Flight Plan

Just Ducky, one of the 20 finalists in the 2010 MoonBots competition, is in the running to win the brand new  FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award, which will pay out $20,000 to a “winning team so they can file a US patent, create a prototype and get it on its way to becoming one of those ‘can’t live without it’ inventions.”

You can vote once per day. 

Just Ducky says: “Team Just Ducky has invented an efficient, innovative and technical solution for patients that suffer from asthma. The ‘V-breathe’ System solves real world problems with the current HFA inhalers. It doesn’t matter how good the medicine may be if it is not delivered correctly to the asthmatic’s lungs more efficiently, if the inhaler isn’t quickly located, and the inhaler isn’t properly cared for. The ‘V-breathe’ system combines already developed technologies that will improve the lives of millions of asthma patients.”

Right now, Just Ducky is in 12th place with over 1,000 votes.

Today is a day remember the astronauts of the Space Shuttle Columbia who gave their lives to expand our knowledge of the cosmos and our place therein. The International Astronomical Union has provisionally agreed to a unique way to do so, with a lunar twist.

Via Lunar Craters (Provisionally) Named for Columbia Astronauts - NASA Watch

Today is a day remember the astronauts of the Space Shuttle Columbia who gave their lives to expand our knowledge of the cosmos and our place therein. The International Astronomical Union has provisionally agreed to a unique way to do so, with a lunar twist.

Via Lunar Craters (Provisionally) Named for Columbia Astronauts - NASA Watch

Where then are our leaders? The ones who will carry us along further into space than we ever hoped? The truth is that those leaders are us. Leadership in space is now a bottom-up endeavor. It comes from those launching commercial startups, from those building backyard rockets, from those vying for X PRIZEs, from those with the audacity to chase their dreams and visions in the naked light of day, from us. We must lead because we know the future we want to build.
From Where then are our leaders? at Evadot.com

Here at VentureBeat we receive a considerable number of bad pitches, both from PR firms and from entrepreneurs themselves. To make life more tolerable for everyone, we have decided to provide some tips on how to ensure that your pitch is not one of them. Let’s start with some typical examples of the bad pitch.

The rocket scientist pitch

Tech journalists are rarely experts in all areas of technology (or sometimes in any areas). If you send a pitch full of technical language about ultracapacitors, sodium silicide or hybrid TDM we may simply have no idea what you are talking about. Assume that we know nothing and first explain the basics of the technology and why it’s important in order to set the context for your news.

Yikes! It’s not often we see “rocket scientist” used as something bad. Let us all be forewarned…

Source: How to pitch to tech journalists | VentureBeat

This awesome photograph (okay, sequence of photographs) has been making the rounds on the internetz today. Leave it to Phil Plait to make it even cooler by providing some great explanation of why our lovely Moon looks little squished.
Squishy moonrise seen from space! | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

This awesome photograph (okay, sequence of photographs) has been making the rounds on the internetz today. Leave it to Phil Plait to make it even cooler by providing some great explanation of why our lovely Moon looks little squished.

Squishy moonrise seen from space! | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

What do you get the Google Lunar X PRIZE fan who already has everything?  How about an awesome Moon-themed rug?
This dreamy piece is a re-edition from the ’80s that comes from Oscar Tusquets’ La Tierra and La Luna rugs. Advances in photographic techniques have allowed this exact reproduction of an image of a moon in its waxing phase to be given even greater definition. The colours of the original work have also been revised, making them warmer, in browns and beiges. The ’80s version of La Luna was smaller, so this bigger version allows it to be placed in passage ways, hallways or at the foot of a bed. Now you can ask for the moon and put it at the foot of the bed without wanting the impossible, and walk on the moon without it being a giant leap.
As if you even had to ask, the rug is hand knotted New Zealand wool, with a density of 132,000 knots (“Knots! They’re not just a unit of speed anymore!).
Of course, this rug will set you back something like US$2,000.  So, unless you are really into rugs, may we perhaps suggest that instead you take that money and invest it in or donate it to one of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams?  More info: nanimarquina ‹ Products ‹ Rugs ‹ Luna
via www.nanimarquina.com

What do you get the Google Lunar X PRIZE fan who already has everything?  How about an awesome Moon-themed rug?

This dreamy piece is a re-edition from the ’80s that comes from Oscar Tusquets’ La Tierra and La Luna rugs. Advances in photographic techniques have allowed this exact reproduction of an image of a moon in its waxing phase to be given even greater definition. The colours of the original work have also been revised, making them warmer, in browns and beiges. The ’80s version of La Luna was smaller, so this bigger version allows it to be placed in passage ways, hallways or at the foot of a bed. Now you can ask for the moon and put it at the foot of the bed without wanting the impossible, and walk on the moon without it being a giant leap.

As if you even had to ask, the rug is hand knotted New Zealand wool, with a density of 132,000 knots (“Knots! They’re not just a unit of speed anymore!).

Of course, this rug will set you back something like US$2,000. So, unless you are really into rugs, may we perhaps suggest that instead you take that money and invest it in or donate it to one of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams? More info: nanimarquina ‹ Products ‹ Rugs ‹ Luna

via www.nanimarquina.com

Our friends at NASA are having a live web chat in ~1 hour about the recent discovery that the Moon has a core similar to Earth’s own.  Some background:

The team’s findings suggest the moon possesses a solid, iron-rich inner core with a radius of nearly 150 miles and a fluid, primarily liquid-iron outer core with a radius of roughly 205 miles. Where it differs from Earth is a partially molten boundary layer around the core estimated to have a radius of nearly 300 miles. The research indicates the core contains a small percentage of light elements such as sulfur, echoing new seismology research on Earth that suggests the presence of light elements — such as sulfur and oxygen — in a layer around our own core. 

The researchers used extensive data gathered during the Apollo-era moon missions. The Apollo Passive Seismic Experiment consisted of four seismometers deployed between 1969 and 1972, which recorded continuous lunar seismic activity until late-1977. 

Tune into the chat at 15:00 Eastern time (20:00 UTC) by visting: NASA - NASA Chat: The Moon’s Earth-like Core

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X CHALLENGE winner Masten Space Systems is sponsoring this cool student competition at the upcoming NSRC 2011 conference.  Florida students (undergraduates or graduate students), design cool experiments to fly on a suborbital rocket either tended or untended; or write an essay about the benefits of suborbital spaceflight.

Details here.  Good luck!

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey released a new volume of data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper this weekend. M3 was one of two instruments NASA flew on board Chandrayaan-1, India’s first lunar orbiter.

This volume contains Chandrayaan-1 Lunar Orbiter (CH-1) Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) raw and reduced image data, Optical Period 2, Level 0 and Level 1B. The volume also contains detailed documentation about the mission, instrument, and data set, as well as an index table.

The Rocket City Space Pioneers - one of our newer Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams - are having an Educational Kick-Off meeting right at this very moment. We absolutely love it when our teams do cool educational projects, so we’re looking forward to hearing the results of that meeting!
Lots of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams have educational programs either planned or already happening. Surf around their pages, and find your favorites!

The Rocket City Space Pioneers - one of our newer Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams - are having an Educational Kick-Off meeting right at this very moment. We absolutely love it when our teams do cool educational projects, so we’re looking forward to hearing the results of that meeting!

Lots of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams have educational programs either planned or already happening. Surf around their pages, and find your favorites!