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Be The Change Herald


Volume 78 –May 2015


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.


Competition and Challenges

Since challenges and competitions open to public have been very productive, now more and more organizations are using this valuable tool to encourage innovation and creativity in a wider population. Two of the newest challenges are:
  • NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, known as America Makes, are holding a new $2.25 million competition to design and build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency's journey to Mars. Registration has already started and the first deadline for entering the registration package is July 15, 2015. To see all the rules, please visit: https://americamakes.us/Challenge

  • The Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) is intended to be a prestigious, top end, international robotics competition, to be held every two years with total prizes of US$5Million. The first deadline is on June 15, 2015, and the submission of proposals are due in August 2015. To see the complete details, please visit: http://www.mbzirc.com/

Ongoing Awards

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program nurtures visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions with the creation of breakthroughs -radically better or entirely new aerospace concepts- while engaging America's innovators and entrepreneurs as partners in the journey.

Each year NIAC awards funding to cutting edge technologies in multiple disciplines and fields; Space Travel, Living in Space, Materials, Manufacturing, Robotics, Instruments and Computing.

Here are a few of the most recent funded projects:

  • Thirsty Walls" for air revitalization in life support: Air Revitalization (AR) is a critical function for all Human Exploration Missions. Historically, air revitalization is performed by routing air through a complex set of ducts and removal beds that restrict airflow. Microgravity considerations usually require that removal beds are packed with granular solids' these granular beds are relatively heavy, inefficient, and prone to dusting. Liquid based capture systems, such as those found on submarines, have proven to be smaller, more power efficient, and more reliable, but the gas/liquid contactors found in submarines need gravity. Until recently, the only way to use liquid based capture systems in microgravity was to employ a gas permeable membrane. Membranes suffer slow kinetics and are prone to poisoning. Recent developments in additive manufacturing and capillary fluid mechanics makes it possible to directly expose liquids to cabin air in microgravity conditions, and make a microgravity version of a submarine AR system possible. A microgravity compatible gas/liquid contactor also makes it possible to completely re-imagine the AR system: instead of forcing air through a complex series of ducts and beds, air revitalization hardware can take the form of ‘Curtains’, deployed on the ‘Thirsty Walls’ of spacecraft. Compared to the traditional HVAC approach used on ISS, Thirsty Walls can reduce the number of rotating pieces of equipment for air revitalization from 19 to 8, and eliminate all of the high pressure and high flow velocity elements. A thirsty walls approach using Monoethanolamine (MEA) the CO2 capture liquid used in submarines - would make it possible to achieve submarine levels of performance on spacecraft, but this proposal asserts that if the Thirsty Walls approach were used with Ionic Liquids (ILs) instead of MEA, power efficiency could be even greater than that found on submarines. A direct gas/liquid contactor, placed into a Thirsty Walls configuration, pumping an Ionic Liquid for CO2 capture offers the chance to make a transformational improvement to air revitalization on spacecraft.

  • Materials that stay extremely cold even in the sun: Selective surfaces have wavelength dependent emissivity/absorption. These surfaces can be designed to reflect solar radiation, while maximizing infrared emittance, yielding a cooling effect even in sunlight. On earth cooling to -50 °C below ambient has been achieved, but in space, outside of the atmosphere, theory using ideal materials has predicted a maximum cooling to 40 K! If this result holds up for real world materials and conditions, then superconducting systems and cryogenic storage can be achieved in space without active cooling. Such a result would enable long term cryogenic storage in deep space and the use of large scale superconducting systems for such applications as galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) shielding and large scale energy storage. We propose, during this Phase I effort, to theoretically model the performance of real world selective surfaces to see if superconducting temperatures can be passively achieved in a deep space environment at 1 A.U. from the sun.

  • Stars guiding spacecrafts: The proposed Differential Deployable Autonomous Radio Navigation (ΔDARN) brings astronomical radio observations of quasars, masers and pulsars into play as a means to autonomously guide spacecraft among the planets, and even to the stars. The roadmap leads to a demonstration mission and utilization on deep space missions large and small. Phase 1 will produce a preliminary catalog of reference maser sources, a system analysis, and conceptual design of a demonstration mission.

You can find a comprehensive list of all funded projects to date, at the following site:

Most Luminous Galaxy

A remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion suns has been discovered using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). The galaxy is the most luminous galaxy found to date and belongs to a new class of objects recently discovered by WISE -- extremely luminous infrared galaxies, or ELIRGs.

"We are looking at a very intense phase of galaxy evolution," said Chao-Wei Tsai of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, lead author of a new report appearing in the May 22 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. "This dazzling light may be from the main growth spurt of the galaxy's black hole."

The brilliant galaxy, known as WISE J224607.57-052635.0, may have a behemoth black hole at its belly, gorging itself on gas. Supermassive black holes draw gas and matter into a disk around them, heating the disk to roaring temperatures of millions of degrees and blasting out high-energy, visible, ultraviolet and X-ray light. The light is blocked by surrounding cocoons of dust. As the dust heats up, it radiates infrared light.

To read more please visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4593

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:


"To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone."
-Reba McEntire





Upcoming Appearances


May 28-29, 2015: Pioneers Festival, Vienna, Austria

June 30, 2015: Asteroid Day, California Academy of Sciences