Amateur Space News May 2, 2014

Several STEM education projects in the news today including model rocketry projects, 8th grader and high schooler experiments on the International Space Station, and a citizen science project on the ISS. Other news include amateurs rescuing an abandoned Nasa space probe, the retirement of a Canadian space telescope used by amateurs, and more updates on Mars One candidates.

New Mexico radio station KRWG interviewed aerospace engineering student Sam Pedrotty about his model rocket design. The modular approach lets students reconfigure the rocket to explore the effect on the rocket’s performance. Pedrotty is heading to a job at Nasa but will continue to develop the rocket for use in undergraduate and high school science programs.

The Hanford Sentinel reported on Corcoran High School’s rocket team. They are heading to this month’s Team America Rocketry Challenge.

Kansas City’s WDAF interviewed Team Defying Gravity, four eighth-grade girls sending an experiment to the International Space Station. Their experiment will study how microgravity affects the rate of oxidation of an iron nail. The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program will send the experiment on an ISS cargo launch later this year.

Universe Today posted video from the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment is now streaming live video from the International Space Station. You can watch the Ustream live video feed. Developed in part by the high school students participating in Nasa’s Hunch program, the experiment is testing the performance of commercial video cameras in space. If any of them perform well, Nasa could replace the much more expensive space-rated cameras the space agency uses now. (See previous report on 2014/04/16)

North Carolina’s News & Observer interviewed Darlene Cavalier about her work to promote science to the public. Founder of Science Cheerleader and the SciStarter website, Cavalier spoke about the Project Mercurri citizen science project that connects students across the United States with research on the International Space Station.

The Orlando Sentinel reports on space enthusiasts who need help recovering a lost space probe. The group of space enthusiasts restoring images from Nasa’s Lunar Orbiter missions are now trying to revive Nasa’s ISEE-3 space weather probe. Nasa launched the probe in 1978 and then rerouted it to study a comet in 1997. Since then it has been in hibernation on an orbit that took it. Almost four decades later, its orbit brings it close enough to Earth to wake it up. But Nasa lost its communicator and doesn’t have the money to rebuild it. The ISEE-3 Reboot Project wants to crowdfund the money to wake the space probe and let it resume its mission.

SatNews reports the end of Canada's pro-am space telescope. Most, the Microvariability and Oscillation of Stars mission, spent more than a decade making stellar and exoplanet observations. As part of its outreach, the mission allowed Canadian amateur astronomers to submit observing requests through the My Own Space Telescope program. The University of British Columbia featured two of the amateurs in a press release celebrating the mission’s tenth anniversary last year - a Vancouver Grade 12 student who studied a red giant and a Saskatoon amateur who observed a micro-quasar.

More updates on Mars One candidates who made it to the third round. Canada’s MetroNews interviewed Tyler Reno and Zac Trolley. Austin, Texas, television station KXAN reported on Sonia Van Meter. Jan Millsapps speculated on her Huffington Post blog about the 352 people who dropped out of the project.