Amateur Space News April 10, 2014

Today's headlines include a Kickstarter project to send student experiments into Near Space, amateur weather observations in Noaa's online data portal, an interview with Mars One's concept designer and more….

JP Aerospace issued a press release about its 2,000 PongSat Kickstarter project. They are raising money to send 2,000 PongSats on a high-altitude balloon flight into Near Space. PongSats are experiments that school children fit inside a ping-pong (table tennis) ball. The experiments range from the simple - using marshmallows to demonstrate atmospheric pressure - to the sophisticated - digital sensors that record the Near Space environment. JP Aerospace has flown 14,000 PongSats and ran a 1,000 PongSat Kickstarter project last year that raised enough money to send 1,400 student experiments into the stratosphere.

CoCoRahs announced that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration now includes amateur weather data in its Noaa Online Weather Data. CoCoRahs rainfall measurements have been an important part of Noaa’s weather forecasting and flood warning system for years. Noaa’s decentralized structure forces you to take extra steps which the CoCoRahs announcement walks you through.

Gizmag interviewed Mars One designer Bryan Versteeg about his role in the project. Versteeg is a Canadian concept designer and a co-founder of asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries. His design concepts give the Mars One project’s managers and engineers a starting point in the planning stage. As the project develops, his work identifies not just the technology needed to build a thriving settlement but the way Mars One’s settlers will live with that technology. Versteeg speaks with a clear voice uncluttered by design lingo. He also gives an honest and open assessment of the challenges that Mars One and its settlers must overcome. Well worth the read - and cool pictures.

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