Archive for the ‘space’ tag

Two days left to apply to participate online! Informing NASA’s Asteroid Initiative: A Citizen Forum

By November 4th, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Comment

What do you think NASA should do about asteroids? (Asteroid Capture, Artist Rendering Image Credit: NASA)

What do you think NASA should do about asteroids? (Asteroid Capture, Artist Rendering Image Credit: NASA)

In August, we shared information about NASA’s Asteroid Initiative and Cooperative Agreement with ECAST (Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology), to enable everyday citizens to have a say in the future of space exploration.

How does the online citizens’ forum work?

Two in-person deliberations will take place on 11/8 in Phoenix, AZ at Arizona State University and on 11/15 in Cambridge, MA at the Museum of Science. To make sure anyone, anywhere can participate, SciStarter (a founder partner of ECAST) created a three tiered online deliberation platform which will be ready for YOU next week! But you’ll need to sign up by Thursday, 11/6 to be eligible.

As a registered participant in the online deliberation, you will have access to the same background information as the folks at the in-person events will have and you’ll be able to ask questions, and weigh in with thoughts and opinions while guided by an online facilitator. AND, you will have three days to drop in and out at your convenience.

All responses will be aggregated and included in a formal report to NASA. If you can’t make the in-person or online deliberation next week, don’t worry! You’ll  still have a chance to weigh in on the outcomes of deliberations in the coming weeks!

Who can participate?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to participate. You also do not need to know any information about the Asteroid Initiative as all the background information required will be provided.  In fact the forum is centered around the idea that every citizen who is interested in contributing will be able to do so. So your interest in participation is all that counts!

Why should you act now to be a part of this?

The online deliberation is scheduled for next week and in order to participate, you have to register quickly as the deadline is fast approaching. Sign up on the ECAST website before November 6th and complete the required demographic and opinion survey to access the online deliberation platform. This is your chance to help NASA make the next giant leap in space. Don’t miss it!

NASA Wants You to Share Your Out-of-this-World Creativity

By October 16th, 2012 at 8:54 am | Comment

NASA JPL wants your out-of-this-world creativity!

Remember those old diagrams in your grade school science text books?  I used to flip through each chapter trying to find the coolest images, but was continually disappointed when I was forced to squint at tiny illustrations. As I continued through school, however, I found myself drawn to large illustrations that conveyed information effectively and in plain language. I read The Way Things Work every night before bed. The blend of science, art, design, and communication, was intriguing, and I suppose part of why I entered the field of GIS and mapping.

From subway maps to government information pamphlets and all across digital and print media, illustrations are an engaging way to convey information.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) agrees, and their new citizen science project, JPL Infographics, calls on you to be the scientist-artist in charge of communicating their cutting edge science. NASA provides a huge library of amazing high-resolution space images, 3-D models, and lists of interesting facts for you to piece together into your very own Infographic. You can browse other user submissions for inspiration and then upload your finished image easily online.

Head to the JPL Infographics project to learn more. It is free to join, and registration is easy! This is a really fun and challenging project, and your work will be used to educate and inform others about cutting-edge space exploration.

Fire up both sides of your brain and create some educational space art!

Be sure to check out JPL on Facebook and follow them on twitter @NASAJPL.

Photo: NASA JPL

You can discover the next comet…from your couch!

By October 18th, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Comment

SOHO’s 2000th comet, spotted by a Polish astronomy student on December 26, 2010. (Photo: NRL)

SOHO’s 2000th comet, spotted by a Polish astronomy student on December 26, 2010. (Photo: NASA/NRL)

In December 2010, as people on Earth celebrated the holidays and prepared to ring in the New Year, a European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA spacecraft quietly reached its own milestone: on December 26, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) discovered its 2000th comet.

Drawing on help from citizen scientists around the world, SOHO has become the single greatest comet finder of all time. This is all the more impressive since SOHO was not designed to find comets, but to monitor the Sun.

“Since it launched on December 2, 1995, to observe the Sun, SOHO has more than doubled the number of comets for which orbits have been determined over the last three hundred years,” says Joe Gurman, the U.S. project scientist for SOHO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Of course, it is not SOHO itself that discovers the comets — that is the province of the dozens of amateur astronomer volunteers who daily pore over the images produced by SOHO’s LASCO (or Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph) cameras. More than 70 people representing 18 different countries have helped spot comets over the last 15 years by searching through the publicly available SOHO/LASCO images online. The 1999th and 2000th comets were both discovered by an astronomy student at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

“There’s an ever-growing community of amateur astronomers who contribute to this project,” says Karl Battams, who has been in charge of running the SOHO comet-sighting web site since 2003 for the Naval Research Laboratory, where he does software development, data processing, and visualization work for NRL’s solar physics missions. “These volunteers are absolutely fundamental to the success of this program. Without them, most of this tremendously valuable astronomical data would never see the light of day.”

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Amateur Astronomers Discover Massive Fireball on Jupiter

By June 4th, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Comment

Amateur Astronomers Sport Giant Fireball on Jupiter

Photo: Anthony Wesley, Broken Hill, Australia

Not that we’re competing, but stargazers Anthony Wesley and Christopher Go have now spotted one more giant fireball on Jupiter than me, according to several news reports.

Wesley apparently caught the impact event on camera from Australia, and Go simultaneously captured video of the resulting blast of light from the Philipines. Pretty amazing stuff.

If you’re an amateur astronomer, we’d love to see some your favorite images. Check out our Member Blog section and share your work with the rest of our citizen science community.

You can also search through our Project Finder to find potential astronomy projects that may need your help. If you know of a neat project that isn’t in the database, add it!