SME talk: NASA Artemis Program Overview [ROADS News for teams (July 23, 2020)] 🗓

G’day, challenge teams!

This is a last-minute notification, but we’re excited to invite you to join us for this talk! Tomorrow — Friday, July 24 — we’ll be hearing from Patrick Troutman, lead for human exploration strategic assessments at the NASA Langley Research Center, who will be presenting an Artemis Program overview. The talk will be streamed on Facebook Live, and we hope you’ll join us!

Science Matter Expert (SME) Presentation: NASA Artemis Program Overview

Details

About Patrick Troutman

A man wearing a white shirt with a black tie and sport coat stands in front of a window. The man is white and has brown hair.Patrick A. Troutman graduated in 1984 from Virginia Tech with a BS in aerospace and oceanographic engineering along with a minor in computer science. In the past 35 years he has worked for NASA designing and assessing the International Space Station, leading systems analysis related to future space scenarios including managing the NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) program, helping to define the Vision for Space Exploration, leading the integration for the Constellation Program lunar surface architecture, and leading human space exploration mission design for the NASA Human Spaceflight Architecture Team and the Evolvable Mars Campaign. Patrick currently serves as the lead for human exploration strategic assessments at the NASA Langley Research Center where his current efforts include developing what the next set of activities for humans should be beyond the international space station including crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Let’s finish the mission! — ROADS on Mars reboot information

G’day, ROADS on mars teams!

This is the email/blog post you’ve been waiting for — we’re officially announcing the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge reboot.

This is not a restart!  We’re not asking teams to go back to the beginning and start all over again.  The challenge will pick up where we left off back in March.  You won’t lose any of the work that you’ve already done.

How will we finish the final stages of the challenge?  Virtually, by early September around when the school year usually starts.

Here are a few details:

Mini-challenges

Mini-challenge awards for most hubs have been announced.  Some hubs were still accepting mission patch submissions when the ROADS on Mars challenge went on hiatus. NESSP is working with those hubs to finish accepting submissions and announce winners.

Mission Development Log (MDL)

Each team’s MDL was originally due during the hub’s challenge event, to be reviewed during the on-deck time.  For the reboot, all MDLs will be submitted online — similar to how the mini-challenge submissions were submitted.  The submission portal for MDLs will open in August.

Running the final challenge

There will be no in-person events for any hub.  Teams will record their challenge run and submit it online for scoring.  Videos must be of one single run of the challenge — straight through, no cuts or edits.  This will result in a video that is long and difficult to upload, so teams should use social media (for example, Facebook Live) to broadcast and record their challenge run.  Teams will then submit the URL to that video for the NESSP team and hubs to review.

Teams will also submit a score sheet of their official challenge run.  NESSP will provide an official score sheet which should be used by an educator or mentor who is present during the team’s run to assess and score the team’s mission performance.  Teams will then upload that score sheet when they submit their video URL to NESSP.  We’ll use that completed score sheet to compare notes when we review the video for official scoring.

The score sheet will be available on the NESSP website later this summer, along with tips on getting good video when your team runs the challenge.

The score sheet and video will be due in September according to the submission period set by each hub — some may accept submissions in August, some in September.  We’ll announce exact dates later this summer.

More info to come!

Details on deadlines, recording your video, and submitting your materials will be available over the summer.  Keep an eye on your inbox and on the NESSP blog for information as it becomes available!

ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (June 11, 2020)

G’day, Mars enthusiasts!

From NASA — Mars2020 Launch

Even though COVID-19 restrictions are keeping Kennedy Space Center off-limits for most of us, the Mars2020 rover launch is scheduled to go forward as planned.  Currently, the rover is tentatively scheduled to launch on Monday, July 20, around 9 a.m. Eastern Time (6 a.m. Pacific Time).  As always, this depends on the weather in Florida!  But NASA will be livestreaming the launch via their usual channels.  You can get more info here: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/launch/watch-online/

From NESSP — “Meet an Expert” series

We have no sessions of “Meet an Expert” coming up, but that makes this a great time to catch up on ones you missed!

From NESSP — Mars challenge updates

ROADS on Mars Student Challenge


The ROADS on Mars Student Challenge remains on hold — but not forever!  Stay tuned for an announcement later this month on how we’re rebooting the ROADS on Mars challenge so that teams can finish their missions.

ROADS Freestyle Challenge

The ROADS Freestyle Challenge scoring process is nearly complete and we should be announcing winners by mid-June.  All teams will receive an email and prize-winning teams will be announced on our website.

Where’s Mars?

Can we see Mars in the sky yet?  It’s still an early-dawn object, but if you happen to be up you’ll find it if you look east-southeast to south.  Mars is currently in the constellation Aquarius and is growing brighter and larger every week.

Stay safe!  Keep your rovers at the ready.  And above all — have FUN.

ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (May 13, 2020)

G’day, Mars enthusiasts!

How do you make the journey from doing robotics competitions in high school to working at Houston’s Mission Control?  Well, we just so happen to know someone who’s done exactly that!

“Meet an Expert” series

We’ve had some great “Meet an Expert” chats this spring, with another one coming up this week!  Hope you’ll be able to join us, because this is going to be exciting….

“Meet an Expert” — Ben Honey from Mission Control

What’s it like to work in Mission Control at Johnson Space Center?  Ben Honey is joining us on Zoom to tell us all about it!  “Ben has always loved space exploration, but his first love was astronomy and planetary science. He changed focus to engineering after joining the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) club in high school.”

Details:

“Meet an Expert” — Series archives

If you’ve missed any of our previous chats, you can access them anytime on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1mqPwuC2YI&list=PL1p2GTGjWAoh7yFlgWCJS31Y4-OK9rd8T

Mars2020 progress

The NASA team at Kennedy Space Center continues to progress on preparing the Perseverance rover for its mission to the Red Planet.  Mars and the Earth are in alignment for space travel only every few years, so this July’s launch is an important window that can’t be missed.

You can follow along with the rover’s preparations on NASA’s Mars2020 blog:

Where’s Mars in the sky?

Can you see Mars in the sky right now?  Well, maybe if you’re an early bird (or a night owl who’s up very, very late).  Here’s an excerpt from Sky & Telescope’s “Sky at a Glance” says for May 8–16:

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn shine in the southeast to south before and during early dawn.  Jupiter, the brightest, is on the right. Before dawn begins, spot the Sagittarius Teapot to the right of it. Saturn glows pale yellow to Jupiter’s left. Mars is much farther to Saturn’s left or lower left. In a telescope Mars is no longer a tiny blob but a little gibbous disk. Mars is on its way to an excellent opposition in early October.

Opposition, in astronomy terms, is when Mars will be on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.  We see the moon in an approximate opposition every month during full moon.  When the moon is in a more exact opposition with the Earth and sun, we have a lunar eclipse.

Mars, of course, is much too far away to be eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow, but its opposition in October will be an excellent opportunity to view the planet in the night sky.

ROADS on Mars Student Challenge update

The ROADS on Mars Student Challenge remains on hold for the time being.  But we are excited to (finally) be announcing some of the prize-winning mini-challenge teams!  The first wave of top teams for the Landscape Morphology mini-challenge are up on our website: https://nwessp.org/2020/05/roads-on-mars-mini-challenge-winners-landscape-morphology-part-1/  More mini-challenge top teams will be announced in the coming weeks!

ROADS Freestyle Challenge update

Freestyle teams, don’t forget that your submissions are due by Monday, May 18!  The submission form is live on our website: https://nwessp.org/programs/pages/challenges/current/mars-freestyle/submit/

Stay safe!  Keep your rovers at the ready.  And above all — have FUN.

ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (May 1, 2020)

G’day, ROADS Freestyle teams!

First things first.  If you haven’t heard …

ROADS Freestyle — Submission date extended!

That’s right, you have a few more weeks to finish up your mission and send your submission materials to us.  Submissions are now due on Monday, May 18.  We’ll have a submissions portal on our website soon.

Also….

Virtual meeting for team support — Tuesday, May 5

Have questions about the ROADS Freestyle Challenge?  Chat with NESSP on Tuesday, May 5, to get answers.  And don’t forget that you can always submit questions to us via email: nwessp@uw.edu

Details:

  • Tuesday, May 5
  • 1 p.m. (Pacific Time) / 4 p.m. (Eastern Time)
  • Platform: Zoom

Instructions for joining us on Zoom:

You can join us two ways:

1) The meeting will be online using Zoom. To access both audio and video, join the meeting using this link: https://washington.zoom.us/j/5555431943

We recommend taking a few minutes prior to the meeting time to set up Zoom so that you don’t miss the first few minutes of the chat!

2)  To listen to the audio only, use either of these access phone numbers:

+1-669-900-6833. Meeting ID: 5555431943#; then press # again. (U.S.; San Jose.)

+1-646-876-9923. Meeting ID: 5555431943#; then press # again. (U.S.; New York.)

See you soon!

ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (April 10, 2020)

“Meet an Expert” series

Earlier this week we had an amazing Zoom session with astronaut Fred Haise of the Apollo 13 crew.  And next week our “Meet an Expert” series will feature another planetary protection expert.

Fred Haise — Now up on YouTube

We’ve posted the video from our Zoom chat with Fred Haise to our YouTube channel.  If you’ve missed any of our past “Meet an Expert” sessions, you can also catch up on them there.

“Meet an Expert” — André Galli

For our next “Meet an Expert” chat, André Galli from the University of Bern in Switzerland will join us to delve more into planetary protection!  Students will have time for Q&A with André after his presentation.

Details:

ROADS Freestyle — Submission date extended!

We’ve extended the submission date for the ROADS Free Challenge.  Freestyle teams now have up to May 18 to get their submissions to us.

Haven’t signed up for the Freestyle challenge yet?  There’s also still plenty of time to register.  Details on the challenge are at: https://nwessp.org/mars-freestyle/

ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (March 31, 2020)

ROADS Freestyle Challenge

If your Mars skills feel like they’re going dull with so many activities suspended right now, we have great news for you!  We’ve launched a new challenge that any team can do even while observing “safer-at-home” policies in place for coronavirus.  It’s called ROADS on Mars Freestyle Challenge and registration is now open!

About the Freestyle challenge

  • Roughly follows the objectives of the original ROADS on Mars challenge, but only uses items your team members in their homes.
  • Still a team activity (not a solo adventure!), so one of the challenges is to devise how your team will work together while also staying safe under “stay-at-home” policies.
  • Is a completely separate challenge from the original ROADS on Mars — which, yes, means your team’s progress on ROADS doesn’t really count toward Freestyle.  However….
  • Is open to all K–12 students in the U.S. whether or not they registered for the original ROADS.  So if you didn’t get to register for ROADS, now is your chance to sign up for a Mars mission!  (And if you did sign up for the original ROADS, this is a nice opportunity for your team to keep working together toward Mars.)

Prizes!

  • Top prize is a trip to a NASA center!  (Date to be determined, of course.)
  • “Best in Mission Objective” prize for most of the Mission Objectives.

Details

  • Register by:  Monday, April 13
  • Submit your team’s mission documentation by:  Monday, April 27
  • Freestyle website

In particular, please review the details — and download a copy of the Mission Objectives document — on the Freestyle Details page!  And if you have any questions, please email us: nwessp@uw.edu

Cool things to watch online

Our most recent “Meet an Expert” Zoom chat was last week — if you missed it, it’s now up on our website and YouTube.  We also have another one coming up next week, plus a recommendation for some lectures from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  We know that joining a webinar can be tough right now, not least because everyone else is clogging up the internet trying to do the same thing, but if you’re able to tune into any of these, we think you’ll find them useful.

Upcoming “Meet an Expert”

We are SO excited that our next expert chat will be with none other than Fred Haise, one of the Apollo 13 astronauts!  We really hope you’ll join us for this one!

Last week’s “Meet an Expert”

On March 26 we chatted with John Rummel, a senior scientist at the SETI Institute, about “planetary protection” — aka, keeping Earth (and other solar system bodies) safe from microbes.  If you missed it, you can view the archived video on our website.

Lecture webcasts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

JPL has some pretty cool talks coming up as part of their von Kármán Lecture Series, and they’ve taken them online.  Check these out if you can!

ROADS on Mars — News for teams (March 24, 2020)

G’day, ROADS on Mars teams!

Meet an expert

We hope you can join us this Thursday, March 26, for another of our “Meet an Expert” chats! John Rummel, a senior scientist at the SETI Institute, will join us for an hour to talk on a subject that may sound very familiar right now — planetary protection. How do we keep Earth from getting contaminated by microbes from space? How do we protect other bodies in the solar system (Mars, for example!) from becoming contaminated by organisms from Earth? When the Apollo 11 astronauts returned from that first mission to the moon, they were quarantined for nearly a month in a special Airstream trailer. What does planetary protection look like in our modern era? John’s talk will cover the rationale for planetary protection considerations and its implementation during interplanetary journeys.

Details:

Important ROADS announcement coming Thursday!

The ROADS on Mars challenge may be indefinitely suspended — but you don’t have to step off the ROAD(s) just yet. NESSP has been brainstorming ideas on how we can continue working on our mission even while we’re grounded, and on Thursday we’ll have an exciting announcement on our new, ROADS-related project. Join us for our “Meet an Expert” chat to get all the details. Or, if you can’t join us on Zoom, check out our website Thursday afternoon (Pacific Time) for details to go live.

ROADS on Mars — News for teams (March 13, 2020)

Even though our challenge events are suspended indefinitely, that doesn’t mean the road has come to an end. We’ll be continuing with our virtual “Meet a NASA Expert” chats, so keep your Zoom app at the ready. We’ll also be sending more ROADS newsletters in the coming weeks so that we can all continue to collaborate on this mission even while we’re grounded.

We’ve very happy to announce that our next expert chat will happen on March 24. Join us to talk with John Rummel, senior scientist at the SETI Institute!

Details:

We’ll send out a reminder before the event. We hope you’ll join us!

ROADS on Mars — News for teams (Feb. 21, 2020)

Today we bring you some resources that may be helpful on your ROADS mission.

Subject matter experts

Have you missed any of our “Meet a NASA Expert” talks? We have them all archived! You can find them on our website or on our YouTube channel:

Q&A with NESSP for teams

If you missed any of the Q&A sessions that we’ve held for ROADS teams, we have those on YouTube as well!

Equipment resources

If you’re trying to get the hang of your ROADS on Mars equipment, we also have some resources for you that may be helpful:

ROADS on Mars — News for teams (Feb. 12, 2020)

Our next “Meet a NASA Expert” video conference is coming up this week. Details are below — but first, some information on the mini-challenges.

ROADS on Mars mini-challenge submissions

We hope you’ve been working on your ROADS mini-challenges. We’ve loved the videos we’ve seen on social media so far! Don’t forget to submit them to NESSP so that your hub can score them.

Submissions page — https://nwessp.org/mars/teams/submissions/. If you visit the NESSP website on a computer, you’ll see a white button that says “Mini-challenge submissions!” on the right-hand side. Or you can select “Mini-challenge submission” from the dropdown menu on the top navigation bar.

Have you had problems uploading your video? Don’t forget that the videos (and mission patch photos) are optional! The important thing is to submit at least one link to a social media post.

“Meet a NASA Expert” — Joanna Hogancamp

Our next ROADS on Mars subject matter expert video conference is Thursday, February 13. Joanna Hogancamp from Johnson Space Center will join us. Joanna is part of the Mars research group and conducts laboratory experiments that aim to better understand data from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover! There will be time for questions after Joanna’s talk.

We’ll start at 2 p.m. (Pacific Time).

  • You can join us online (which gives you both audio and video). Zoom will ask if you’d like to use the app or the website: https://washington.zoom.us/j/5555431943
  • You can join us via phone (which gives you audio only). Dial +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) or +1 646 876 9923 US (New York) and enter meeting ID # 555-543-1943.

More details on using Zoom are on our website.

Not able to make it? Or missed any of our previous expert chats? You can find them on our website: https://nwessp.org/resources/type/subject-matter-experts/

Team support Q&A with NESSP staff

Have questions about the ROADS challenge? Join us Thursday, February 13, at 3 p.m. (Pacific Time) — yes, right after the chat with Joanna! — to talk with NESSP staff about the challenge.