25
May 11

Portuguese school contacts the International Space Station

Source: ESA Portugal

The School EBI / JI of Montenegro, Faro established radio contact with the International Space Station on the afternoon of Monday, 23rd . The connection was organized under the program ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) that enables radio amateurs around the world come into contact with the station.

At 13h36, the appointed time for bonding, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, greeted the students, who waited, anxious and somewhat nervous, by contact, made ​​from the school auditorium. The twenty questions drawn up by many other students from the 7th to 9th grade, were put one by one, a call lasting 15 minutes.


NASA's Astronaut Cattherine Coleman.
Image credit: NASA.

"What is the biggest fright caught in space?","Do astronauts in orbit feel more homesick?"  or "What is the future of the station?", were some of the questions made by students from Algarve. Besides the students and teachers in the auditorium, the remaining school population could also assist communication, since this was broadcast on LiveStream.

"Students have a great fascination about Space matters  and are highly motivated for these activities, " says Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Patricia Raposo, a major local leader of the initiative.

Patricia Raposo had participated last June in a summer school for secondary school teachers, sponsored by the European Space Agency at its facilities in ESTEC, the Netherlands. This provided the idea to participate in ARISS. Almost a year after application, the call happened.


Amateurs prepare radio transmission.
Image credit: EBI-JI Montenegro.

This is the first time a school of Algarve participates in the program . This remarkable event was only possible thanks to the "extraordinary collaboration of the Network of Amateur Radio Transmitters and Portuguese Club of Loulé, ' says Patricia Raposo.


School Students EBI / JI of Montenegro ask questions of the astronaut Catherine Coleman.
Image credit: EBI-JI Montenegro.

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25
May 11

Altimetry Is Defining Mercury's Shape

Source: MESSENGER Mission Highlights


MLA coverage (left) of Mercury as May 21, 2011.
Image credit: NASA/Messenger Mission.

MESSENGER's Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) in its first two months of operation has already built up a grid of ground tracks that span most of Mercury’s surface north of the equator. (read more)

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25
May 11

Kepler-10c and a New Method to Validate Planets

Source: Kepler@NASA


Artist's conception of Kepler-10 Stellar Family Portrait.
Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech.

Today Kepler team is announcing another member of the Kepler-10 family, called Kepler-10c (larger foreground object in the image on this page). It has a radius of 2.2 times that of Earth's, and it orbits the star every 45 days. Both Kepler-10b and 10c would be blistering hot worlds.

The Kepler-10 system is located about 560 light-years away near the Cygnus and Lyra constellations. Kepler has discovered two planets around this star. Kepler-10b is, to date, the smallest known rocky exoplanet, or planet outside our solar system (dark spot against yellow sun). This planet, which has a radius of 1.4 times that of Earth's, whips around its star every .8 days. Its discovery was announced in Jan. 2011. (read more)

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25
May 11

50 years ago-Public decision to go to the Moon

Fifty years ago, a young president struggling with deepening international issues set a fledgling space agency on a course that would change the history of human exploration. NASA is now commemorating President John F. Kennedy's historic speech that sent humans safely to the moon with a series of activities and a commitment to continue the journey of discovery and exploration that started with a desperate race into space. (learn more)

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