NASA CO2 Conversion Challenge Competitor Pitches in to Help COVID-19 Efforts

A technology that could help humans live on Mars is being used to address an immediate need here on Earth and produce hand sanitizer for a community impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Air Co., a company based in Brooklyn, New York, and competing in NASA’s CO2 Conversion Challenge, is making hand sanitizer with a technology that coverts carbon dioxide into ethanol. The company donates the supplies to local hospitals, doctors’ offices, and police stations.

They’re using the same unique technology to convert carbon dioxide into simple sugar molecules known as D-sugars for the NASA competition. The ability to make D-sugars, such as glucose, in space could be used to create mission-critical products such as plastic, food and medicine.

Read the full article here.


📸: #AirCo

‘Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload’ challenge seeks tiny designs for the moon

Do you love adorable, tiny things? Have you ever dreamed of having something you designed land on the moon? If you answered yes to both these questions, you should probably enter NASA’s new competition: “Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload.”

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has issued a public challenge for people to design instruments that could support a long-term human presence on the moon. The contest’s name references the hit movie “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” which debuted in 1989.

Read the full article here.


📸: #NASA

NASA Grant Helps Students Prepare for Their Next Steps

In Bethel’s fluids lab, Jake Stein ’20 adjusts the speed of liquid moving in a Taylor-Couette flow apparatus. He built the apparatus, which features a motor on top of a small, clear cylinder that rotates an inner black cylinder, causing the liquid solution inside to flow. For Stein, the work carries important implications for his future. Along with gaining practical experience, he found his efforts never felt like work. “I love to do it,” he says. “It’s good to know, going into mechanical engineering, I really love to work on a project, design stuff, actually build it, and spend time trying to create something.”

Read the full article here.


📸: Jason Schoonover #BethelUniversity

Geise Group’s Undergraduate Battery Research Project Gets Lift From Virginia Space Grant Consortium

The VIRGINIA SPACE GRANT CONSORTIUM recently awarded the GEISE RESEARCH GROUP a grant to support an undergraduate research project. Under the direction and mentorship of assistant professor of chemical engineering GEOFFREY M. GEISE, undergraduate students will work with graduate researchers in Geise’s lab to investigate a new approach to designing polymer electrolyte membranes to make lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries viable for space applications. The project will focus on engineering advanced membranes to be used as battery separators in extreme environments. Batteries made using advanced technologies are expected to be a critical part of addressing space-based energy storage needs associated with NASA’s ARTEMIS MISSION for moon and Mars exploration.

See the original article here.

📸: University of Virginia

Maine astronaut Jessica Meir comes down to Earth after 86.9 million-mile trip

After 205 days in space and 3,280 orbits of Earth, astronaut Jessica Meir landed safely back on earth at 1:16 a.m. EDT in a remote area of Kazakhstan.

Meir, along with  Soyuz Commander Oleg Skripochka and fellow NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan will travel by helicopter to Baikonur after being given preliminary health checks. Meir and Morgan will then board a NASA plane and fly back to Houston.

Read the full article here.


📸: #Click2Houston

The Greatest Show on the East Coast

April 14, 2020 | Lee Cannon

The Milky Way Galaxy. Photo by Brunier/NASA.

New Journeys into the Heart of North Carolina’s Darkness

The Outer Albemarle Peninsula offers some of the darkest skies on the U.S. Atlantic seaboard, with sites for unsurpassed stargazing and a nightscape experience full of wildlife at play under the music of the spheres.

Excerpts from the North Carolina Sea Grant Coastwatch article by Dave ShawRead the full article here.

NC Space Grant supported the Night-Scape Resource Project through a Community Collaborative Research Grant, in partnership with NC State’s Kenan Institute of Engineering, Technology, and Science and North Carolina Sea Grant. East Carolina University’s Department of Geological Sciences and ECU’s Coastal Studies Institute also provided key support.

The Yellowstone of the East

Welcome to the “Yellowstone of the East,” where the Gothic South meets the galaxy. Here on the Outer Albemarle Peninsula, you can stare into the soul of the Milky Way, a gash of glitter across the night sky that formed billions of years before our planet. You can watch the moon rise, feathering cirrus clouds of silver and indigo, or follow the night’s new river of light across a black inlet out to the horizon. Bring your telescope, your binoculars, your sense of adventure, and anyone you know who still believes that reality beats virtual reality.


Read full article here.

Maine Historic Event with our two NASA Astronauts

Join us when local students get to ask Maine astronauts a question while they are on the ISS!

On April 13, between 1:15-1:35 EDT, NASA Astronauts and Maine natives, Christopher Cassidy and Jessica Meir will make Maine history, and some lucky Maine students will be a part of it. For the first time, two Maine astronauts will be on board the International Space Station at the same time and students from Maine will be able to ask them both questions via video recordings. This historic event will be broadcasted live on NASA TV and on the Agency’s website


See full article and press release here.



5 reasons why the James Webb Space Telescope is such a big deal

Many scientists believe there’s another planet like Earth somewhere in the universe, and the search to find it is about to begin.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be more powerful than its predecessors and will be able to see further into space to discover distant planets in far-off galaxies. It will even give us the tools to search for indications of an atmosphere that could sustain life. It’s currently scheduled to launch into space on March 30, 2021.

There are certainly larger Earth-bound telescopes, but as its name implies, the JWST will roam above the atmosphere, providing more powerful unobstructed views of the heavens than even the historic Hubble Space Telescope could offer. Funded by NASA in conjunction with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the infrared Webb telescope weighs 6 metric tons and will orbit 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. It boasts many new technological advances, including a deployable sunshield and a folding segmented mirror.

Read the full article

📸: Chris Gunn, #NASA

An Astronaut’s Tips For Living in Space – Or Anywhere

Adapted from a Twitter Thread by astronaut Anne McClain

One thing astronauts have to be good at: living in confined spaces for long periods of time. Here are some tips for all who find yourself in a similar scenario.

Nearly 20 years successfully living on the International Space Station and more than 50 flying in space did not happen by accident. NASA astronauts and psychologists have examined what human behaviors create a healthy culture for living and working remotely in small groups. They narrowed it to five general skills and defined the associated behaviors for each skill. NASA astronauts call it “Expeditionary Behavior,” and they are part of everything we do. When it goes well, it’s called “good EB.”

Here are the five good expeditionary behavior skills.

Read the full article here.



I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share

Being stuck at home can be challenging. When I lived on the International Space Station for nearly a year, it wasn’t easy. When I went to sleep, I was at work. When I woke up, I was still at work. Flying in space is probably the only job you absolutely cannot quit.

But I learned some things during my time up there that I’d like to share — because they are about to come in handy again, as we all confine ourselves at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Here are a few tips on living in isolation, from someone who has been there.


Read Astronaut Scott Kelly’s suggestions.


📸: Bill Ingalls, NASA