Monday, November 03, 2008

Getting Involved in Space Education and Research

Hat tip to Darlene the Science Cheerleader for developing yet another cool way to help private citizens get involved in and practicing science. I thought I'd post the suggestions I sent here as well. There are many ways to get involved in science or engineering projects. Below is just a partial list from the space exploration perspective.

Some of these probably count as engineering projects, but I thought I'd include them anyway. I know, you're shocked, but these are all space-related.

SETI@Home (
SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.

Planetary Society projects related to advocacy and education, extrasolar planets, innovative technologies, international missions, Mars exploration, near-Earth objects, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) (

Mars Society University Rover Challenge (
For the third year, teams of university students will design and build the next generation of Mars rovers. May 28-30, 2009 the teams and their rovers will face off at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.

Mars Society Pressurized Rover Challenge (
A contest was started by the Mars Society in 2000 to design analog pressurized rover concepts that could be tested at the Society's analog stations. The contest is officially over, but in typical Mars Society fashion, teams have been continuing to work on rover designs since.

Mars Society Mars Analog Research Stations(
This Task Force is responsible for the design and development of our Mars Analog Bases. This task force will work on all phases of project development and provide The Mars Society with periodic detailed reports of progress.

The Mars Foundation's Mars Homestead Project (
The Mars Homestead™ Project, the main project of the Mars Foundation™, is developing a unified plan for building the first habitat on Mars by exploiting local materials. The ultimate goal of the project is to build a growing, permanent settlement beyond the Earth, thus allowing civilization to spread beyond the limits of our small planet.

Mars Gravity Biosatellite Program (
The Mars Gravity Biosatellite Program is a ground-breaking undertaking to study the effects of Martian gravity on mammals. We are taking the first step towards human missions to Mars - and beyond. Data from this mission will make a significant contribution to our understanding of fundamental space biology and greatly advance human space exploration. To find out how students are advancing human space exploration, please check out the rest of our website!

Huntsville Alabama L5 Society (HAL5) Project HALO (
Working in our spare time, we are currently working on our next hybrid rocket. It is a derivative of the old ARCAS sounding rocket that we dubbed Tube Launch 1 (TL-1). Working part time one night a week. For additional information about Project HALO, meeting location, and tax-deductible donations, please Just drop us an email . We currently have needs for avionics / data instrumentation and tube launcher volunteers.

NASA Student Launch Initiative ( and NASA University Student Launch Initiative (
The NASA Student Launch Initiative, or SLI, involves middle and high school students in designing, building and testing reusable rockets with associated scientific payloads. This unique hands-on experience allows students to demonstrate proof-of-concept for their designs and gives previously abstract concepts tangibility.
The NASA University Student Launch Initiative, or USLI, is a competition that challenges university-level students to design, build and fly a reusable rocket with scientific payload to one mile in altitude. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers. Students propose to participate in USLI during the fall. Once selected, teams design their rocket and payload throughout the school year. USLI requires a NASA review of the teams’ preliminary and critical designs. The project also requires flight readiness and safety reviews before the rockets and payloads are approved for launch. After launch, teams complete a final report to include conclusions from their science experiment and the overall flight performance. The Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, and Flight Readiness Review are conducted by panels of scientists and engineers from NASA and from NASA contactors and external partners.

NASA Faculty Research Programs (

NASA Educator Programs (

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