ROBERT WINGLEE (1958–2020)

We are devastated to announce that Robert Winglee, director of Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium and of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, has passed away.  He quite suddenly had a heart attack on December 24 and did not recover.

Robert was passionate about sharing his love of space and space science with others, and his impact went far beyond Seattle or the Pacific Northwest.  We invite you to join us in remembering him.  Please share your memories of Robert using #WingItLikeWinglee on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

A celebration of his life will be held in the new year — we’ll share details when they’re available.

Meet an Expert: Robert J. Nemiroff of Astronomy Picture of the Day 🗓

As fans of APOD get to see daily, our universe is vast, amazing, and beautiful.

A rotating series of images featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day.

For 25 years and counting, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day has been sharing “a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.”

This December, NESSP is very excited to present an opportunity to chat with one of the professional astronomers behind the extremely popular APOD.

Join us Tuesday, December 8, at 11 a.m. (Pacific Time) for a presentation by Robert J. Nemiroff, one of the co-founders of the Astronomy Picture of the Day. There will be time for Q&A after the talk.

Date & time

About Robert J. Nemiroff

I worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA before coming to Michigan Tech. I am perhaps best known scientifically for papers predicting, usually among others, several recovered microlensing phenomena, and papers showing, usually among others, that gamma-ray bursts were consistent with occurring at cosmological distances. I led a group that developed and deployed the first online fisheye night sky monitor, called CONCAMs, deploying later models to most major astronomical observatories. I have published as first author and refereed for every major journal in astronomy and astrophysics. My current research interests include trying to limit attributes of our universe with distant gamma-ray bursts, and investigating the use of relativistic illumination fronts to orient astronomical nebulae.

In 1995, I co-created the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) with main NASA website at http://apod.nasa.gov/. A thumbnail of the latest APOD should appear on the upper left. If you are a fan of APOD, please consider joining the Friends of APOD at http://friendsofapod.org/.

In 1999, I co-created the Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL) open repository. Housed at MTU and located online at http://ascl.net/, the ASCL now lists over 1000 codes and promotes greater research transparency. ASCL is indexed by ADS, making participating astrophysics codes easier to locate and cite.

SME talk: NASA Artemis Program Overview [ROADS News for teams (July 23, 2020)] 🗓

G’day, challenge teams!

This is a last-minute notification, but we’re excited to invite you to join us for this talk! Tomorrow — Friday, July 24 — we’ll be hearing from Patrick Troutman, lead for human exploration strategic assessments at the NASA Langley Research Center, who will be presenting an Artemis Program overview. The talk will be streamed on Facebook Live, and we hope you’ll join us!

Science Matter Expert (SME) Presentation: NASA Artemis Program Overview

Details

About Patrick Troutman

A man wearing a white shirt with a black tie and sport coat stands in front of a window. The man is white and has brown hair.Patrick A. Troutman graduated in 1984 from Virginia Tech with a BS in aerospace and oceanographic engineering along with a minor in computer science. In the past 35 years he has worked for NASA designing and assessing the International Space Station, leading systems analysis related to future space scenarios including managing the NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) program, helping to define the Vision for Space Exploration, leading the integration for the Constellation Program lunar surface architecture, and leading human space exploration mission design for the NASA Human Spaceflight Architecture Team and the Evolvable Mars Campaign. Patrick currently serves as the lead for human exploration strategic assessments at the NASA Langley Research Center where his current efforts include developing what the next set of activities for humans should be beyond the international space station including crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

ROADS on Mars Freestyle winners

We are very excited to announce the top teams from our ROADS on Mars Freestyle Challenge!  Teams were eligible for prizes as a top overall team and as “best of” the Mission Objectives.  We are also pleased to award a few additional awards to teams who were especially deserving, and to award Special Commendations for efforts that were particularly impressive.

Top Teams for Overall Excellence in Mission Performance

Millburn Phobos — New Jersey

SPACETACULAR — Texas

COVID-19 Spirit Award

Arrows of Artemis — Montana

Eagle Mind Squad — South Carolina

Intrepid Award for Best Solo Effort

Perseverance — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #2 — Map Construction

VMI — Oregon

Exploring in the Dark — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #3 — Communication Dish

Ares Bobcats — Arizona

Best of Mission Objective #4 — Lander

The Martian PALs Freestyle — New Jersey

Best of Mission Objective #5 — Map Navigation

TEAM STILE — Louisiana

Crusaders — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #6 — Search for Life

The New Von Brauns — Idaho

Best of Mission Objective #7 — Mission Development Log

Arrows of Artemis — Montana

Best of Mission Objective #8 — Video Report

ASK Academy NASA Robotics Team — New Mexico

Special Commendations

Excellence in VR

VMI — Oregon

Superlative Team Communication

The Martian PALs Freestyle — New Jersey

Excellence in Sample Collection

TEAM STILE — Louisiana

Innovative Use of LEGO

Crusaders — Washington

Excellence in Rover Design

Perseverance — Washington

Excellence in Engineering Design & Science Methodologies

Baby Dragon — Nevada

Excellence in Robotic Engineering

Kerbal Krew — South Dakota

Excellence in Robotic Programming

VMX (Valor Mars eXploration) — Oregon

Humor in Video Production

Lost in Space — Washington

Innovative Use of Google Sites for MDL

Flight Team Excel — Maine

Resourcefulness in Mapmaking

Team 127% — Montana

Let’s finish the mission! — ROADS on Mars reboot information

G’day, ROADS on mars teams!

This is the email/blog post you’ve been waiting for — we’re officially announcing the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge reboot.

This is not a restart!  We’re not asking teams to go back to the beginning and start all over again.  The challenge will pick up where we left off back in March.  You won’t lose any of the work that you’ve already done.

How will we finish the final stages of the challenge?  Virtually, by early September around when the school year usually starts.

Here are a few details:

Mini-challenges

Mini-challenge awards for most hubs have been announced.  Some hubs were still accepting mission patch submissions when the ROADS on Mars challenge went on hiatus. NESSP is working with those hubs to finish accepting submissions and announce winners.

Mission Development Log (MDL)

Each team’s MDL was originally due during the hub’s challenge event, to be reviewed during the on-deck time.  For the reboot, all MDLs will be submitted online — similar to how the mini-challenge submissions were submitted.  The submission portal for MDLs will open in August.

Running the final challenge

There will be no in-person events for any hub.  Teams will record their challenge run and submit it online for scoring.  Videos must be of one single run of the challenge — straight through, no cuts or edits.  This will result in a video that is long and difficult to upload, so teams should use social media (for example, Facebook Live) to broadcast and record their challenge run.  Teams will then submit the URL to that video for the NESSP team and hubs to review.

Teams will also submit a score sheet of their official challenge run.  NESSP will provide an official score sheet which should be used by an educator or mentor who is present during the team’s run to assess and score the team’s mission performance.  Teams will then upload that score sheet when they submit their video URL to NESSP.  We’ll use that completed score sheet to compare notes when we review the video for official scoring.

The score sheet will be available on the NESSP website later this summer, along with tips on getting good video when your team runs the challenge.

The score sheet and video will be due in September according to the submission period set by each hub — some may accept submissions in August, some in September.  We’ll announce exact dates later this summer.

More info to come!

Details on deadlines, recording your video, and submitting your materials will be available over the summer.  Keep an eye on your inbox and on the NESSP blog for information as it becomes available!

ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (June 11, 2020)

G’day, Mars enthusiasts!

From NASA — Mars2020 Launch

Even though COVID-19 restrictions are keeping Kennedy Space Center off-limits for most of us, the Mars2020 rover launch is scheduled to go forward as planned.  Currently, the rover is tentatively scheduled to launch on Monday, July 20, around 9 a.m. Eastern Time (6 a.m. Pacific Time).  As always, this depends on the weather in Florida!  But NASA will be livestreaming the launch via their usual channels.  You can get more info here: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/launch/watch-online/

From NESSP — “Meet an Expert” series

We have no sessions of “Meet an Expert” coming up, but that makes this a great time to catch up on ones you missed!

From NESSP — Mars challenge updates

ROADS on Mars Student Challenge


The ROADS on Mars Student Challenge remains on hold — but not forever!  Stay tuned for an announcement later this month on how we’re rebooting the ROADS on Mars challenge so that teams can finish their missions.

ROADS Freestyle Challenge

The ROADS Freestyle Challenge scoring process is nearly complete and we should be announcing winners by mid-June.  All teams will receive an email and prize-winning teams will be announced on our website.

Where’s Mars?

Can we see Mars in the sky yet?  It’s still an early-dawn object, but if you happen to be up you’ll find it if you look east-southeast to south.  Mars is currently in the constellation Aquarius and is growing brighter and larger every week.

Stay safe!  Keep your rovers at the ready.  And above all — have FUN.

ROADS on Mars mini-challenge winners — “Search for Signs of (Past) Life” (part 1)

We are very pleased to begin announcing some of the prize-winning teams from the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge mini-challenges!

Today we’re announcing a few of the prize-winning teams of the Search for Signs of (Past) Life mini-challenge. This goal of this challenge was:

To seek out Earth analogues of “signs of past life” in the team’s local environment. By searching for microbial life in their own community, team members will begin to gain experience in the detection of terrestrial life that cannot be easily seen by the human eye.

Team members were to first seek signs of methane using a handheld detector and then take a sample of the area to review under a microscope. They took video of their explorations and posted them to social media.

Congratulations, ROADS teams!!

* Not all hubs have finished selecting their top teams for the mini-challenges, and we’ll be announcing each mini-challenge on separate days. So the list below is a partial list of the top teams for this mini-challenge. Stay tuned as more winners are announced!

Alaska

Oosik’s — a Curiosity team from Kiita Learning Community in Barrow, AK.

Arizona

Aries — an Opportunity team from Tuba City Boarding School in Tuba City, AZ.

California

AMA Bros. — a Curiosity team from Hercules High School UAVs in Hercules, CA. See their prize-winning YouTube post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhlQRcZv2xE

DMV

  • FIRE AERO MS — an Opportunity team from FIRE – Future Innovative RIsing Engineers in Upper Marlboro, MD.
  • FIRE AERO HS — a Curiosity team from FIRE – Future Innovative Rising Engineers in Upper Marlboro, MD.

See their prize-winning Twitter posts here:

Montana

NewJersey

Millburn — a Curiosity team from Millburn High School in Millburn, NJ. See their prize-winning YouTube post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZSey0o0Br8

NewMexico

Cuh-yotes — a Curiosity team from Roswell High School MESA in Roswell, NM. See their prize-winning YouTube post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYDMFSG3Wkw

Oregon

Texas

South Belton Middle School — an Opportunity team from South Belton Middle School in Belton, TX. See their prize-winning Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/southbelton/videos/2935019906516733/

Washington

WSSB Explorers — a Sojourner team from Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, WA. See their prize-winning Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/Sch4Blind/videos/1024446564601617/

Virtual

BearsInSpace — a Curiosity team from Chittenango, NY. See their prize-winning Twitter post here: https://twitter.com/CHSBearsInSpace/status/1217541708826710016

ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (May 13, 2020)

G’day, Mars enthusiasts!

How do you make the journey from doing robotics competitions in high school to working at Houston’s Mission Control?  Well, we just so happen to know someone who’s done exactly that!

“Meet an Expert” series

We’ve had some great “Meet an Expert” chats this spring, with another one coming up this week!  Hope you’ll be able to join us, because this is going to be exciting….

“Meet an Expert” — Ben Honey from Mission Control

What’s it like to work in Mission Control at Johnson Space Center?  Ben Honey is joining us on Zoom to tell us all about it!  “Ben has always loved space exploration, but his first love was astronomy and planetary science. He changed focus to engineering after joining the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) club in high school.”

Details:

“Meet an Expert” — Series archives

If you’ve missed any of our previous chats, you can access them anytime on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1mqPwuC2YI&list=PL1p2GTGjWAoh7yFlgWCJS31Y4-OK9rd8T

Mars2020 progress

The NASA team at Kennedy Space Center continues to progress on preparing the Perseverance rover for its mission to the Red Planet.  Mars and the Earth are in alignment for space travel only every few years, so this July’s launch is an important window that can’t be missed.

You can follow along with the rover’s preparations on NASA’s Mars2020 blog:

Where’s Mars in the sky?

Can you see Mars in the sky right now?  Well, maybe if you’re an early bird (or a night owl who’s up very, very late).  Here’s an excerpt from Sky & Telescope’s “Sky at a Glance” says for May 8–16:

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn shine in the southeast to south before and during early dawn.  Jupiter, the brightest, is on the right. Before dawn begins, spot the Sagittarius Teapot to the right of it. Saturn glows pale yellow to Jupiter’s left. Mars is much farther to Saturn’s left or lower left. In a telescope Mars is no longer a tiny blob but a little gibbous disk. Mars is on its way to an excellent opposition in early October.

Opposition, in astronomy terms, is when Mars will be on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.  We see the moon in an approximate opposition every month during full moon.  When the moon is in a more exact opposition with the Earth and sun, we have a lunar eclipse.

Mars, of course, is much too far away to be eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow, but its opposition in October will be an excellent opportunity to view the planet in the night sky.

ROADS on Mars Student Challenge update

The ROADS on Mars Student Challenge remains on hold for the time being.  But we are excited to (finally) be announcing some of the prize-winning mini-challenge teams!  The first wave of top teams for the Landscape Morphology mini-challenge are up on our website: https://nwessp.org/2020/05/roads-on-mars-mini-challenge-winners-landscape-morphology-part-1/  More mini-challenge top teams will be announced in the coming weeks!

ROADS Freestyle Challenge update

Freestyle teams, don’t forget that your submissions are due by Monday, May 18!  The submission form is live on our website: https://nwessp.org/programs/pages/challenges/current/mars-freestyle/submit/

Stay safe!  Keep your rovers at the ready.  And above all — have FUN.

ROADS on Mars mini-challenge winners — “Landscape Morphology” (part 1)

We are very pleased to begin announcing some of the prize-winning teams from the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge mini-challenges!

Today we’re announcing a few of the prize-winning teams of the Landscape Morphology mini-challenge. This goal of this challenge was:

Study how environments are modified by the action of water that may have formed the delta, and high velocity impacts that produce the catering in the vicinity of the Jerezo crater. This component, called Landscape Morphology, is particularly relevant today where regions are being impacted by record breaking storms each year.

Team members were to first theorize their own ideas about what might have created the features of Jezero crater and then test their theories by devising and carrying out an experiment. They took video of their experiments and posted them to social media.

Congratulations, ROADS teams!!

* Not all hubs have finished selecting their top teams for the mini-challenges, and we’ll be announcing each mini-challenge on separate days. So the list below is a partial list of the top teams for this mini-challenge. Stay tuned as more winners are announced!

Arizona

The Flaming Llamacorns — an Opportunity team from Thatcher Elementary School in Thatcher, AZ. See their prize-winning YouTube post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVYulQ5IxKE

California

Flight Team Five — an Opportunity team from Los Angeles Academy Middle School in Los Angeles, CA. See their prize-winning Instagram post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B6Tg7NdDfnm/

Dakotas

Kerbal Krew — a Curiosity team from Spearfish Robotics Club in Spearfish, SD. See their prize-winning YouTube post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGTpl5d-0MM

DMV

Montana

Nevada

New Jersey

Millburn — a Curiosity team from Millburn High School in Millburn, NJ. See their prize-winning YouTube post here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw3mt9D67iI

New Mexico

R4Robotics — a Curiosity team from R4Creating in Rio Rancho, NM. See their prize-winning Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/R4Creating/posts/2540227559588147

Oklahoma

Gobble Obble — an Opportunity team from Homeschool Group in Noble, OK. See their prize-winning Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/dagobble.obble.9/videos/120030312890881/

Oregon

Elbot 3000 — a Curiosity team from Stayton High School in Stayton, OR, OR. See their prize-winning Instagram post here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B7chWxHp8uV/

Texas

Sunray Bobcats Ares X-plorer — an Opportunity team from Sunray Middle School in Sunray, TX. See their prize-winning Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/SBAX2020/posts/108818827324128

Utah

Patriot Robotics Operators (PROs) — a Curiosity team from Providence Hall High School in Herriman, UT. See their prize-winning Instagram post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B6UH230Asgl/

Washington

DAB’EM — an Opportunity team from Roosevelt Elementary in Port Angeles, WA. See their prize-winning Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2403818296599463

Virtual

Rivergold Flight Crew — a Spirit team from Rivergold Elementary School in Coarsegold, CA. See their prize-winning Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2403818296599463

ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (May 1, 2020)

G’day, ROADS Freestyle teams!

First things first.  If you haven’t heard …

ROADS Freestyle — Submission date extended!

That’s right, you have a few more weeks to finish up your mission and send your submission materials to us.  Submissions are now due on Monday, May 18.  We’ll have a submissions portal on our website soon.

Also….

Virtual meeting for team support — Tuesday, May 5

Have questions about the ROADS Freestyle Challenge?  Chat with NESSP on Tuesday, May 5, to get answers.  And don’t forget that you can always submit questions to us via email: nwessp@uw.edu

Details:

  • Tuesday, May 5
  • 1 p.m. (Pacific Time) / 4 p.m. (Eastern Time)
  • Platform: Zoom

Instructions for joining us on Zoom:

You can join us two ways:

1) The meeting will be online using Zoom. To access both audio and video, join the meeting using this link: https://washington.zoom.us/j/5555431943

We recommend taking a few minutes prior to the meeting time to set up Zoom so that you don’t miss the first few minutes of the chat!

2)  To listen to the audio only, use either of these access phone numbers:

+1-669-900-6833. Meeting ID: 5555431943#; then press # again. (U.S.; San Jose.)

+1-646-876-9923. Meeting ID: 5555431943#; then press # again. (U.S.; New York.)

See you soon!