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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 778 | Comments: 0

Mr. Bradham in class
Today's featured DonorsChoose project is: Launch a Rocket of Success. Mr. Bradham is looking to buy rocket kits for his science class to teach his students about physics and space exploration. He says that his students are, "eager for knowledge. Unfortunately, they lack the adequate financial means to provide for supplies that could further their understanding of science concepts." Mr. Brandham is looking for a "hook" to get students interested in and excited about science and from past experience with rocketry programs he has found that students are captivated by rocket launches and this provides a stepping stone for him to teach other science concepts in the classroom.

I can't argue with Mr. Bradham's logic. I remember when I was a kid and I got a hold of my first rocketry set. It was a basic ESTES model that I had to glue and assemble myself. I really enjoyed learning about the physics and chemistry of the launches. Launching the rockets in my local park was always a blast, but the hobby was expensive! The engines for my rockets were like $5 and for a grade schooler with a tiny allowance of a couple dollars a month it was hard to fuel my obsession. I think it's very sad that Mr. Bradham can't get the funding from his school for this project because he teaches in a high poverty district. I see enormous value in this type of activity as a teaching tool. The excitement of a rocket launch can quickly translate into student fervor in the class room to try to understand how to make the rockets fly higher and faster.

Mr. Bradham has a long way to go to fund his project though, so we need your help! Every little bit counts, so please donate whatever you can to make this happen.

You can view more projects by visiting our giving page.

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Author: Evie | Views: 9585 | Comments: 12
Last by Evie on Nov 10, 2011, 6:08pm
It would seem as though the end of an era is upon us. Tomorrow, will be the last scheduled launch of the NASA Space Shuttle. Or at least, that's what the current plan says. Never know with that Florida weather. Regardless of the date, there is only one mission left in the old bird. After which, NASA will recall it's vehicles, and the shuttle will be retired. For good.

I'm not typically one who cares much about so called historical events. However, I do find myself thinking: 'Awww.. no more shuttle.. Awwww'. Yes, there are 2 'Aww's in there. I'm as surprised as you are.

Being the space nut that I am, I spent much of my childhood day dreaming about what it would be like to take a ride up to space in that thing. So much so, that I in fact became the first person to land on the newly repaved landing strip runway at Cape Canaveral.

It was back in the early 80's. My family and I flew to FL to spend the summer with my grandma. During our stay, we took a road trip up to the Cape, and the eager little toddler that I was got on a facility tour bus with the big kids. My parents came along too. The bus took us all around the complex. No I don't remember any of this, but I do h . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 3902 | Comments: 7
Last by Torbjörn Larsson on Jul 21, 2011, 8:45pm
This week's guest blogger is Rachana Bhatawdekar. She's a budding astrophysicist currently traveling Europe and Asia. You can find her and a bunch of sciency tweets on twitter as @astrogeek03.


When astronomers look in to deep space they can ‘look-back’ in to time, billions of years. Now I can understand it can take light a while to get here, but how did WE get here, considering we originated in the big bang just like all the stuff created whose light reaches us many years later?

Was the emergence of life unavoidable? Is it the result of a process that would have had to occur sooner or later? Or else is it the outcome of coincidences so improbable that time spans much longer than the age of the Universe would be insufficient to explain it by a random process?

Of course, when one has plenty of time, even the improbable becomes possible. When one plays dice for a very long time, one always ends up by throwing a double six three times in a row.

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Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 1683 | Comments: 0
Waddell Robey is back for another week! He has eighteen years of aerospace engineering and management experience and thirty plus years in health and human services research. He is a strong space exploration activist and maintains a steady commentary on Twitter as XiNeutrino and through direct mailings to NASA leadership. He has several blogs devoted to space exploration. His philosophy is that we are here to explore, and in exploring we discover, and in discovering we seek to explain, and in explaining we enrich that which we call science.

The retirement of NASA’s shuttle is pending, and with that comes an approaching end to the glorious service of the Hubble Space Telescope; unless there can be an alternative method of maintaining its service. Why should we worry? The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is designed to be Hubble’s successor. Unlike Hubble, the JWST, located in an L2-L4 orbit, will not require regular servicing and will provide astronomers and other cosmic investigators with new and expanded capabilities. Well, that is fine, but why let such a ver . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 9915 | Comments: 4
Last by Nelson on Feb 01, 2011, 9:11am
This week's guest blogger is Waddell Robey. He has eighteen years of aerospace engineering and management experience and thirty plus years in health and human services research. He is a strong space exploration activist and maintains a steady commentary on Twitter as XiNeutrino and through direct mailings to NASA leadership. He has several blogs devoted to space exploration. His philosophy is that we are here to explore, and in exploring we discover, and in discovering we seek to explain, and in explaining we enrich that which we call science.

Introduce a topic about space elevators within a group of space travel enthusiasts and you will usually get a variety of reactions from eye-rolls, to snickers, to nods of acceptance and interest. Although there is continuing encouragement, especially from NASA, for design research into the total space elevator concept, there remains several critical areas that pose serious barriers. One of the most important and the most challenging to address is the exposure of the space elevator to intense radiation.

Anchored to an ocean platform on the equator and to a geo-synchronous space terminal 100,000 k . . . More
Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 607 | Comments: 4
Last by Angry Scientist on Dec 23, 2010, 9:41pm

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Author: Evie | Views: 10985 | Comments: 8
Last by Mike VH on Jun 18, 2013, 11:15am
Physics is cool.

It turns out that in the big bad dark vastness of the ever expanding, contracting, and moving universe, you can find certain spots that are always at rest.

Well I mean that’s all relative. They’re at rest relative to more massive bodies orbiting in their vicinity.

Say you’ve got your Sun and you’ve got your Earth, and you’re a much much smaller object, like a satellite, or space telescope. Well as it turns out, there are 5 points in space, not too far from both those bodies, which if placed at, you would appear to be holding your position steady with respect to both those large bodies.

This means, that even though you’re in motion, the Sun is in motion, the Earth is in motion, and the rest of the galaxy is hurling toward the unknown, you will still be in very good company. Your Earth and your Sun will literally always be there. In the same exact (relative) spots.

I think that is pretty damn cool.

What you're seeing here is an animated sketch of the relative motion of the bodies in question. The big yellow ball in the middle is the Sun, the blue small one is the Earth, and the labeled green points are the 'parking spots'. This pic is from Wikipedia, . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 14291 | Comments: 9
Last by Silwin Pereira on Jul 22, 2013, 5:41am

You may be asking yourself what is this space junk I speak of, and why am I bothering you with this.. Well, I am glad you asked!

Space Junk is pretty much anything that is left over, discarded, or no longer functioning, that happens to orbit our little globe here.

It can be debris from a space collision, left over parts from rockets, satellites, launch vehicles. Any object that is left adrift, floating in space in our immediate vicinity.

As you may be aware, the growing problem of space junk is becoming more real with every new launch that occurs.

You see, every single satellite system, shuttle mission, or top secret government experiment that is launched into space, requires (at this point) rockets to get there.

As they ascend and maneuver themselves into their target position, they shed large amounts of solid components that have served their purpose, and are no longer required. These can be burned out motor cases, or smaller connecting rings that held the separate stages of the rockets together, or even nuts and bolts that have been ejected.

These shed components, they don’t go anywhere.. they just hang out in orbit for a really really long time, till they eventually come crashing down to Earth. Usually burning up and dis . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 17410 | Comments: 13
Last by anonymous on Apr 22, 2012, 3:48pm

Did you hear the news? It would appear our astronomers have found a planet named Gliese 581g, not too far from us, that according to the data, could possibly sustain life as we know it.

Cool!!! This is very exciting! Of course this does not mean they found life on the planet, or that they even have a way to do so, 'cause they don't at the moment. But it does tell us there are other places in this universe that could potentially be not-too-hostile for life as we know it to exist, and possibly for us to explore/relocate to.

The discovery was made by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The scientists used data from the HIRES spectrometer at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, and the HARPS at the European Southern Observatory in La Silla, Chile to come up with this data.

They looked for evidence of 'wobbles' in the movements of stars to locate new planets. If a star were to move unhindered across the night sky, its path or trajectory would be smooth. But if it were to 'wobble' or make a slight off-tra . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 2223 | Comments: 8
Last by katesisco on Jun 01, 2011, 2:12pm
I'm excited about this new finding. Not only because water is a good thing to have in the far reaches of space, but because the new theory of how the water got there came into existence by analyzing new data, and discarding an old theory.

It is so important to remember that everything we think we know about stuff, can be totally turned around when new or additional information becomes available.

Back in 2001, water vapor was discovered in a cloud around a Carbon star named IRC+10216. It is the most studied carbon star to date. A Carbon star has an atmosphere containing more carbon than oxygen. The two elements combine to form carbon monoxide and the reaction continues until all the oxygen is consumed, leaving carbon atoms free to form other carbon compounds. This gives rise to the Carbon star's characteristic red 'sooty' look.

Located roughly 500 light years from Earth, IRC+10216 also known as CW Leonis, is about 4 times as massive as our Sun. Size wise, if placed in the center of our own solar system, it would sprawl out beyond . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 1382 | Comments: 2
Last by Evie on Aug 09, 2010, 10:28am
Imagine if everyone on the planet cared about science, knew about science, helped figure out new things, and partook in advancing humanity. A dream? Maybe.

This week, a lucky group of 7th graders did just that! They found a formerly unknown cave on Mars! On MARS! That’s right, a group of 13 yr olds working on a science project at Evergreen Middle School, located in Cottonwood, CA, made this really cool discovery. They got this opportunity thanks to an amazing program called the Mars Student Imaging Program (MSIP). The program allows kids to come up with an interesting geological question about the red planet, and try and answer it. Their science teacher Dennis Mitchell said "The students developed a research project focused on finding the most common locations of lava tubes on Mars." With their question in mind, the kids looked through over 200 pictures taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging system (THEMIS) aboard NASA’s Mars Odyssey Orbiter. They then selected a target location, and got to command the imaging system themselves to take pictures of the Pavonis Mons volcano and surrounding area.

According to Glen Cushing, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist "This pit is certainly new to us, and it is only the second one known to be associated with Pavonis . . . More