On Friday, Jan. 11th, high school students from around the world joined in fierce competition to claim the championship spot in the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2012. The young competitors operated robotic satellites aboard the International Space Station, or ISS, using programs they wrote in preparation for the event. The finalists watched the action via live downlink from the space station with anticipation, as astronauts supervised the satellites during the ISS Finals.
The finals event followed three months of online simulation competitions, during which the initial pool of 96 teams from the United States and 47 teams from Europe was narrowed to nine and six alliances, respectively. Each alliance consisted of three different teams of high school students that joined forces in November 2012 to collaborate and write the best computer programs to run on the SPHERES aboard the space station.
To read more about the ZERO Robotics challenge, visit https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/zero_robotics.html.
To get your math students involved in using robotics to discover algebra concepts, check out the NASA Explorer Schools lesson: Algebraic Equations: Calculator Controlled Robots. The lesson can be found on the NES Virtual Campus at http://explorerschools.nasa.gov.
Educator and astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger describes her dream job and the exciting adventures of space travel.
This program is available on the NES Virtual Campus beginning Jan 16.
NES Virtual Campus home page.
Preview of this program.
In this NASA Now classroom video, introduced by educator Kaci Heins from Northland Preparatory Academy, NASA astronaut Greg Johnson discusses the future of space exploration and the logical progression of sending humans to Mars. He talks about sending astronauts back to the moon and the possibility of building a lunar habitat to understand more about working and living in space.
Johnson has logged over 5,000 hours in more than 50 aircraft.
Preview of NASA Now: The Future of Space Travel
The monthly NASA Explorer Schools e-Blast was emailed on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 to registered participants. If you did not get a copy and you are registered with the project, contact the NES Help Desk.
Are you or your students (ages 13 years or older) curious about our nearest star, moon rocks, volcanoes and other wonders of the universe? Come to the Smithsonian’s Stars, a series of 10 lectures by Smithsonian researchers who are exploring the sun, the moon, planets, stars, galaxies and the universe. These speakers will share behind-the-scenes details about how their research is done and technologies that advance new discoveries at the Smithsonian Institution.
Each lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. and is followed by a question-and-answer session. A Discovery Station activity will take place at 4 p.m. prior to each lecture. Stay after the lecture to visit the observatory, weather permitting.
Upcoming lectures are:
• Jan. 5, 2013 — Trees in the City: Urban Tree Cover Dynamics in the District of Columbia• Feb. 2, 2013 — Volcano Breath• Feb. 16, 2013 — Venus: 50 Years After Mariner 2• Mar. 2, 2013 — Robots and Humans Unite: A Decade of Astronomical Discovery with Hectospec
For more information about the Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series and to see a full schedule of upcoming lectures, visit http://airandspace.si.edu/events/lectures/stars/index.cfm.
Questions about this lecture series should be directed to the visitor service line at 202-633-1000.
The Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series is made possible by a grant from NASA.
Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.