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Be The Change Herald


Volume 44 – April 30, 2012


Welcome to Anousheh's Be The Change Herald! Feel free to forward to others who might want to register for the newsletter and you can unsubscribe at any time.


From the Desk of Anousheh

The following fable, making rounds in emails and social media, made its way onto my inbox recently. It states a universal truth in the simplest manner. Sadly, the universal truth of the story -the indifference and apathy of our modern times- is one we encounter too often, in our everyday lives. The moral of the story does not need any explanation. 

"A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning:
"There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "there is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse, I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap.... alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail was caught by the trap. The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness."

Reach for the Stars -Afghanistan

Reach for the Stars - Afghanistan is an Astronomers Without Borders project in collaboration with the astronomical Association of Afghanistan. The project goal is to establish Afghanistan's first astronomy curriculum for young children set in the context of Afghan culture, Islamic astronomical heritage and modern science. Educational resources will be delivered to schools, orphanages and refugee camps in the Kabul area, and establish training and educational programs based on those materials.

If you are interested in helping this project, please visit the following links for the various ways you can support them:

Greener Aircrafts

Teams from The Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, Calif., Lockheed Martin in Palmdale, Calif., and Northrop Grumman in El Segundo, Calif., have spent the last year studying how to meet NASA goals to develop technology that would allow future aircraft to burn 50 percent less fuel than aircraft that entered service in 1998 (the baseline for the study), with 50 percent fewer harmful emissions; and to shrink the size of geographic areas affected by objectionable airport noise by 83 percent.

What the studies revealed is that NASA's goals to reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise are indeed challenging. The preliminary designs all met the pollution goal of reducing landing and takeoff emissions of nitrogen oxides by 50 percent over engines flying today. All still have a little way to go to meet the other two challenges. All the designs were very close to a 50-percent fuel burn reduction, but noise reduction capabilities varied. NASA's ERA project officials say they believe all the goals can be met if small gains in noise and fuel consumption reduction can be achieved in addition to those projected in the industry studies.

To learn more about each team's approach and design, please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/aeronautics/features/greener_aircraft.html

SpaceX Dragon, Dextre & Canadarm2 

Scheduled for May 7, 2012, California-based Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, is preparing to launch an ambitious mission to dock its Dragon spacecraft to the space station and return it to Earth. The spacecraft will not have a crew, but will carry about 1,200 pounds of cargo that the astronauts and cosmonauts living on the station will be able to use. The capsule will go into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket also built by SpaceX.

If this mission is successful, the Dragon is expected to become operational and launch regular supply runs to the station. Unlike any other cargo carrier, the Dragon can bring things back to Earth, too, a boon for scientists whose research is taking place on the orbiting laboratory.

Dragon will undergo a series of checkout procedures to test and prove its systems in advance of its docking with the station. Once Dragon is cleared for capture, Canadarm2 will perform a cosmic catch: it will grapple the capsule and install it on the space station.  On flight day 6, Dextre and Canadarm2 will move in closer to inspect Dragon’s external surfaces and its “trunk”—the open, unpressurized section of the spacecraft that will later be used to transport a variety of payloads and science instruments on future missions.

To read more details of the procedures and to see computer animations of the capture and release of Dragon, please visit:

What If Prize Educators Competition

The What If Prize, Teachers Without Borders and MIT BLOSSOMS are pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 What If Prize space lesson plan competition for educators.  The top prize goes to Mr. David Black of the Walden School of Liberal Arts, Provo, Utah, for this lesson plan The Parallax Activity: Measuring the Distances to Nearby Stars for students in grades 11-12. Our competition judges appreciated how Mr. Black seamlessly tied space science, multiple engineering disciplines and mathematics into his lesson plan. The judges felt that while the subject matter was rooted in space sciences, the different applications of the concept to different problem areas would help to ensure that students could apply the lesson plan content in the context of their own interests. Mr. Black will be awarded a professional development scholarship of $2000 that may be applied toward the costs of a STEM-discipline activity of Mr. Black’s choosing.
The top lesson plans will be available at the What If Prize website. The competition organizers wish to thank all of the competition participants and volunteers, and they hope to see more teachers engaging students in the areas of space science and engineering as they look forward to the coming year.

To read more about the competition , please visit: 

My Dream of Stars

My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer: a book by Anousheh Ansari and Homer Hickam.

In her memoir, Anousheh recalls her long path to success and to achieving her dream.  To learn more about the book, please visit:  http://www.anoushehansari.com/book/

To find a book signing, please check the upcoming appearances section of this newsletter.

To obtain a copy please visit:




Anousheh's Favorite Quote:

"Happiness is a healthy disregard for the impossible."

-Larry Page