STEM Education Archive

Jason Reimuller – Executive Director, International Institute for Astronautical Sciences & Project PoSSUM

January 27, 2021 @ 9:16 am

In this episode:

We meet Dr. Jason Reimuller, Executive Director of both the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) and Project PoSSUM, a nonprofit astronautics research and education program within the IIAS studying our upper atmosphere and its role in our changing global climate. Jason is also Co-Investigator of NASA’s PMC-Turbo experiment and works as a commercial research pilot and flight test engineer with atmospheric remote-sensing company GATS, Inc. He is a National Association of Underwater Instructors scuba divemaster, has authored the book Spacecraft Egress and Rescue Operations, and formerly served as a system engineer and project manager for NASA’s Constellation Program.

 

In our conversation, Jason explains how little we understand about our planet's upper atmosphere, noctilucent cloud dynamics and how they're indicators for changes in global climate, the many aspects of Project PoSSUM, how it advocates for underrepresented groups in the space community, and whether he personally has an interest in being involved in the space missions of the future.

 

Explaining his part in Project PoSSUM, Jason says, “You know, my first role in this organization is to serve our community ... serve the community, and to make sure that what we’re all doing is preserving that historic role and the imperative of what astronauts have been.”

 

To learn more about the IIAS, go to https://astronauticsinstitute.org, and for more on Project PoSSUM visit https://projectpossum.org. Candidate applications for the Out Astronaut program that Jason mentions in this conversation are being accepted through Jan. 31, 2021, at https://outastronaut.org/contest/.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Robert Gregg & Toby Elery — Robotic Prosthesis Built with ISS Motors

September 23, 2020 @ 8:17 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Drs. Robert Gregg and Toby Elery, who are part of a team that has designed an improved robotic prosthesis, produced using a motor originally designed for use on the International Space Station (ISS).

 

Dr. Gregg is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Robotics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and then subsequent masters and doctoral degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the University of Michigan as an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Robotics Institute, in fall 2019.

 

Dr. Elery is a mechanical engineer and researcher based in Dallas, Texas, who earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas in the spring of 2020. Up until April of this year, and for nearly six years prior, he was a PhD Graduate Research Assistant at the university. He's worked on a host of robotics projects, has served as a mentor for undergraduate projects, and has also disseminated his research in the field via several publications and presentations.

 

In this conversation, our guests discuss how the idea came about to produce a better robotic prosthesis, why a motor produced for the ISS was chosen for their design, how their prosthesis lessens the burden on wearers, which wearers will benefit from it the most, the testing that has been performed so far, and also explain how the force from the residual limb actually charges the battery while the prosthesis is in use.

 

Describing how an ISS motor was chosen for their design, Elery explains that it was among those with “the highest torque density, which means it can produce a lot of force in a very small package, which was really useful for our application. So, we were able to get a whole lot of torque — a whole lot of force out of it, in a really small volume.”

 

To learn more about the prosthesis designed by Drs. Gregg and Elery, visit https://gregg.engin.umich.edu.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, Space Technology, robotics · Comments

Rebekah Hyatt and Adlena Jacobs — SystemsGo

September 9, 2020 @ 8:38 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Rebekah Hyatt, a master educator who is Program Director for SystemsGo, an education nonprofit solely focused on providing STEM curriculum programs. Prior to joining SystemsGo, she taught high school for 15 years in the Dallas area, and during her last seven years in the classroom she taught the SystemsGo curriculum.

 

We also meet Adlena Jacobs, another master educator who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and math, and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. She has been teaching for 12 years and is currently the STEM Coordinator at Sunnyvale High School in Sunnyvale, Texas. 

 

In this conversation, both guests express their passion for preparing the next generation to join the workforce. Rebekah talks about what inspired her to join SystemsGo, the overall mission of the program, and some of the benefits she has seen over the years. As a teacher who is new to the program, Adlena brings a fresh perspective to the training process, has a newcomer’s enthusiasm for bringing it to her students, and shares how she anticipates they will grow from the program. 

 

Both explain that failure is an important aspect of the program, as it leads to growth for the students. Says Rebekah, “We want to produce people that are equipped with skills to walk through the fear of the unknown. Because the fear of the unknown can be totally crippling to many people.”

 

Adlena herself admits that she had to struggle through her own failure during the teacher training but knows this only enhances her ability to relate to her students and guide them. She says, “Even though you’re failing, keep going — you will get there.”

 

To learn more about SystemsGo visit systemsgo.org.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Aaron Shepard – NASA Robotics Intern & Founder of Cogito

September 2, 2020 @ 8:34 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Aaron Shepard, an In Space Assembly Robotics Intern at NASA Langley, and a Robotics Research Assistant at Clemson University College of Engineering and Science. Aaron also works at R&D Engineering Co-Op, Itron, Inc., and is the Founder/CEO of Cogito, a company dedicated to inspiring young people through STEM outreach.

 

He is affiliated with the Mars Generation, an international nonprofit organization that works to excite people of all ages about science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and human space exploration, and is currently a member of the organization's Student Space Ambassador Leadership Board, where he serves as chair of the outreach committee. He works as a tutor and mentor for the PEER & WISE program at Clemson, which helps to give underrepresented students studying STEM subjects the resources and tools they need to follow their dreams of STEM and space, and he has also given a TEDx talk entitled Make America Space Again.

 

In this conversation Aaron talks about what inspired him to switch from his initial career path of medicine to robotics, gives details on how he got into his internship at NASA, shares his thoughts on the future of robots in space exploration, touches on his company Cogito, describes his favorite robot project that he’s currently working on, and explains how he thinks international cooperation will help achieve our goals in space.

 

In describing how robots will eventually build human habitats on other planets, Aaron says, “I’d say we’re within a 20-year range of having fully autonomous robot construction crew in space ... I think that’s possible.”

 

To learn more about Aaron’s new company Cogito, visit cogitobrains.com.

 

Note: This episode refers to the successful July 30, 2020 launch of the Perseverance Mars Rover and Ingenuity helicopter in future tense because the podcast was recorded on July 23, 2020.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Space Technology, robotics · Comments

Kevin DeBruin – The Fit Rocket Scientist

June 11, 2020 @ 12:13 pm

In this episode:

 

We meet Kevin DeBruin, a space educator who brings space down to Earth for all of us in a creative and entertaining way. A former NASA JPL rocket scientist, Kevin is also the author of To NASA and Beyond: Perseverance to Achieve the Impossible, a TEDx speaker, American Ninja Warrior, and CuriosityStream’s brand ambassador for all things space and science. 

 

Kevin shares with us the obstacles he faced as a student, including struggles with mathematics. He tells us about securing his dream job working with NASA, and why he left after discovering a passion for teaching and inspiring others about space. Kevin tells about his techniques for bringing space down to Earth and making the learning process fun and engaging. He also shares a little about his time competing as an American Ninja Warrior. 

 

Learn more about Kevin at https://www.kevinjdebruin.com/

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Mars · Comments

José Morey - Intergalactic Doctor

May 28, 2020 @ 3:36 pm

In this episode: 

 

We meet Dr. José Morey. José Morey, M.D., is a Fellow of the Eisenhower Foundation and the Chief Medical Innovation Officer for Liberty BioSecurity. Previously, Dr. Morey served as Associate Chief Health Officer for IBM Watson Health.  He led enterprise wide research collaborations with partners across the globe to develop AI medical breakthroughs.

 

Dr. Morey is also faculty at Singularity University where he leads exponential technology, innovation and human augmentation curricula. He also serves as a mentor for MIT Solve and IDEAS technology accelerators and is considered the first Intergalactic Doctor. 

 

José tells us about the “Intergalactic Doctor” title he has been given, and his dream to work in the STEM fields as a child. He explains his desire to give back and how technology and space make that possible. José also shares information about the work being done at Liberty BioSecurity, including a unique biological isolate LJ-321, which first developed resistance to chronic UV radiation as a result of long duration exposure to space on the exterior of an Earth orbiting satellite. Testing of LJ-321 has shown similar efficacy at shielding against UVA and UVB radiation to that of leading commercial brands of SPF 50 sunscreen.

 

LJ-321 is a Space Certified product. Learn more about it and the Space Foundation’s Space Certification process at https://www.spacefoundation.org/space_certification_/lj-321-active-ingredient-in-commercial-uv-protection/

 

To learn more about Liberty BioSecurity and its cutting edge capabilities across the life sciences, visit https://www.libertybiosecurity.com/.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged 

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Athena Brensberger - Founder and CEO of Astroathens, LLC

May 14, 2020 @ 12:47 pm

In this episode:

 

We meet Founder and CEO of Astroathens, LLC, Athena Brensberger. 

 

Athena advocates for space exploration through her platform Astroathens, which is a website, YouTube channel and various social media platforms combined where people can find DIY videos for astrophysics demos, rocket launch coverage and look behind-the-scenes at space ports and events around the world!

 

She has worked with Seeker, Futurism and most recently Arianespace, as a correspondent on all things astronomy and rocket science. Athena conducted research on protoplanetary disks --early formation of planetary systems like our solar system!

 

Athena tell us how her passions, astrophysics, theater and fashion intersect and how space really reaches all walks of life. She is a self-proclaimed Astrophysicist Barbie.

 

Learn more about Astroathens at https://astroathens.com/.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged 

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Mars · Comments

Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj – Science in the Wild Founder

April 15, 2020 @ 9:33 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj, a glaciologist, geologist, climatologist, and planetologist. After earning her PhD, she went on to complete postdoctoral research at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and launched an adventure and citizen science company called Science in the Wild, which offers participants the chance to go on expeditions and collect scientific data. Ulyana is also an instructor for a citizen science program called Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere), and a visiting professor of environmental science at Colorado College. 

 

In this conversation, Ulyana discusses how she first got interested in space and science, the meaning of “citizen science,” and shares her experiences as commander of a deep space mission simulation as a part of NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA XII) project. She also describes the similarities between working at high mountain elevations and being an astronaut in space, offers advice for women trying to get into scientific professions, and explains what her ideal mission destination would be if she were to be selected for the upcoming NASA class for which she is an applicant.

 

In discussing her research work in high mountain elevations such as the Nepal Himalayas, Ulyana says, “Twenty [thousand] to 23,000 feet is the kind of the realm I've been working in, and you still have to function in order to collect samples for the research. I think I really just enjoy both the physical and mental challenges that come along with the high-altitude climbing and the science.”

 

For more information about Ulyana's Science in the Wild initiative, visit www.scienceinthewild.com.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under DefaultTag, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Bill Gattle – President of Space Systems, L3Harris Technologies

March 30, 2020 @ 1:34 pm

In this episode:

 

We meet Bill Gattle, the President of Space Systems for L3Harris Technologies, Space and Airborne Systems Segment, which covers an extensive portfolio of solutions in intelligence, surveillance, small satellites, electronic warfare, and avionics. Previously, Bill was President of Space and Intelligence Systems for Harris Corporation prior to their merger with L3 Technologies last year. He is also a board member of the Space Foundation, the University of Florida’s Dean’s Advisory Board, and the Astronauts Memorial Foundation.

 

In this episode, Bill explains what inspired him to go into the space industry in 1987, some of the early projects he worked on, lessons learned in the Harris Corporation-L3 Technologies merger, the growing importance of small satellites, protecting our assets in space, how the creation of the Space Force is changing the space industry, as well as his thoughts on mentorship and the skills that companies like L3Harris will look for in their future employees. 

 

In discussing the steps teachers should take to get their students interested in the STEM workforce of the future, Bill said, “It used to be that we’d have a wonderment about space, so we’d just love the aspect of learning about it. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the mechanics of what we’re learning, we don’t see the wonder of what we’re creating, and what we’re doing. With the world changing so fast, I think we’ve got to create that wonder in students again.”

 

For more information on L3Harris Technologies, visit their site at l3harris.com.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

Dr. Tanya Harrison - Professional Martian

March 25, 2020 @ 11:57 am

In this episode:

 

We meet Dr. Tanya Harrison, who describes herself a “professional Martian.” She has spent the last decade working as a scientist on mission operations on multiple NASA Mars missions, including the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers. 

 

Tanya specializes in geomorphology, the study of a planet’s evolution based on its surface features. Before her Mars work, Tanya had her head in the stars as an astronomer studying the metal content of star clusters and recurring novae systems. 

 

She tells us about how she developed a passion for space and science and explains more about geomorphology. Tanya shares the detective work she does when looking at a photo of Mars and how she uses her knowledge to help further our studies of the red planet. Tanya is also an advocate for advancing the status of women in science and for accessibility in the geosciences.  She also talks about being one of the organizers of the annual Women in Space conference.

 

Tanya tells us about her new book For All Humankind, a collection of true stories based on interviews with people who watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing live but from outside the U.S. The book is available on Amazon and at ForAllHumankind.Space. 

 

You can follow her on Twitter @tanyaofmars.

 

Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/hansatom/50718 Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Mars · Comments

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