12-year-old boy genius accepted at Georgia Tech, has dreams of going to Mars

A 12-year-old boy in Atlanta has dreams of going to Mars. Those dreams are not far-fetched, as the boy has already been accepted into college.

Caleb Anderson is not your typical 12-year-old.

He is currently enrolled in high school and takes classes at a local technical college. In the fall of 2021, he expects to enroll at Georgia Tech.

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NASA Intern Thankful for New Career

David Tucker had spent nearly 20 years cooking at restaurants and hotels, with the last eight spent as a sous chef. “When everyone else is excited for a holiday and saying, ‘Yay! It’s Thanksgiving!’ I would think, “Okay so that just means I get to work twice as hard now.” He was in his mid-30’s when he realized he just wasn’t happy and wanted more for himself.


So, he enrolled at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) on a whim. “It was kind of daunting at first, being out of school for that long. And you don’t even write or use a computer when you’re working in the kitchens, it’s just non-stop hands-on work.” Still, he knew he wanted to change his own trajectory somehow. “I wasn’t even sure about what major to take. I knew I was good with my hands, putting things together, so I decided on Mechanical Engineering Technology. I thought there would always be a need for engineering.”

When he took that path he never thought a career at NASA was a possibility, until a teacher came in one day and encouraged students to apply for the STEM Takes Flight program https://vsgc.odu.edu/stemtakesflight/.


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How We Got to the Moon’ tells the story of NASA’s 1960s venture in rich detail

Author-illustrator John Rocco has worked on many kinds of projects over the years, including designing demigods for the covers of the Percy Jackson, Magnus Chase and Kane Chronicles book series. In his latest book, he focuses on heroes from a different realm: the human engineers and scientists who worked on the United States space program in the 1960s.

In researching, writing and illustrating “How We Got to the Moon,” his first work of nonfiction, Rocco wanted to showcase the science and the human ingenuity that made the 1969 Apollo moon landing a reality. He also wanted to present the mission, which employed 400,000 people across the United States, as “a blueprint” for addressing current “problems that sometimes seem impossible, like climate change and racial injustice. If you look at how people came together back then, you can see a way through.”


Continue reading the article here.

(Photos by Hayley Rocco, left; Penguin Random House)

Two South Carolina women lead NASA teams aiming for the moon and beyond

A few years ago, Vanessa Wyche was in the launch control complex at Kennedy Space Center when she saw a woman wearing a Clemson University lanyard attached to a NASA badge.

“Hey,” she said excitedly to Charlie Blackwell-Thompson.

Despite studying at Clemson’s engineering department for a few years at the same time, the women had never met.

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Meet the Mother-Son Duo Translating Astrophysics Into Blackfoot

Corey Gray and Sharon Yellowfly want to bring gravitational wave astronomy to speakers of the language.


WHENEVER HER SON DETECTS A strange force rippling in the fabric of spacetime, such as a gravitational wave or binary black hole, Sharon Yellowfly begins the delicate work of translating the vocabulary of his work—astrophysics—into Blackfoot, an indigenous language. Blackfoot traditionally has no words for these kinds of observations. Sometimes her act of translation is as simple as mashing two words together. Other times, it rises to the level of poetry. After hearing an astronomer describe the sound black holes make as a “chirp,” Yellowfly translated the term into biixiini_gi, or “bird singing.”


Read the full article, authored by Sabrina Imbler.

Black hole revelations win the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics

Research that unveiled the most mysterious objects in the cosmos has garnered science’s highest honor.

Three scientists who cemented the reality of black holes have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford, Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany and Andrea Ghez of UCLA will split the prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced October 6.

Black holes are massive objects with a gravitational field so strong that nothing can escape once it falls within, not even light. At their centers, black holes harbor a puzzling zone called a singularity, where the laws of physics cease to make sense.


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Op-Ed | What the 2010s taught us about women in space

Is the future of spaceflight female?

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir captured the world’s attention with their historic all-woman spacewalk at the end of 2019. The 2020s is beginning with the duo scheduled to repeat their historic first twice more by the end of January. Is the future of spaceflight female?

If popular culture mirrors society, it is clear society craves more women in science, engineering, and space — not in skimpy skirts and silent roles, but as central characters that drive the story. Hidden Figures, a 2016 movie based on the book by the same name, told us the forgotten story of three African American women who helped launch John Glenn into orbit during America’s Jim Crow era.

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Image credit: NASA

NASA to test precision automated landing system designed for the moon and Mars on upcoming Blue Origin mission

NASA  is going to be testing a new precision landing system designed for use on the tough terrain of the moon and Mars for the first time during an upcoming mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable suborbital rocket. The “Safe and Precise Landing – Integrated Capabilities Evolution” (SPLICE) system is made up of a number of lasers, an optical camera and a computer to take all the data collected by the sensors and process it using advanced algorithms, and it works by spotting potential hazards, and adjusting landing parameters on the fly to ensure a safe touchdown.

SPLICE will get a real-world test of three of its four primary subsystems during a New Shepard mission to be flown relatively soon. The Jeff Bezos -founded company typically returns its first-stage booster to Earth after making its trip to the very edge of space, but on this test of SPLICE, NASA’s automated landing technology will be operating on board the vehicle the same way they would when approaching the surface of the moon or Mars. The elements tested will include “terrain relative navigation,” Doppler radar and SPLICE’s descent and landing computer, while a fourth major system — lidar-based hazard detection — will be tested on future planned flights.


Read the full article here.


Image credit: Blue Origin

Vega rocket deploys 53 satellites on successful return to flight mission

Delayed a year by a launch failure, the coronavirus pandemic and a stretch of stiff upper level winds this summer, an Italian-made Vega rocket vaulted into orbit from French Guiana on Wednesday night and deployed 53 small satellites from 13 countries to punctuate a flawless return to flight mission.

The rideshare launch set a record for the most satellites ever flown on a European rocket, and helped validate process changes introduced to resolve the problem on the Vega’s second stage that caused a failure on the launcher’s previous mission.

Photo Optique Video du CSG – JM Guillon

LightSail 2 solar sail spots Hurricane Laura from space as satellites track storm’s path

Lightsail 2 is hardly the only satellite watching the storm: a host of missions run by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are also studying Laura in order to better keep meteorologists and disaster response experts apprised.

Hurricane Laura is currently a Category 3 storm based on its wind speeds and will likely strengthen to a Category 4 storm later today (Aug. 26) before making landfall, according to a forecast from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

Read the full article here.