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Posts Tagged ‘Space Exploration’

New Leading Issue: Private Space Sector

Private Space Sector Leading Issue via SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Issues Researcher’s new Leading Issue: Private Space Sector is out of this world!

The future of space travel is taking off with private companies. This action-packed Leading Issue will help students explore how the private sector is launching reusable rockets, hauling cargo to the International Space Station, and providing useful services to NASA. The private sector also wants to make space tourism happen by 2020.

Students don’t have to wait until college and career to gain experience with space science! Besides delving into the Private Space Sector Leading Issue, students can also learn about the space industry through hands-on experience. Explore the links below for opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience with NASA and private sector programs.

 

NASA Programs:

  •  NASA Education’s page includes a wealth of knowledge for students and teachers through STEM education. Guidance for education includes an A-Z list of projects, design challenges, and opportunities for students to interact with NASA.
  • Current Opportunities for Students is also included in the NASA Education website. This page provides webcasts, contests, and lectures. It also lists scholarship and intern possibilities.
  • United Launch Alliance provides cost-effective launch services for NASA. They also provide an educational page on their website dedicated to students with rocket terminology and fun facts. Students can register to compete for a CubeSat satellite launch or look into the Intern Rocket Program.
  • Student Launch is a competitive rocket launching competition designed for students to learn the importance of teamwork while building a cost-effective reusable rocket. This NASA-conducted engineering design challenge provides resources and experiences for students and teachers.
  • SystemsGo is a NASA-endorsed program that helps students design rockets using STEM and teamwork. The site offers everything from educational video resources, launch events, and even how to start an aerospace program at school.
High school students from Texas participating in the SystemsGo aeroscience engineering program launch rockets in Willow City, Texas.

High school students from Texas participating in the SystemsGo aeroscience engineering program launch rockets in Willow City, Texas. Image via Ralph Arvesen on Flickr.

 

Private Sector Programs:

  • SpaceX‘s FIRST program awards students with scholarships as well as a chance for 10-15 high school seniors to become interns. Other programs include building and battling robotics for older students and a LEGO robot challenge for kids ages 9-14.
  • Virgin Galactic offers a Global Scholarship and Mentoring Program for students interested in STEM education.
  • Blue Origin offers an Astronaut Experience. Sign up for an experience on the New Shepard space vehicle.

How are your students exploring space science? Drop us a line in the comments section below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

This Day in History: NASA Established

This day in history marks the beginning of the United States’ official journey to explore the “final frontier”–outer space. Featured here are a few of the significant events in the history of American manned space flight.

Equipping the United States for Leadership in the Space Age”President Dwight D. Eisenhower

When the Soviet Union put the first human-made object into space by launching the artificial satellite named Sputnik in October 1957, the United States faced mounting pressures to enter the “Space Race.” Fearful of being surpassed in missile technology, Congress quickly passed legislation to create a new government agency to conduct civilian space exploration. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the legislation creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration into law on July 29, 1958.

 “Sailor Among the Stars”Dr. Allen O. Gamble

The word astronaut first appeared in the English language in 1929, probably in science fiction, but it wasn’t commonly used until December 1958. That’s when NASA adopted it as the name for the men (and eventually women) it would train to compete in the space race. Dr. Gamble, NASA’s manpower director from 1958-1964, described the selection this way: “Someone found that the term aeronaut, referring to those who ride in balloons and other lighter-than-air vehicles, was derived from ‘sailor in the air.’ From this we arrived at astronaut, meaning ‘sailor among the stars.'”

Why Don’t You Fix Your Little Problem and Light This Candle?”Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr.

NASA introduced the Project Mercury astronauts to the world on April 9, 1959, only six months after the agency was established. (Credit: NASA) [public domain]

NASA introduced the Project Mercury astronauts to the world on April 9, 1959,
only six months after the agency was established. (Credit: NASA) [public domain]

The men who made up NASA’s first astronaut class were called the “Mercury 7.” The seven men chosen from a pool of more than 500 American military aviators were Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper, John H. Glenn Jr., Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Walter M. “Wally” Schirra Jr., Alan B. Shepard Jr., and Donald K. “Deke” Slayton.

Shepard became the first American man in space, making his historic suborbital flight on May 5, 1961. He made the above statement to Mission Control as he sat in the cramped Mercury capsule atop a Redstone rocket on the launch pad, while the launch was delayed for over four hours. The actual flight lasted only 15 minutes but was a success.

“Not Because They Are Easy, But Because They Are Hard”President John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy gave NASA the goal of sending a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s. On May 25, 1961, he stood before Congress and proclaimed that “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” On September 12, 1962, he gave another speech at Rice University in Houston, Texas, outlining his goals for America’s space program. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Less than seven years later, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would fulfill Kennedy’s vision by landing on the moon.

We Came in Peace for All Mankind”Plaque affixed to the leg of the Apollo 11 lunar landing vehicle

(20 July 1969)--Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible. (Credit: NASA) [public domain]

(20 July 1969)–Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., the lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible. (Credit: NASA) [public domain]

When astronauts first landed on the moon in 1969 as part of the Apollo 11 mission, they left behind evidence that they’d been there. Among these items were an American flag and a plaque, which was signed by President Richard Nixon and astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. The plaque bears a map of the Earth and this inscription:

HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH
FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON
JULY 1969 A.D.
WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND

The Eagle Has Landed”Astronaut Neil Armstrong

Six Apollo missions landed on the moon during the years between 1968 and 1972: Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. Twelve men actually walked on its surface. Each of the five later Apollo missions also left a flag. Photographs taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) satellite show the five flags still standing in place. (Buzz Aldrin reported that he saw Apollo 11’s flag blown down by rocket exhaust when the lunar lander blasted off the Moon’s surface to rejoin the orbiting command module.) The LRO images also show objects such as the lunar rovers used by some Apollo missions, and even the tire tracks they left behind.

“Okay, Houston, We’ve Had a Problem Here”Astronaut Jack Swigert

Photograph of the adaptor made from duct tape and other materials so that Command Module lithium lydroxide canisters could be used in the LM. (Credit: NASA) [public domain

Photograph of the adaptor made from duct tape and other materials so that Command Module lithium hydroxide canisters could be used in the LM. (Credit: NASA) [public domain]

Apollo 13’s journey to the moon was aborted when two of the oxygen-producing fuel cells exploded 2 days after its launch, with the spacecraft about 200,000 miles from Earth. The lack of oxygen wasn’t a real issue, but there was a problem with the CO2 scrubbers–which meant that the three astronauts on board could be suffocated by their own carbon dioxide exhalations. Guided by engineers on the ground at Mission Control, the astronauts used duct tape and surplus materials to repair air filtration canisters in the lunar module to help them survive the journey back to Earth.

“We Will Never Forget Them, Nor the Last Time We Saw Them”President Ronald Reagan

In this photo from Jan. 9, 1986, the Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist. (Credit: NASA) [public domain]

In this photo from Jan. 9, 1986, the Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist.
(Credit: NASA) [public domain]

President Reagan addressed the nation on January 28, 1986, after the Space Shuttle Challenger blew apart just 73 seconds after launch. The entire country mourned the loss of all seven astronauts aboard. The tragedy was a huge setback for the program, and the next mission wasn’t launched until almost three years later. The program suffered another catastrophe on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded over Texas during re-entry, killing all seven crew members.

The space shuttle program was launched in 1981, designed to be the “world’s first reusable spacecraft“–launching like a rocket, orbiting like a spacecraft, and landing like a plane. Crews ranged in size from five to seven people. NASA’s space shuttles have traveled 542,398,878 miles, making 21,152 Earth orbits. In all, there were 833 crew members in the 135 shuttle missions that were carried out through the end of the program in July 2011.

The history of NASA includes not only manned spaceflight, but also the exploration of our solar system, galaxies, and the entire universe. Scientific advances have been made in astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology, aeronautics, Earth and life sciences, as well as lunar and planetary exploration and much more. NASA technology and research have contributed countless innovations and technologies first pioneered in space exploration that benefit everyday life. Among these are cordless power tools, telemedicine, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, satellite television, joysticks and GPS navigation systems. The impact of our nation’s decision to enter the “Space Race” nearly 60 years ago can’t be truly defined or accurately measured.

Celebrate Buzz Aldrin’s Birthday

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the Moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the LM, the "Eagle", to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar-orbit.

Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. Flag on the Moon via Flickr [Public Domain]

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin is well-known for being one of the first people to step foot on the moon. He was part of the Apollo 11 mission, which was the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon on July 20, 1969. Although he is now a retired astronaut, he is still active in the space community. He recently wrote a book called “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration” where he explains his ideas for space travel and a future Mars mission.

Buzz Aldrin was born on Jan. 20, 1930 and he celebrates his 86th birthday today. Here are some facts about this famous astronaut:

His nickname “Buzz” was given to him by his sister.

Buzz Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name was Moon.

The name for Disney’s Toy Story character “Buzz Lightyear” was inspired by Buzz Aldrin’s name.

Astronaut_Edwin_E._Buzz_Aldrin_Jr

By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Educators, visit ProQuest SIRS Discoverer for student resources on Buzz Aldrin and space exploration. Here are some examples of searches to get you started:

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin

Outer space, Exploration

Space flight to the moon, Apollo Project

Pluto Officially Named on March 24, 1930

2005 NASA Photo of Pluto and its satellites

Pluto and Its Moons
Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

Poor Pluto. Imagine being a planet for 76 years and then all-of-a sudden finding yourself relegated to the status of just another “dwarf planet” or “plutoid” in the Kuiper Belt. Well, that’s what you get for being 4.7-billion miles away from the decision makers.

Pluto was officially named on this day (March 24) in 1930 after being discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh on February 18 of that same year. The path toward its discovery is credited to Percival Lowell who founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona and funded three separate searches for the elusive “Planet X.”

The name Pluto, after the god of the underworld, was suggested by young Venetia Burney, an 11-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England, who was interested in classical mythology. The moniker was soon embraced by wider culture. Walt Disney was apparently inspired by Tombaugh’s discovery when he introduced Mickey Mouse’s canine companion Pluto in the cartoon “The Chain Gang” in 1930.

Discovered Pluto in 1930

Clyde W. Tombaugh
Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

1914 Photo of Percival Lowell

Percival Lowell at the Lowell Observatory
Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the time of its discovery in 1930 to 2006, Pluto was considered to be the ninth planet in our solar system, but because additional (and larger) objects have been discovered, the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto and the other objects as dwarf planets. (Pluto will always be a planet to me!)

Pluto is usually farther from the Sun than any of the eight planets; however, due to the eccentricity of its orbit, it is closer than Neptune for 20 years out of its 249-year orbit. On July 14, 2015, the Pluto system is due to be visited by a spacecraft for the first time. NASA’s New Horizons probe will perform a flyby during which it will attempt to take detailed measurements and images of Pluto and its moons.

You can read all about Pluto and other closer (or more distant) objects by searching eLibrary’s list of Research Topics or by searching Magazines, Encyclopedias and Multimedia.

Keep your eyes on the skies.

Here are just a few eLibrary  space-related Research Topics & publications:

Astronomy Magazine                    Astronomy Research Topic

DK Eyewitness Space                   Earth Research Topic

The Moon                                         Observatories Research Topic

Pluto Loses Planetary Status       Space Exploration Research Topic

Stars Research Topic                     Telescope Encyclopedia Article

 

 

50 Years Since the First Spacewalk

Photo credit: Ed White First American Spacewalker via photopin (license)

Ed White First American Spacewalker
Photo credit: NASA on The Commons via photopin (license)

The 1960s were successful years for NASA and space exploration in general. With the exciting notion of sending humans into the vast unknown and sharing live broadcasts via television, space became a wondrous and tangible reality. Americans welcomed space travel and the endless possibilities, but Americans were not the only ones interested in leading the “Space Race.” On March 18, 1965, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov did something groundbreaking. He became the first person ever to spacewalk. This milestone paved the way for others to exit their capsules once in space and roam without the confines of a spacecraft. Kathryn Sullivan, the first woman to walk in space, likened spacewalking to swimming. Underwater training thus proved helpful to astronauts before traveling to space. During the height of the space program, astronauts achieved many feats with Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon being a major accomplishment. Nonetheless, spacewalking opened the door 50 years ago and transformed the way space is explored.

Take some time this month to appreciate the 50th anniversary of the first spacewalk with a lesson centered on space exploration. ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher has got you covered with three main Leading Issues on Space Exploration & Travel, Space Missions and Space Vehicles. With SIRS Leading Issues, you can rest assured that important features including Topic Overviews and Essential Questions, Terms to Know and the accompanying Critical Thinking & Analysis questions are all editorially crafted to your needs as well as your students. Our Common Core guide for Understanding Primary Sources would also be a helpful supplement to any lesson, especially one focused on space.

ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issue on Space Exploration & Travel

ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issue on Space Exploration & Travel

How will you explore space? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

The Next Giant Leap? NASA’s Bold New Missions

Last December NASA successfully launched the unmanned Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, a test flight that lasted over four hours and two trips around the earth. NASA hopes that this maiden voyage is the beginning of what will be their next giant leap: The Journey to Mars.

First things first, however. As a precursor, NASA has developed the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) where it intends to identify and redirect a near-earth asteroid in a stable orbit around the moon. In the 2020s the goal will be to send astronauts aboard Orion to explore the asteroid and bring back samples. ARM is also part of NASA’s Asteroid Initiative, which includes the Asteroid Grand Challenge, an initiative that is designed to identify and relocate potentially hazardous asteroids away from Earth. But the Asteroid Redirect Mission is clearly a stepping stone for the greatest leap that mankind has ever taken.

45 Years ago when Neil Armstrong took the first step on the Moon, it sparked the whole country’s imagination and already our thoughts had turned toward one day manning a flight to Mars. With the development and testing of Orion, that next great leap has begun. As part of the plan, NASA has begun developing technologies, such as new space suits, asteroid sampling techniques, and solar power technology to move large cargo from earth’s orbit into deep space around the moon. All these developments will help NASA make great strides toward the ultimate goal of a human expedition to Mars in the 2030s.

You can find a host of information by doing basic and advanced keyword searches for resources on specific missions to Mars, Near-Earth objects such as asteroids, and other NASA space missions, including information on NASA’s two new missions. Check out our Research Topics on the planet Mars, Mars Exploration, Mars Rover and Pathfinder Missions, and Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity), as well as one covering asteroids.

You can also browse eLibrary in the Browse by Topic section of eLibrary:

Asteroids
Exploration & Missions to Mars
Mars
Space Exploration & Technology
Space Missions & Programs