astronauts share testimonials, setting the stage for the experience to come.

Entering the heart of Space Shuttle operations for the pre-launch briefing, crew members are guided by veteran Space Shuttle Commander Charlie Bolden as he takes them step-by-step through the shuttle launch sequence. Brilliant video screens spring to life on shuttle-like robotic arms.  

According to Chris Haslam, one of the first to have enjoyed the 44-seat ride, the simulator's visual and sound effects are spectacular while passengers reach Mach1 in less than a minute. Without ever moving forward the ride successfully simulates the physical sensations, the turbulence, the thrust of a real launch, which are  followed by the sudden calm and quiet that falls upon the passengers after about 8.5 minutes indicating the ascent to Earth orbit.   To make it even more realistic and spectacular, at this point the cargo doors open and the upside down crew look down to see Earth going by.

To read more and see a clip please visit:




"MoonBots" Challenge for Parent-Child Teams

The X PRIZE Foundation, Google Inc., LEGO Systems, National Instruments, and WIRED's GeekDad announced "MoonBots: A Google Lunar X Prize LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge" at the 2010 FIRST World Championship last week in Atlanta, Georgia. The new contest will challenge small teams comprised of Children and adults to design, program, and construct robots that perform simulated lunar missions similar to those required to win the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE. It is the hope of these partnering organizations that the MoonBots Challenge will help stimulate the learning of robotics and enhance team building skills while exciting youth and their families about their potential roles in the new moon race.

Registration has already started. To learn more and participate in the new and exciting competition, please visit:


What If Competition

As part of his award, earlier this month, Muhammad Hawkins attended the Conrad Innovation Summit  to present his grand prize-winner entry. We are proud to report that his presentation was followed by a standing ovation. To bring this year's competition to a close, our team would like to share photos of the event with our readers. To see the photos please visit:


Once again congratulations to Muhammad, and all other participants and winners. 



Anousheh's Favorite Quote:

"Never underestimate the ability of a small group of dedicated people to change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

   Margaret mead (1901-1978)