Amateur Space News May 3, 2014

In today’s headlines amateur astronomers help science education in Tanzania, Canadian weather-spotters needed in Ontario, insider interviews on crowdsourcing projects, an Indian amateur astronomer recognized for his contributions, students launching rockets, and more Mars One candidates.

Tanzanians use astronomy to foster science education. In an op-ed article on, the founders of the Center for Science Education and Observatory describe how they are using astronomy-based science education as a model for developing young scientists. With support from science and astronomy organizations as well as public donations to Astronomers Without Borders, their program has already reached thousands of students.

Ontario needs volunteer weather watchers, Niagara This Week reports. Cocorahs, the vounteer weather observation network, began in Colorado and now has 16,000 members across the United States and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewa. The Ontario provincial government will provide $65,000 over two years to support the network.

The UK Space Agency needs help feeding an astronaut. When British astronaut Tim Peake voyages to the International Space Station, he will take the Great British Space Dinner with him. Students across the United Kingdom can enter a contest to create the menu. Peake, celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, and food scientists will judge the entries based on nutritional value, Britishness, and fun. (Via British Interplanetary Society)

DigitalGlobe crowdsources search and rescue. In an interview with Avionics Intelligence, DigitalGlobe’s senior product manager, Gleen Reese, described how it collects satellite imagery within days of a natural disaster. Its Tomnod crowdsourcing service flags areas of destruction to create maps for emergency responders.

Citizen science is a coding challenge, not just a research project. Zooniverse co-founder Arfon Smith blogged about the challenge of managing the GalaxyZoo project’s database when it gets a four-fold spike in traffic.

Another report on Indian amateur astronomer Amar Sharma. American amateur astronomer David H. Levy, co-discoverer of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, named an asteroid Sharma 380370 to recognize the young astronomer’s contributions.

Seven St. Thomas High School students heading to rocket championships. The Houston-area TV station KTRK highlighted the students on its website as they head to the Team America Rocketry Challenge.

And the latest news from the world of Mars One: the Canadian Broadcasting Company spoke with 61-year old mathematics professor Claude Gauthier; San Diego’s CBS8 spoke with residents Carmen Paul, Trina Sandal and Alexandra Tischer; Brisbane, Australia, radio show 612 Breakfast spoke with Gunnar Prehl.