Sunday, July 7, 2013

3...2...1... has a new home!

Hey everyone! For a while, I've been contemplating moving over to wordpress, and I finally have made the move. You can check us out at: stardustandsteel.wordpress.com.

All of our old posts are over there, but all of our new posts will be added there, like today's new post: "Slime and Tarantulas".

I really hope to see you over at wordpress!

Monday, July 1, 2013

STEM links of the week

Quantum engines must break down
Current understanding of thermodynamics completely breaks down with small quantum systems, prompting the need for new research in quantum thermodynamics.

Engineering's Jukebox Heroes
A fun and quirky article of the history and engineering behind the beloved classic jukebox.

NASA Shuts Down Galaxy-Hunting Space Telescope
The GALEX telescope, a telescope that has helped find the biggest spiral galaxy, confirmed dark energy theories, and more has been officially decommissioned by NASA.

Atlantis attraction at KSC Visitor Complex
Take a virtual tour of the Atlantis Exhibit at Kennedy Space Center (or check out my post on it here!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Special sneak peek tour of Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit!

This past Saturday, June 22, my sister  got the chance of a lifetime to tour the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center one week before it opened, thanks to the Missile, Space, and Range Pioneers.



It was a truly amazing exhibit. Outside, the twin solid rocket boosters and external tank, which launch the shuttle our of orbit, stand. They are HUUUUGE and are quite the site to see.




Going inside, there are quotes and incredible images dedicated to the space shuttle program. It leads up to an auditorium where an awesome (but short) movie plays, outlining the origins of the space shuttle.



Following the movie, you get to witness incredible launches, before the gorgeous ship that is Atlantis is unveiled.


I was amazed by the exhibit; you can get surprisingly close to the orbiter. There is a Hubble Space Telescope mockup, a space shuttle engine, and more.







My sister and I also got to meet to Atlantis astronauts, Bob Springer and Tom Jones. They signed autographs for us (my sister was so excited, as it was the day before her birthday), and I also got a picture of Jim Springer with Gus Grissbear (named for Gus Grissom, his adventures will be chronicled on this blog!).

After meeting the astronauts, we saw the rest of the exhibit. Several modules of the International Space Station were re-created, including the Tranquility module and C.O.L.B.E.R.T treadmill, as well as the beloved space toilet. (There's no gravity to assist up there).


The tires from Atlantis from the last shuttle launch, STS-135, were also on display for people to touch and move! Being that these are still technically space artifacts made it a special treat.


Seeing Atlantis before its opening date was a true treat, and was quite the experience for both my sister and I. We are both so grateful for this opportunity, and send a million thanks to the Missile, Space, and Range Pioneers for the opportunity.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reaching for the stars: Astronaut class of 2013

This week, four women and four men were announced as the new 2013 class of astronaut candidates!

From left to right: Josh Cassada, Lt. Cmdr. Victor Glover, Lt. Col. Tyler Hague, Christina Hammock, Major Nicole Mann, Major Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, and Dr. Andrew Morgan
These highly qualified individuals were picked from an applicant pool of over 6,000- the second largest application response NASA has ever had. Congratulations to each of you selected!

You can hear more about the astronaut selection and other events from this week at NASA from this NASA Television "This Week @NASA" episode!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Missile, Space and Range Pioneers


So I have been pretty excited to announce this, but I am officially a part of the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers, located in Florida's very own Space Coast! Funnily enough, the Pioneers found me through this very blog. I had attended a banquet of theirs last year and blogged about it (post can be found here), and a couple months ago, they found the post. They liked my writing and asked for me to write for them, as well as work to advance their social media presence. I absolutely love working with the Pioneers.

I will be sharing a lot of what I write for them on my blog, but check out their website, like their facebook page and follow them on twitter as well for more stories and exclusives! 





Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Seeing beyond the visible light spectrum

Recently, I discovered that NASA has a ton of multimedia available to bloggers about the James Webb Space Telescope, and as a space enthusiast, I knew I had to utilize these resources in a post.

JWST @ SXSW
Full scale JWST mockup

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a HUGE telescope slated to launch in 2018. It is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and has a different range of capabilities.


Webb vs Hubble primary mirror
Did I mention it was HUGE?! And those are just the mirrors!

Unlike Hubble, it can see "past" the visible light spectrum and into the infrared range of the light spectrum. This is really important because plenty of things in the universe are covered with dust that isn't penetrable by visible light, such as newly forming stars and planets, the center of the universe, and more. Infrared telescopes can penetrate the dust, however, and allow us to study things that we previously could not. Webb's giant mirror, pictured above, also give us capabilities to see further back in time to the earliest formations in our universe! It's pretty exciting stuff. (In fact, I was part of a group project a few years back and we made a rap and music video for JWST...If I can locate the video I'll be sure to share it!)

Here more about the James Webb Space Telescope in the below video, courtesy of NASA.




Sunday, June 16, 2013

STEM links of the week

GE Opens Two Jet Engine Plants as Next-Gen Aircraft Get Ready for Take-Off
Submitted by Billy, this article details the new plant openings and talks about the LEAF and GEnx advanced engines.

Metals Become Molecular-Like at the Atomic Scale, Reveal Materials Scientists

An experiment by Harsh Deep Chopra and The State University of New York at Buffalo has shown that on the atomic scale, metallic bonds act very differently between a dew number of atoms than from when they are in a bulk material.

3D printing takes to the stars

The first 3D printing experiment is launched on a zero-g flight!

Meet the heir apparent to the U.S. Army's Blackhawk helicopter

AVX is designing the military's new attack chopper- and it's pretty rad.

Canada Seeks to Rove Beyond the Space Station

The Canadian Space Agency is looking beyond the ISS and is looking to send rovers to Mars.