Space and Kids
by Kay Tracy
Many children are fascinated by space science. This can be a bit intimidating for parents but fear not. There are many resources available to you at little or no cost to help you participate with your children in their quest for knowledge!
If you are in the USA, then NASA has resources you can download and access at no cost to you.
If you want to get the latest news on Mars and other planetary missions, then the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena is an excellent site to check out. JPL has a history of sending a disc or data device with the names of people who submit them, for different planetary missions. I have at times included these printable certificates with birthday cards for friends and family. With everything from paper models you can download and build, to online and downloadable space and flight simulators, their education site is top notch!
Rocketry gets made easy with a plastic soda bottle and some paper and PVC!
Continue reading in the Fall 2019 issue.
Women and the Future of Space
by Camellia Rains
I wanted to write a piece that was important to me and decided to write about the future of space; specifically, the future of women in space and science.
You may have heard of the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics.) These types of curriculums are getting a lot of attention now and are being directed toward young women to encourage them to choose careers in the sciences. Everywhere you look there is talk about our future in space, the moon, Mars, and beyond. We are in another space race, and those who will get us there will be our youth.
I had the pleasure of attending two STEM/ STEAM events recently that are encouraging our young women to pursue careers in fields that have been typically dominated by men … continue reading in the Fall 2019 issue.
Reaching For The Stars
by Lillian Csernica
People with autistic spectrum disorder sometimes develop a strong interest in a specific subject. That interest can progress to what some might call an obsession.
While neurotypical children may grow out of a particular “hobby” and move on to more age-appropriate subjects, ASD children often find what they like and stick with it. In the educational field, the term “preferred interests” describes the activities or areas of study that interest ASD people the most, distinguishing the interest from being a fixation or an instance of perseveration.
In January 2017, Kristin Patten Koenig and Lauren Hough Williams published Characterization and Utilization of Preferred Interests: A Survey of Adults on the Autism Spectrum. The study explains why these “preferred interests” are not drawbacks but vital elements… Continue reading in the Fall 2019 issue.
The Importance of Space Research
by A.R. Neal
Ask anyone why exploring and researching space is important, and the number of answers would likely exceed the number of people in this galaxy. Two major entities tasked with space research offer views as to why such exploration is important.
The European Space Agency (ESA) scientists suggest that one of the best ways to understand things that make the planet function is to examine comets, asteroids, moons, other planets, and space events like solar storms. ESA’s projects include investing in the science of space research, which provides economic stimulus in the form of jobs and industries that relate to the technologies–like spacecraft, telescopes, microscopes, and computers–that make it all work. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) leaders have identified similar goals, such as… continue reading in the Fall 2019 issue.
Robots: Doing What We Can’t in Space
by Jim Keller
Today, the farthest humans can go into space is the International Space Station, two hundred and forty miles above the surface of Earth. Humans have never ventured farther than the Moon, roughly 230,000 miles from home.
Today, robotic explorers are crawling on the surface of another planet, chasing asteroids, and even voyaging out beyond the edge of our solar system over, 13 billion miles away. Why are robots doing all the cool, science-fiction stuff?
There are a lot of good reasons to use robots in space instead of humans. First of all, we’re kind of squishy. Robots can be built to withstand the deadly environments in space, anything from extreme heat to extreme cold, vacuum, high-radiation, and more, without getting killed. Robots can also be built with sensors we don’t have, like magnetometers, spectrometers, and the ability to see ultraviolet and infrared light. In short, robots are doing things we can’t.
Even if it’s something we hope humans will do eventually, it’s important to send robots first. NASA landed seven Surveyor robots on the Moon before… Continue reading in the Fall 2019 issue.
Lancaster – Palmdale
by Jim Keller
Lancaster and Palmdale form a metropolitan area with deep roots in Aerospace in the Mojave Desert in northern Los Angeles County. Known for summer heat and Joshua trees, the area is renowned for its desert beauty.
In some years, a springtime bloom of wildflowers paints the desert green, orange, yellow, and purple.
Nearby–using California’s skewed definition of nearby–is Edwards Air Force Base, where Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier and the space shuttle used to land. The specially modified 747 used to transport space shuttles is on display at the Palmdale’s Joe Davies Heritage Airpark, an aircraft museum featuring about 20 planes… Continue reading in the Fall 2019 issue.
by Elliot Thorpe
Those of you who are musicians are fully aware of the relation of the pitch of a musical note and the length of the string that produces it.
The discovery of this relationship was attributed to Pythagoras some 2,500 years ago. He subsequently proposed that our Sun, the Earth’s moon, and all the planets (then discovered) all emitted their own hum, uniquely based on their orbital revolution. He also suggested that quality of life on Earth itself reflected the pitch of said hum. Plato furthered this notion by saying that astronomy and music were naturally twinned together because of the mathematical knowledge required to understand them. Aristotle came by and basically said all that was rubbish, that Pythagoras was being beard-stroking, overly poetic, and if there was such a hum created by the planets, it’d be so loud as to outdo the largest most ferocious thunderstorm, and we’d all be deaf by tea time.
Anyway, this Pythagorean concept was named musica universalis, literally translated as ‘universal music’ or as it’s more commonly known, Music of the Spheres. … continue reading the Fall 2019 issue of SEARCH.
A New Frontier for the National Solar Observatory, New Mexico
by Michele Roger
In 2016 and 2017, the National Solar Observatory was drowning amidst scandal and neglect. It was yet another nationally science based tourist site falling into ruin. Telescopes were no longer in working order, staff nowhere to be found, and entire sections closed to the public.
It was presumed by many that the entire facility would be shut down for good by summer of 2017. Then, despite a sea of bad news, a helping hand became a new chapter in the space observatory.
Thankfully, New Mexico State University breathed life back into the site in the late summer of 2017. Students became docents, giving tours filled with enthusiasm. Funding from the university trickled in and slowly repairs to equipment were made and features of the building restored. The result? Tourism is beginning to flood the area once more. The National Solar Observatory is becoming a place where people of all ages are falling in love with the stars, space, and the skies above, once again … continue reading the Fall 2019 issue
Fall Editor’s Letter
The intrigue of space is undeniable. Whether it is the romantic glow of the moon, questions about our place in the universe, or pure scientific wonder that drives our imagination, we long to know more. The vast night sky demands that we raise our eyes from our everyday problems and recognize a different perspective.
Perhaps one day mankind will travel beyond our small sphere. Until then, we must celebrate the successes of our robots as they visit Mars and travel beyond the edge of our solar system, gathering knowledge to improve our lives and expand our understanding of what is possible. They can explore much more inexpensively and without risking an astronaut’s life.
While we perfect our science and consider options, we study images from far away, reap the benefits of material and engineering innovations, and speculate on what is still to be discovered. We may not travel in style, like Elon Musk’s red Tesla, but humans are curious and driven. So, enjoy a star-shaped cookie, paint a planet diorama, and consider what the future may bring to the exploration of space.
Heather Roulo/Editorial Director