Amateur Space News April 30, 2014

Balloons may spend more time in near space, an Irish amateur astronomer discovered a supernova, a Zooniverse co-founder now helps scientists publish code to github, amateur rocketry and satellite news, and more Mars news in today’s headlines.

Students at Montana State University designed a valve system that lets high-altitude balloons float at a specific altitude rather than rising until it pops. The valve will let near space explorers collect data over longer time periods. The students are part of the Montana Space Grant’s Borealis program to improve the skills of undergraduate engineers. (From Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

Irish amateur astronomer Dave Grennan discovered a new supernova, SN 2014AS, from his backyard observatory. (From Raidió Teilifís Éireann, the Daily Mail, and the BBC)

Zooniverse cofounder Arfon Smith now works at GitHub to make the service a better place for researchers to share their work. He tells about the way academia’s publish-or-perish system doesn’t work for scientists who write code even though informatics is increasingly important for modern research.

Damien Memorial School may attend the Team America Rocketry Challenge, but according to this KITV report from Honolulu they need help raising the money for their travel to Virginia.

Amsat-UK, the British amateur satellite group, has donated a FunCube USB dongle to the 2014 UK CubeSat Workshop. It will be awarded to the best student research pitch. The dongle lets your computer record radio signals from the Funcube-1 satellite that British and Dutch amateurs sent into orbit in 2013 as well as signals from the Funcube-2 project scheduled to launch in 2014. (Via Southgate Amateur Radio News)

CBS affiliates reported on Mars One candidates. Sue Ann Pien and Mario Bonassin in Los Angeles, Stephanie Buck and Kristin Richmond in Sacramento, Matt Newville and Cole Leonard in Dallas, Theresa Tauscher in Philadelphia, and Todd Hertzberg in Indiana

The Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Quirks and Quarks blog reported on the challenges of Mars exploration raised by participants in the Humans2Mars Conference.

Brief article from Mashable about the Mars Desert Research Station, the Mars analog site run by the Mars Society.