First Mission Discovery Experiments to Launch to Space!!!

How many high school students (ages 14-18) do you know that have had an experiment flown and carried out in space? Not many, if any, I bet! Can you imagine how exciting that would be? I know I certainly would have loved to have been able to say my experiment and flown into space when I was that age!

Well that is exactly what some students from King’s College Mission Discovery 2012 are going to be able to say. The 2 winning team’s experiments from the 2012 King’s College Mission Discovery are manifested to launch via Orbital’s Orb-1 Mission on Thursday bound for the International Space Station! WOW!

General Use Mission Patch

One of the experiments will test the effectiveness of antibiotics on E. Coli in space, something that has never been examined in depth before. The findings could have significant implications for the health of astronauts in space and the development of antibiotics here on earth.

The second experiment will examine whether slime mold grows three-dimensionally in space due to the lack of gravity. We know that here on earth slime mold has spatial memory, and can even solve mazes by avoiding its own trails.

See photos here on ISSET’s Facebook page of the students building their experiments.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.763778016984872.1073741838.190935420935804&type=1&l=d48002a730

Launch is currently scheduled for Thursday at 9:19pm (Eastern Time) out of Wallop’s Launch Facility. As anyone associated with any sort of spaceflight knows this can of course change so be sure to check for status at the Orbital Page for updates

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-1/MissionUpdate/index.shtml

I am excited to say that I will be there to view the launch and many of the surrounding activities so I promise photos and updates as often as I can! Follow along (if you’re not already) on Twitter as well – my handle is @spacechelle.

And if you’re interested in the opportunity to compete to have your experiment flown into space – check out the various ISSET Mission Discovery Events that are being offered all over the world in 2014! http://isset.org/mission_discovery/  Worth noting – most Mission Discovery events are open to High School AND University students. Are you a University that would be interested in hosting a Mission Discovery? Let me know! I would love to talk to you about it!

Space Inspires! I feel so incredibly fortunate to be part of this!

Stay tuned!

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An Exciting Day for Space!

Well I don’t know about you but I think today is an exciting day for space. Today Orbital will launch it’s Antares Rocket with the Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft headed for ISS. This will mark the final milestone for Orbital in their development of a craft to help resupply ISS. I find this especially fantastic because it’s not too long ago that the only entities who had the ability to resupply ISS in any way were the Russians and the US. Then we added ATV & HTB from ESA and JAXA and later on Dragon from SpaceX… now here comes Orbital! I think it’s an exciting day when we start seeing the “door to space” open for more entities.

 

I have a personal attachment to this too I must add…. I was fortunate enough to be one of the Flight Controllers for Expedition 3 which was Commanded by Frank Culbertson. I feel lucky to have become friends with Frank because I have to tell you he’s one outstanding guy! Today he will serve as not just the Mission Director but also their press guy! Talk about busy!

So it is personally and for the great development of space that I wish Orbital huge success today! I will be watching from here in Annapolis… oh speaking of which… check out this link for more information as well as some graphics that will help you to find where in the sky to see it if you are in Annapolis, Atlantic City, New York City or DC!

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-D1/

 

Go Antares! Go Cygnus! Go Orbital Go!!!

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Astronomy Meets Adventure in Kenya – We need your help!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/total-solar-eclipse-kenya-2013/x/4396311

We choose to boldly go to explore – okay it’s not into space (though I’d certainly be happy to go there too!) but it is for an incredible Astronomical Event. We are headed to Kenya, a remote place (hey space is definitely remote too so they have that in common!) that should be amazing to explore for our next Astronaut Leadership Experience. We’d like to be able to broadcast the amazing solar eclipse from there with running commentary from experts to the world to excite more people about Science, Technology, Engineering & Math…. but we need your help!! Check out the link to see how you can help make this happen!!

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Ask An Astronaut

I know many of you have questions that you would love to ask an astronaut so I have an idea…. 

Periodically I am going to post a “Request for Questions” to Twitter (don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @spacechelle) that you would like to ask an astronaut and each time I will pick one question to get answered. Instead of it just being a written response (which is generally the most common way this is done on social media) I will get a video of the response and post it. 

In order for your question to be considered please pay attention to the following

  • Your question my be Tweeted to @spacechelle
  • You must include #AskAnAstro
  • Please don’t ask “How do you go to the bathroom in space” I can pretty much guarantee you that question will not be selected

I hope you all have fun with this. I can’t wait to hear what great questions roll in. 

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Astronauts and Teamwork and Biomed… Oh My!

Don’t ask why but yet again I end up with the “Wizard of Oz” sayings (of sort in my head)… (If you’re not getting what I mean think “Lions and Tigers and Bears.. Oh my!”)

I was so busy during the King’s College Mission Discovery that I didn’t have time to blog at all! Sorry about that.

Once again we had an absolutely amazing event at King’s College that included astronaut Ken Ham (live and in person!), NASA Space Scientist Dr. Liz Warren via Skype, King’s College Professors & lecturers on a variety of topics about Biomed & Space, Chris Barber the DIrector of ISSET and myself. Needless to say it was a very full week of sooooooo much information and inspiration!

Everyone at King’s had an amazing time and we were delighted to meet so many bright minds! In fact the Mission Discovery this year went so well at King’s that they have reserved dates for a 2014 King’s Mission Discovery already!!!

 

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July 2014!

The title of this blog may be incredibly simple but I thought it says it all (for me at least)… I am excited to announce that as of now July of 2014 is going to be the biggest month (at least so far) for Mission Discovery EVER!

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I am very excited to announce that the month of July 2014 is completely full of scheduled Mission Discovery events!!! WOW!

Officially scheduled so far are the following Mission Discovery Events:

  • Kings College Mission Discovery (London, England) 7-11 July 2014
  • Mission Discovery Renfrewshire (Scotland)  14-18 July 2014
  • Mission Discovery Valparaiso University (in Indiana an hour from Chicago)  21-25 July 2014
  • Mission Discovery St John’s College (Annapolis, Maryland) 28 July – 1 August 2014

Additionally we are working on a few others but as you can see dates are filling up fast on our schedule!

I know the information for these events is not out at  http://isset.org/mission_discovery/  yet but I can promise you it’s coming so keep checking back!

And don’t worry – if your area is interested in hosting a Mission Discovery we can still work with you to find a date that it will fit in.

More details via the website, this blog and social media regarding specifics of the camps (as we have the materials to promote them finished) as well a

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Space Center Experience In Florida

While the students had an absolutely amazing time in both the DC area as well as Houston they were especially excited to see Kennedy Space Center in Florida where all of the manned US launches have occurred from.

We settled in on the first day and enjoyed just a little bit of downtime at the beach. When in the Cocoa Beach area you really must check out the beach there – it’s beautiful. We knew the next several days would be full of exciting things to see so we took advantage of some time to catch up on a bit of relaxation.

Before heading to KSC the students first went to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge to learn more about the environment and the animals that live there. Ned was the docent who spent some quality time with the students and it is clear that he is passionate about the refuge because he was fantastic at imparting knowledge.

Then it was off to the Kennedy Space Center for the next 2.5 days…. so much to tell you about there but I will just give you the highlights… Cape Then & Now Tour, VAB Tour, Fantastic Space IMAX movies and more!

The timing just happened to work out for a rare treat for the students who were participating… they got to partake in the Atlantis Opening Celebration with myself, Ken and about 50 astronauts! Truly the chance of a lifetime!

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Last event in Florida was a stop at Sea World where I was happy to see a great message of Conservation. Many astronauts frequently say that we would all be kinder to the planet if we could all see it in the way that they have from space.

Obviously this is just a very high level overview of the trip… I could probably write dozens of “pages” about the trip but I think if a picture is worth a thousand words then an experience is worth a thousand pictures so I think you should all consider joining us on one of our experiences!

 

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Space Center Experience in Houston continued…

The trip has drawn to a close but since I didn’t get a chance to blog while it was going on I figured I’d catch up now that I am back home… sorry for the delay! This one will have lots of pictures because as they say a picture is worth a thousand words!

The students got a chance to visit many astronauts in Houston and even attend a Medical Briefing with a variety of NASA folks – the briefing was about Acute Mountain Sickness and discussed how some of the things parallel space sickness. It was fascinating for all of us. 

We visited a retired airplane that NASA has used to create weightlessness 30 seconds at a time – The Weightless Wonder also “affectionately” known as The Vomit Comet.

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We got a tour of the Nanotechnology labs at Rice University…. 

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More dinners, lunches and coffees with some astronauts and other incredible NASA people… (Pictured below is Astronaut Dr. Stan Love)….

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Dinner at The House of Blues….

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And of course an in-depth tour of Johnson Space Center! 

Alas when it was time to leave Houston we had to say good-bye to Kim who had to go back to the UK. We were sad that she couldn’t join us for the last part of our adventure…. But we all know we will see our friend again somewhere in the world!

Next stop Florida!

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Houston – We Have No Problems Here!

We began the Houston portion of the Space Center Experience just 2 days ago and I think it’s fair to say that we will not be uttering the famous line in regards to our trip! While it is very hot here (especially compared to the UK) the heat is not putting a damper on our adventure. 

We’ve had dinners and outings with a wide variety of astronauts, NASA scientists, flight controllers and astronaut instructors. I did ask the students if they’ve had too much space talk and the response was very quick…. the answer was “No Way! We are loving every minute of it!” Okay so perhaps I am paraphrasing a bit but that’s the gist of it!

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We went to see the San Jacinto Monument and they learned a bit of Texas History. 

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Today we started the day with a personal tour of part of Space Center Houston including the Lunar Vaults. Our tour guide Jeri was an engineer during Apollo who worked a lot with the Lunar Module. In addition to telling us all about the amazing space artifacts we were looking at he also told us some absolutely priceless stories about his time at NASA. We feel so incredibly honored to have gotten a tour from such an accomplished contributor to space history. During the tour we saw moon rocks (and even got to touch one!), the Mercury Capsule Faith 7, the podium from which JFK made his famous speech about the challenge to go to the moon, the Apollo 17 Command Module and more priceless space things than we can list! It was an amazing morning!

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We also headed to Moody Gardens Aquarium and enjoyed all the animals there. Image

This portion of the trip is only half over and there is so much more exciting things to come! 

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DC Was Fantastic Now onto Houston!

The Space Center student experience has been so busy and so much fun I simply haven’t had time to blog about it and for that I do apologize! The last few days in DC were filled with some incredible experiences such as a tour of Goddard Space Flight Center (including getting to see the James Webb Telescope being built), a tour of the monuments in Washington DC, a wander past the White House (unfortunately they are not doing tours of there currently) a trip to the American History Museum, a tour of the Air & Space Smithsonian that is on the National Mall, a visit to Downtown Annapolis as well as around the US Naval Academy and some more great encounters with some really interesting people including Piers Sellers.ImageImage
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Everyone realized that we could have spent a month in the DC area and still not seen absolutely everything so while we were sad to leave DC we had an incredible time there and are looking forward to our next stop…. Houston and the Johnson Space Center!

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