Amateur Space News April 7, 2014

Today's headlines include high school students sending experiments to the International Space Station, amateur satellite and rocketry projects, using satellites to document human rights abuses in South Sudan, and another profile of a Mars One candidate.

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Nasa Night Rover Challenge

Nasa will award teams prizes from the Night Rover Challenge’s $1.5 million prize pool if they build a power system that lets rovers operate during the two-week long lunar night. CleantechOpen, a non-profit incubator of environmental technology startup companies, manages the contest which will be held at Nasa’s Glenn Research Center.

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Mars Society analog research stations

The Mars Society operates two Mars analog research stations where professionals and amateurs prepare the world for future missions to Mars. The Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station and the Mars Desert Research Station simulate the facilities of an early outpost on Mars. Six-person mission teams consisting of scientists, engineers, and volunteers live in a habitat module while they test procedures and technologies for Mars exploration. The most ambitious project, Mars Arctic 365, will send six people to live in the Arctic station for a year to simulate a full Mars mission.

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LunarSail - the crowdfunded mission to the Moon

The LunarSail Project raised almost $16,000 from 260 Kickstarter backers to build a sail-propelled spacecraft to the Moon. Off-duty engineers and space enthusiasts living near Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center volunteer their time to the non-profit Ares Institute, which promotes space to encourage science and math education.

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Nasa Night Rover Challenge

Nasa will award teams prizes from the Night Rover Challenge’s $1.5 million prize pool if they build a power system that lets rovers operate during the two-week long lunar night. CleantechOpen, a non-profit incubator of environmental technology startup companies, manages the contest which will be held at Nasa’s Glenn Research Center.

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Nasa Sample Return Robot Challenge

Nasa will award teams up to $1.5 million to build autonomous robotic rovers that can navigate an unfamiliar terrain and collect samples in the Sample Return Robot Challenge. Teams of amateur robotics enthusiasts, robotics engineering students, and private industry come to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute once a year to compete in Nasa’s.

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European CanSat Competition

Every year the European Space Agency sponsors the European CanSat Competition to teach high school students in Esa member-nations how to design and operate a space mission. The students design a "satellite" that fits inside a 350ml soft drink can - a CanSat. Along the way they learn how to design and make electronic circuits and program flight computers.

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