Archive for the ‘nasa’ tag
By: Marc J. Kuchner
Eighty-seven years ago, this week, Clyde Tombaugh was poring over a pair of photographic plates, hoping to change the world. He was staring hard into an arcane device called a blink comparator, which allowed him to rapidly switch from viewing one image to the next. In those days before computers, that was the best tool he had for finding the faint, moving dot he was seeking, a new planet in our solar system.
When Tombaugh discovered Pluto in those photographic plates on February 18, 1930, the news made headlines all around the globe. “In the little cluster of orbs which scampers across the sidereal abyss under the name of the solar system there are, be it known, nine instead of a mere eight, worlds,” said the New York Times. It was a victory for Tombaugh, and for astronomy. Read the rest of this entry »
Today is World Science Day, an internationally celebrated day to increase the public’s ability to participate more meaningfully in science and to take action on environmental issues important to their community. The day also coincides with International Science Center and Science Museum Day. At SciStarter, we see citizen science as the perfect way to celebrate and promote science today (and everyday!).
SciStarter is partnering with NASA and its GLOBE Observer App to involve citizen scientists in understanding their global environment. You can participate today by downloading the GLOBE Observer App through the iTunes App Store or Google Play and use the referral code SciStarter. Then, start classifying the clouds above you! Simple as that! Remember to use our referral code (SciStarter) and see your contributions on the GLOBE site!
When you’re ready to do more real science with NASA, get involved in the El Nino project to ground-truth satellite data, monitor soil moisture levels near you, and more.
There are 1500+ citizen science projects and events on SciStarter you can do to celebrate World Science Day. Find one through the Project Finder.
The SciStarter Team.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO) is the investigative arm of Congress charged with examining matters relating to the receipt and payment of public funds.
Today, the GAO published a new report to advise how the federal government can better engage citizens. Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST) is cited as one of seven effective practices.
ECAST was cofounded by the following institutional partners: Arizona State University, Loka Institute, Museum of Science, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, SciStarter and Science Cheerleader.
Federal agencies are using “open innovation” tools to leverage the knowledge and skills of people outside government. Using dedicated websites and in-person outreach, agencies have worked with the public to rebuild communities after Hurricane Sandy, improve methods to find asteroids that could threaten the Earth, and reduce the amount of time required for highway construction projects.
We identified 7 practices that agencies can use to effectively engage the public when using open innovation tools. Example of Open Innovation Tools: NASA’s Asteroid Initiative In-Person Forum and Online Platform
YLACES extends SciStarter grant to recruit, train, equip citizen scientists to ground-truth NASA satellite data.
NASA scientists are on a mission to map global soil moisture, and through SciStarter, they’re teaming up with citizen scientists to gather valuable data from the ground to complement and validate what is seen from space.
Known as the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission, the satellite will help scientists understand links among Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles; reduce uncertainties in climate predictions; and enhance the ability to monitor and predict natural hazards like floods and droughts. SMAP data have additional practical applications for citizens everywhere, including improved weather forecasting and crop yield predictions.
In July 2015, Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists (YLACES) announced a $50,000 grant to SciStarter (SciStarter.com) to recruit, train, and equip teams to measure and report soil moisture measurements at regular intervals. Measurement protocols and data handling are made available through the GLOBE Program, and data are made available to local decision-makers and used to help validate and calibrate NASA’s SMAP satellite measurements. The grant also made it possible for teams to receive instruments needed for this project including heat lamps, digital scales and graduated cylinders.
On mornings when SMAP flies over a team’s site, citizen scientists take soil samples from the top 5 cm (2 inches) of soil, weigh it, dry it under a heat lamp, and weigh it again. The decrease in weight is equal to the mass of water that was in the sample – its soil moisture. Measurements are simple to take and appropriate for all citizen scientists, including youth. Each participating team committed to providing ten measurements .
Now, YLACES has committed to extend this SciStarter activity with an additional grant of $30,000. Funding will expand and enhance the existing network of citizen scientists and provide additional training and equipment to measure rainfall and surface temperature. A major El Ñino is underway. By taking these additional measurements participants will join in GLOBE’s El Ñino measurement campaign.
Brian Campbell, a member of the SMAP team at NASA, emphasized the importance of the measurements that will be taken on the ground. “Having citizen scientists collect data is vital to the SMAP Mission. Their data can be compared to the SMAP satellite data and used as a source of validation. This validation will allow for a much more robust and accurate dataset, giving an optimal understanding of global soil moisture.”
How to Participate in the SMAP Project
Science enthusiasts, people who are concerned about their environment and our global water resources, teachers, athletes, families, civic groups, gardeners – anyone who will commit to taking regular soil measurements – can become part of this important research. Indicate interest by completing a brief online form.
To get started, send an email to SMAP@SciStarter.com