Amateur Space News April 23, 2014

Today’s recap includes new opportunities for middle and high school research on the International Space Station, ninth graders using rocketry to learn physics, professional and amateur astrophotographers working together, and a talk about Mars in New Zealand.

Your school district can send experiments to the International Space Station through the Student Space Flight Experiments Program. The next opportunity will be for the 2014-2015 academic year. The program typically engages hundreds of students in the design competition, mission planning, and ground-based control experiments. This will be the SSEP’s seventh mission to the ISS. Mission 5 will launch fifteen student experiments to the station in June 2014.

An article in the Reporter showed how Penndale Middle School uses rocketry to teach physics. All 450 ninth grade students took part in the project. They used Nasa’s website to design water rockets using empty plastic soda bottles. Teachers pump compressed air into the rockets, launching the rockets a hundred meters into the sky.

Joe DePasquale, the science image processor for Nasa’s Chandra X-ray observatory, worked with two amateur astronomers to create new images of four spiral galaxies. They combined x-ray data from the Chandra space telescope, infrared data from the Spitzer space telescope, and visual spectrum data from amateur astronomers Detlef Hartmann and Rolf Olsen. DePasquale began the project to show amateur astronomers how easy it is - for experienced astrophotographers - to combine data from professional archives with amateur data. He also shows how professionals and amateurs can contribute their own strengths to a project. Professional astronomers can’t get long unrestricted access to the bigh observatories - there’s too much competition from other astronomers. Hartmann and Olsen, on the other hand, could collect very long exposures under the best seeing conditions. Check out the Nasa release, the Chandra image release, and DePasqual’s blog post. (via SpaceRef)

The Carter Observatory in Wellington, New Zealand, announced an upcoming presentation by Mars Society New Zealand’s President, Hari Mogosanu, on May 15. She will talk about her experiences at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station, the Mars-analog site in America’s southwestern deserts. (via Voxy)