MSU student gives back to youth robotics program that led her to engineering

BOZEMAN — When Haley Ketteler reflects on how she came to study engineering at Montana State University, one moment stands out. She was 10, in her hometown of Pierre, South Dakota, at a 4-H workshop where kids could tinker with robots made of Legos.

“I was hooked, which was funny because I’d never done anything like that before,” said Ketteler, now a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mechatronics. “It was just that little spark. I knew I wanted to keep doing this.”

She found a home for her newfound robotics passion in an international nonprofit organization called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, which is designed to inspire interest in science, technology engineering and math among K-12 students. When MSU hosts nearly 120 teams from across Montana and beyond for a FIRST robotics competition this Friday and Saturday, Ketteler will be there as a volunteer, supporting the activity that led her to where she is today.


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NASA Organizes “Story Time From Space’ Where Astronauts Read Bedtime Stories To Kids From The Space Station

What kid doesn’t love falling asleep while listening to a captivating story? Not only is it fun, but listening to bedtime stories also help develop kids’ literacy, vocabulary, and imagination. But do parents love doing it as much as their children would like to? Well, sadly, not everyone. So, if you’re one of those who get bored reading to your kids every night, there are people who can help you out. Believe it or not, those people are real astronauts. Thanks to the Global Space Education Foundation’s special project called Story Time from Space, there are astronauts who read popular children’s books from space.

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NASA Astronaut Christina Koch Sets New Record For Longest Spaceflight By A Woman

NASA astronaut Christina Koch has just set a new record for the longest spaceflight by a woman! On December 28, Koch officially exceeded fellow NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson’s 2017 record of 289 days and 5 hours. Koch’s original flight was supposed to be only 6 months long, but NASA extended her stay on the International Space Station (ISS) – in part to collect more data about how human bodies function after long periods in space. “It is a wonderful thing for science,” Koch said in an interview this week from the ISS. “We see another aspect of how the human body is affected by microgravity for the long term. That is really important for our future spaceflight plans, going forward to the moon and Mars…. Having the opportunity to be up here for so long is truly an honor.”


Read more about Astronaut Christina Koch and her mission here.


📸: @NASA

LSU emergency training group affiliates with LaSpace to boost workforce training efforts

With a goal of better preparing a growing commercial space workforce, the LSU National Center for Biomedical Research and Training/Academy of Counter Terrorist Education, or NCBRT/ACE, is affiliating with the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, or LaSpace.

The partnership aims to leverage the strengths of both LSU organizations as they collaborate and explore new training frontiers for Louisiana students and the workforce for the university’s role in aerospace research, education, technology and economic development in the aerospace field.

Read more about this partnership

One Giant Leaf for Mankind

With plans to establish a permanent base on the moon’s surface in the next decade or so, NASA is one step closer to sending humans to Mars. But a mission to the red planet will likely take years to complete, begging the question: What will astronauts eat during their interplanetary voyage?

The answer: Vegetables, according to Joseph Taylor, a senior at NC State’s College of Natural Resources and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Taylor, who is double majoring in environmental science and plant biology, recently spent the summer interning at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As one of nine students selected to assist the agency’s food production team, Taylor’s main task was to identify candidate crops for missions to the moon and Mars.

Read more about Joseph Taylor’s biology work for NASA.


Here’s what 2020 could bring to spaceflight

But as 2020 begins, the rosy promise of those developments could quickly be overruled by gravity and engineering issues. Already, NASA finds itself struggling with a technical problem – a software issue that marred the maiden flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft just before Christmas and prevented it from reaching the International Space Station. It is a reminder of the many things that can go wrong when attempting to punch through the atmosphere.

Read more about this year in space exploration.


UNC alumna, astronaut Zena Cardman could be first woman to walk on Moon

In the 1997 film Contact, based on the book by Carl Sagan, Ellie Arroway played by Jodie Foster comments on her view of the cosmos: “They should have sent a poet.” NASA has that chance now in UNC Chapel Hill alumna Zena Cardman.

Born in Urbana, Illinois, Zena Cardman calls Williamsburg, Va. home today. She graduated from UNC in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, honors in poetry and minors in marine science, creative writing, and chemistry. She also earned a master’s degree in marine science from UNC in 2014. She was selected to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate class from more than 18,000 applicants. Her research has focused on microorganisms in subsurface environments, ranging from caves to deep sea sediments. Cardman’s field experience includes multiple Antarctic expeditions, work aboard research vessels as both scientist and crew, and NASA analog missions in British Columbia, Idaho and Hawaii.

Read more about Cardman’s accomplishments and journey at NASA.

Shooting for the moon with NASA

Freshman chemical engineering major Jacob Hewes describes himself as a self-starter.

“I’m always challenging myself to work harder and be the best at what I do,” he says. “When all my friends were looking for jobs in retail or customer service, I wanted to do something that I knew would be valuable to my development as a chemical engineer.”

During the summer entering his senior year of high school, Hewes was accepted into the UD-K12 Engineering Internship Program, which paired students with 10-week research projects.


Read more about Jacob Hewes’ journey here.

NASA mission catches nearby asteroid ejecting material into space

(CNN)NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission arrived at near-Earth asteroid Bennu a year ago, and the spinning top-shaped space rock has been full of surprises. The latest findings now classify it as an active asteroid with observable events happening on the surface.

OSIRIS-REx and Bennu got to meet face-to-face on December 3 of last year. OSIRIS-REx has been orbiting the asteroid, which is 70 million miles from Earth, since December 31, 2018. It’s a “rubble pile” asteroid, a grouping of rocks held together by gravity rather than a single object.

Future moon landing will leave U of M ‘footprint’

Physicist Keith Goetz developing instruments for new lunar investigations

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (07/17/2019) — The University of Minnesota will contribute instruments to a series of 12 new NASA investigations on the moon in preparation for landing astronauts there in 2024. The payloads will be delivered aboard three landers as part of NASA’s Artemis lunar program. Seven will be devoted to planetary science and heliophysics, five to demonstrating new technologies. Launches are tentatively set to begin in 2021.

The U of M project, led by physicist Keith Goetz, will be part of the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment (LuSEE), which will carry out extensive measurements of electromagnetic phenomena on the lunar surface. The principal investigator for LuSEE is U of M College of Science and Engineering alumnus Stuart Bale (M.S. Physics ’92, Ph.D. ’94), now a professor at the University of California Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory.

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