Amateur Space News May 15, 2014

Amateur lunar exploration, student space hardware, rockets, astronomy, tourism, and Mars in today’s headlines from around the Webs.

New Indiegogo project to crowdfund Israeli lunar rover. The Israeli non-profit SpaceIL is competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize competition. It’s hoping to raise $1 for every mile its lunar mission will travel between the Earth and the Moon - that would be $240,000 - to offset the cost of rocket fuel. SpaceIL has an active program of STEM engagement with Israeli schools. They want their space project to inspire students to study the science and mathematics they will need to pursue technical careers. Any money they raise beyond their goal will go towards education outreach.  (Via Broadway World)

Penn State’s student-designed lunar mission profiled by Co.Exist. The only university team remaining in the Google Lunar X-Prize competition, the Lunar Lions’ rely on contributions from 120 students to design and build their lunar lander.

Colorado high school students win chance to send research into space reports the Daily Camera. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is the non-profit responsible for managing the International Space Station National Laboratory’s research activities. It is conducting a series of pilot projects called the National Design Challenge to promote student research on the space station. The 3 student team from Centaurus High School won for their proposal to study bacteria in microgravity. A SpaceX resupply mission will carry their experiment to the space station in 2015.

Student-built space video experiment highlighted by Alabama TV station WHNT. The High Definition Earth Viewing experiment is testing commercial and consumer video cameras outside the International Space Station. High school students built part of the experiment and are conducting all of the mission operations as part of Nasa’s Hunch program. The video streams live via Ustream.

Santa Fe elementary school teacher and rocket educator retires. The Santa Fe New Mexican profiled Robert Stark, an elementary school special-education teacher. Stark ran the Young Astronauts after-school program that taught students how to build and launch model rockets. Over 60 students took part in the most recent school launch day.

Australian amateur astronomer and science teacher captures the Moon’s occultation of Saturn using a smartphone. (Via Sydney Morning Herald)

Luxury Travel Magazine wrote about the plans to fly tourists into Near Space. Over 30 kilometers above Arizona, the passengers of World View’s luxury balloon-borne capsule will spend several hours looking down at Earth, its curved horizon, and the inky blackness of space. Flights begin in 2016 if you have $75,000 to spare.

New Zealand scientist returns from Mars analog mission, reports Stuff. Haritina Mogosanu took part in a recent expedition to the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. Built by the Mars Society, the MDRS is an analog research station that lets scientists and engineers test the technology and procedures that future Mars explorers may use. Mogosanu will discuss her experience at the Carter Observatory in Wellington tonight.

Mars One Headlines:

Three UAE-based candidates - a Russian, a Pole, and an Indian - were profiled by Gulf News.