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Be The Change Herald


Volume 56 – May 31, 2013


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.


Get Your Genius On

Conrad Foundation has announced the start date for the 2013-2014 Spirit of Innovation Challenge and is inviting students and educators to begin developing their ideas over the summer.  
The Spirit of Innovation provides an opportunity for teams of students to create commercially viable products or services to address issues of global sustainability for the benefit of humanity.This annual competition is free and available to students, ages 13-18, from around the world. The Spirit of Innovation Challenge offers teachers, parents and afterschool coordinators a relevant and dynamic way to teach science, technology, engineering and math. Along the way, world-renowned scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are available as virtual mentors. This is the competition where Geek is Chic.™

To find out more about the rules and important dates, please visit:

NASA and Ahoura What If?


  • Category 9-10 Grade: Team Phizziologists (Upper St-Clair High School- Pittsburgh, PA) Yein (Christina) Park- Nymisha Rameswarapu- Gaurav Bhushan
  • Category 11-12 Grade: Team Jetsons (Landstown High School- Virginia Beach, VA) Adrienne Withrow- Sam Murphy- David Tezza- Akram Sobhy
  • Middle School: Winner : Team Transcendence Lucas Kramer (Home Schooled-Oak Grove, MN)
  • Runner up: Team Phoenix Erin Mittmann (Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto, CA)


The Tale of Two Galaxies

A massive and rare merging of two galaxies has been spotted in images taken by the Herschel space observatory.
Follow-up studies by several telescopes on the ground and in space tell a tale of two faraway galaxies intertwined and furiously making stars. Eventually, the duo will settle down to form one super-giant elliptical galaxy.
These new findings help explain an old mystery. Back when our universe was 3 billion to 4 billion years old, it was populated with large reddish elliptical-shaped galaxies made up of old stars. Scientists have wondered whether those galaxies built up slowly over time through the acquisitions of smaller galaxies, or formed more rapidly through powerful collisions between two large galaxies. The new findings suggest massive mergers are responsible for the giant elliptical galaxies.
"These merging galaxies are bursting with new stars and completely hidden by dust," said Asantha Cooray, of the University of California at Irvine. "Without Herschel's far-infrared detectors, we wouldn't have been able to see through the dust to the action taking place behind."
Herschel, which operated for almost four years, was designed to see the longest-wavelength infrared light. As expected, it recently ran out of the liquid coolant needed to chill its delicate infrared instruments. While its mission in space is over, astronomers still are scrutinizing its data, and further discoveries are expected.
To learn more and watch a simulation of this merging, please visit:

To Infinity and Beyond

Four eighth graders from a school in Columbus, Georgia would have never dreamed of competing with university students and adults in a rocketry competition, the DIY Rocket Challenge.  Now that they are living the dream, they are determined to complete the challenge well and successfully.

The Blackmon Road Middle School's Rocketry Team is led by Pooja Prabakaran. Her teammates are Eugene Smith, Sarah Chen, and Megan Throlson. All of these young competitors are 8th graders.

The rocketry team is competing in the DIY Rocket Challenge by designing, collaborating, and building a rocket engine that could carry Nano-satellites into space.

Taylor Wilson, the youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion, is the role model of this rocketry team. Their science teacher, Mrs. Conley-Allen, had introduced the topics of Wilson and nuclear science which fascinated the team with all its possibilities.

While Pooja continued to research the young Wilson’s projects, she found the Rocketry Challenge.  Even though the competition seemed to be designed for older individuals, she decided to give it a try. She made a team of the people in her school who were most interested in rocket science. Mrs. Butterworth, their gifted math teacher who loves rocketry, was gladly willing to let them use her classroom for practice.

In the beginning, the Blackmon Road Rocketry Team, decided to use a nuclear powered plasma engine. The idea was dropped since the category is still in the early stages of development. Then the choice between solid, liquid, or hybrid engines emerged. After researching the requirements and properties of the three types of engines, the team decided on solid fuel. The advantages of solid fuel rockets are their simplicity, low cost, high thrust, long storage life, instant ignition, stability, efficiency, safety with proper precautions, and high reliability. The team will use the star design in the propellant to provide maximum burning surface which spreads from the interior to the exterior surfaces. This method also gives more control over the thrust as once the points burn away; the amount of burn surface reduces and reducing strain to the vehicle. Thus, the grain’s burn rate is much more predictable.

The DIY Rocketry Challenge will end on June 30th. The Blackmon Road Middle School team is working on their engine and is thankful for the opportunity to gain valuable experience through participation in this competition. All of the team members plan to continue collaborating on similar projects in high school and pursuing jobs in this field.

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:


"Aim with your heart, steer with your mind, and know that it always works."