Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In The Greater Scheme of Things

Mission mgr Jennifer Trosper with Curiosity model
I recently read an interview with the NASA engineer, Adam Steltzer, who helped design the Mars lander, Curiosity. This rock band artist turned astronomer talked about what the entire mission means to regular folks. Rather than trying to sum up his eloquent response to the question, "Why does Curiosity Matter?" you can check out the article and YouTube video at http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/21sep_curiositymatters/.

Monday, September 17, 2012

For Middle School Science Teachers

Density tower
Teaching seems to be getting more difficult. Here is something to help.

The National Science Teachers Assoc. (NSTA) and the American Chemical Society invite middle school teachers nationwide to connect to a free webinar on middle school chemistry. Offered on October 4, 2012 by the NSTA Learning Center, this third training in a series will cover basic chemistry concepts on density. Student activities and molecular animations will be usable in the classroom. Spread the word to all the middle school science teachers you know! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bats LIVE!

Think bats are cool? Do they amaze you with their flying skills or remind you of the latest vampire movie?

Either way, you are in luck! On September 18, 2012, the U.S. Forest Service is co-sponsoring a live webcast from Bracken Cave near San Antonio, Texas, home of the world’s largest bat colony. 
The 20 million inhabitants of Bracken Cave consume some 250,000 pounds of insects each night. 

As part of BatsLIVE! a free education program that provides bat information and research, children will get a chance to understand bats better. A teacher webinar on caves and karst is set for Oct. 11, 2012. The programs are free and teachers can register at www.batslive.pwnet.org.

The BatsLive! webinar will help students see millions of the Mexican free-tailed bats take flight from the cave. The webcast also will offer information on these and other bat species, predators that wait for the nightly emergence of the bats, and other threats to bats, including the deadly white-nose syndrome.

Dennis Krusac, a biologist with the Forest Service’s Threatened and Endangered Species program explains, “Bats are primary predators of night-flying insects, consuming enormous quantities of agricultural and forest pests and reducing the need for chemical pesticides.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mars as Art

Curiosity has landed on Mars and we are getting images back from the landing site. 
Martian soil on Curiosity's wheels Looks like the tires have plenty of tread so now the interplanetary field trip can begin. What do you want to do first? Take more pictures? Buy postcards? I spotted these Mars as Art images taken by other vehicles (and from space) and thought you might like them too.  This infrared image taken from the NASA Mars Odessey orbiter shows a large deposit of the mineral olivine/peridot (Magnesium iron silicate) in colored in magenta. One of olivine's properties is its ability to withstand high temperatures. Sounds perfect for Mars!