Volume 22 – June 27, 2010
Book Signing Events
In a different forum, on July 24, 2010, Anousheh and Homer Hickam will be at FDL Book Salon to chat about their book. To learn more about FDL and see the scheduled time for "My Dream of Stars", please visit:
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:
Prebiotics in Our Solar System
Scientists from the Instituto Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of Texas have detected the presence of super-complex organic molecules in a dense cloud about 700 light years from the Sun. The type of molecules detected, anthracenes, are prebiotic. When exposed to ultraviolet radiation and combined with water and ammonia, they are capable of producing amino acids and other compounds essential for the development of life. Susana Iglesis Groth, the IAC researcher heading the study believes the next step would be to look for amino acids.
The new finding suggests that a good part of the key components in terrestrial prebiotic chemistry could be present in interstellar matter.
These results are based on observations carried out at the William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands and with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope in Texas.
To see an image of the molecule and the area where it was detected please visit:
To read more please visit:
Falcon 9 Test Launch
Almost a year ago, we talked about the successful lunch of a satellite into orbit by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). SpaceX, a California based company, has been developing launch vehicles for missions to Earth orbit and beyond. On June 4, 2010, SpaceX succeeded in launching a new vehicle, Falcon 9 in a scheduled test.
After this test, the first Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch later this summer under COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) program. COTS, a program developed with NASA, is hoped to be able to deliver cargo to the ISS in the spring of 2011. In their long term planning SpaceX will aim to use Falcon 9, as well as their developing Dragon capsule to carry astronauts to the ISS.
To learn more please visit: http://www.spacex.com/
7th Graders Find a Cave on Mars
As part of Arizona State University's Mars Education Program, a group of seventh-grade students from California who were participating in the Mars Student Imaging Program (MSIP) were looking for lava tubes on the surface of Mars when they not only spotted the tubes but also discovered a small round black spot. The spot near the Pavonis Mons volcano turned out to be a hole, punched in the top of a hollow tube, a cave on Mars.
MSIP engages students in Mars research by having them ask questions about Mars' s geology. To find answers to their questions, students then command a Mars-orbiting camera to take and study relevant images. From its onset, this educational program has directly contributed to NASA's Mars Program.
To read more and see a picture of the discovered cave, please visit:
Part of an educational program for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, DASH+ is a national contest that had challenged high school students to use their creativity and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills to design an eco-friendly dashboard that provides feedback to encourage fuel-efficient driving.
California High School Team Wins DASH+
After many online votes were combined with scores from an independent panel of expert judges, EDV (El Diseño Verde)Technologies from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, CA, were named the Grand Prize winner of the DASH+ student contest. EDV includes students Jake Moghtader, Nikhil Shinday and Kelvin Noronha, and mentor Kevin Schantz, a software architect at QAD. The team collaborated to design the dashboard, complete a technical plan and create a video pitch. Their dashboard design incorporates technology that continuously calculates maximum fuel economy based on previous performance of other vehicles on similar road conditions. The dashboard alerts the driver of environmental impact and awards GreenPoints, creating an eco-friendly competition.
The two other semi-finalist teams were DASH Tech of the Henry Ford Academy in Dearborn, MI, and Harker Innovation of The Harker School in San Jose, CA.
To learn more and watch videos of the designed dashboard, please visit: