Meet a NASA Astronaut at WonderWorks, As Science & Space Fans Enjoy an Intergalactic Weekend

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NASA Exhibit

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has planned a temporary exhibit that is out of this world, and everyone is invited to blast off with it.

The indoor park that combines amusement and educational opportunities is hosting a NASA exhibit from October 5-8, 2017 that will focus on the amazing world of science and the planets. The exhibit will feature scaled models of spacecraft and a virtual reality experience of NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System. There will also be artifacts such as a real moon rock that people can touch, and a meet and greet with former space shuttle astronaut Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson. The fun and educational exhibit is slated to help further interest in STEM education and careers and is ideal for all ages.

“This is such an exciting exhibit for people and we are thrilled to be hosting it,” states Ed Shaffer, General Manager for WonderWorks. “Being able to meet a real astronaut and touch a moon rock is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that you don’t want to miss.”

astronaut Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson
Former Astronaut-Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson

The NASA exhibit will kick off with Captain Gibson visiting local middle schools to speak to students about his experience being in space. He will be at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge on Saturday, October 7, 2017. Meet and greet opportunities are from 11 a.m. to noon, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., and from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., where he will answer questions, pose for photos, and give autographs. Media interviews will also be available.

The NASA exhibit will feature:
• The Exploration Systems virtual tour allows participants to experience the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft up close as they sit on the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center. Users will be transported to Launchpad 39B where they will receive a brief overview of the different components that make up the most powerful rocket ever built, the SLS. Once the overview is complete, they will then be placed inside an Orion Spacecraft virtual environment prior to launch.
• Guest will be able to take and print a photo of themselves in a spacesuit with either an SLS, Orion, Mars rover, or International Space Station background. This is a one-of-a-kind keepsake!
• Space Launch System 1:50 scale model on a mobile launcher and a 1:20 scale Orion Spacecraft table top model.
• Touchable moon rock from the Apollo 17 mission.

“We are ready to grow interest in space explorations,” added Shaffer. “There will be plenty of opportunities for pictures, asking questions, and observing, making it an amazing experience for all.”

Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson served as a NASA astronaut from 1979 until 1996 and is a veteran of five space shuttle flights. He has logged more than 36 days in space, including having commanded the first docking of the space shuttle to the Russian space station Mir. He is also a graduate of the TOPGUN Navy Fighter Weapons School.

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge offers 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. They offer over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters, space discovery, an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone, a far out art gallery, and a light and sound zone. WonderWorks is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information or to register for the event, log onto their site: wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/nasa-journey-mars/.

About WonderWorks
WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits – there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is also home to Wonders of Magic, starring Terry Evanswood, the award-winning and longest running performer in Pigeon Forge. WonderWorks hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Open daily from 9 a.m. until midnight. wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge.

This Town Is Already Getting Deliveries By Drones

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Drone carrying first aid package

In Christiansburg, Virginia, deliveries by drones are not only being studied but also implemented for the town’s citizens amid social distancing due to COVID-19.

The deliveries technically began in October, when a drone nicknamed “Wing” carried a fleece vest for the last two miles of the item’s delivery route. This marked “Wing” as the first drone to ever carry out this kind of delivery in the United States. Ever since this incident, the drone has continued to deliver packages over short distances, especially during this time of social distancing.

Besides Christiansburg, drone deliveries have only been officially tested in areas of Finland and Australia, as researchers are still looking into the mechanics of using drones for everyday deliveries. All of the towns conducting tests, including Christiansburg, have a flat topography and relatively small populations, making them ideal spots to test drone delivery without geographic or social interruption from largely populated cities. Virginia Tech, the home to an unnamed drone research department, also resides in close proximity to Christiansburg, as to closely study the effects of drone delivery.

While drone delivery has so far proved successful, it does have its controversies. For one, the delivery drones would not be able to deliver any item, having a weight limit of about three pounds. Drones must also pass the test of public perception as tests try to seek the normalization of drone delivery by everyone. Regardless, “Wing” and its correspondents have already partnered with  major companies, such as Walgreens and FedEx, to deliver essential items, and the search has already begun for more testing sites across the United States.

Natalie Rodgers
Diversity in STEAM Magazine contributing writer

From A Simple Swab To A Simple Sniff—How dogs are being trained to detect COVID-19

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dogs face close up

Especially for the elderly and to those with compromised immune systems, coronavirus testing kits are critical to treating the virus at an early stage. The current test is excellent at its job but is limited to and inaccessible to many people around the world—not to mention it’s uncomfortable. But what if there were an easier way?

Many scientific journals have proposed each disease has its own distinct scent. Many dogs have been used in the past to detect different types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and bacterial ailments. That is why the organization Medical Detection Dogs, located in the United Kingdom, have begun trials with medical professionals to see if dogs can sniff out the coronavirus’ scent.

The hope is that dogs will pick up on COVID-19’s scent among large crowds and detect those carrying the virus. This procedure would not only be more comfortable than current testing but could also cover more ground and be less invasive.

Should these dogs be successful, Professor Steve Lindsay of Durham University believes that, “…we could use COVID-19 detection dogs at airports at the end of the epidemic to rapidly identify people carrying the virus. This would help prevent the re-emergence of the disease after we have brought the present epidemic under control.”

Natalie Rodgers
Diversity in STEAM Magazine contributing writer

Breweries and distilleries around the world are producing free sanitizing products to fight the coronavirus

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anheuser-busch diageo sanitizer bottles

The world’s largest beer and spirits companies have both announced they’ll be pivoting some of their production and logistics to produce millions of bottles of hand sanitizer around the world. The moves come as many brands look at ways to mobilize their extensive resources to help battle the global spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Diageo, parent company of spirits brands ranging from Johnnie Walker to Smirnoff, today announced it will provide 2 million liters (about half a million gallons) of 96% alcoholic grain-neutral spirit to sanitizer manufacturers at no cost. That amount is enough to produce 8 million bottles of sanitizer at 250 milliliters each.

Anheuser-Busch—creator of Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and many other beer brands—is retooling its global manufacturing and distribution networks to create more than 1 million bottles of hand sanitizer that will be donated. Although the company doesn’t create distilled spirits, the sanitizer production was accomplished by shifting what it described as “existing technology for our non-alcohol brewing process.”

Both corporations said the sanitizer they’re producing at no charge will go to hospitals and frontline medical personnel, who have struggled worldwide to maintain adequate supplies of protective equipment as consumers stocked up on sanitizer, masks and other products.

“Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic, and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them,” said Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo. “This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitizer around the world.”

Diageo and Anheuser-Busch aren’t the first alcohol companies to begin producing free sanitizer amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but they’re certainly the largest.

Delaware craft brewer Dogfish Head and many local breweries or distillers have been working to produce sanitizer for their communities and medical facilities. Tito’s Vodka says it’s currently testing a production change that will allow it to produce an initial run of 24 tons (about 6,500 gallons) of sanitizer in small bottles.

Here’s a breakdown of how the two massive global companies will be structuring their sanitizer production efforts:
Diageo

• U.K. and Ireland: Providing 500,000 liters of grain-neutral spirits for national healthcare systems and workers.
• Italy: Supplying 100,000 liters of grain-neutral spirits to support the healthcare system and other national needs.
• U.S.: Providing 500,000 liters for local community needs.
• Brazil: Diageo’s Ypioca plant will produce 50,000 liters of grain-neutral spirit for the local healthcare system, in conjunction with the Ceara state government.
• Kenya: Diageo’s East Africa Breweries will enable production of 135,000 liters of sanitizer, prioritizing vulnerable and at-risk groups.
• India: Providing 500,000 liters of alcohol to supply to the sanitizer industry across 25 states, for use in national healthcare systems and for consumers.
• Australia: Diageo’s Bundaberg Distilling will produce 100,000 liters of ethanol for the Queensland government, to be directed to hand sanitizer manufacturers.
• Africa: Producing disinfectant alcohol, then using extensive fleet and route network of breweries to deliver the finished product to the most remote parts of the continent.
• Europe: Producing 50,000 liters of disinfectant alcohol as well as 26,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for donation to pharmacies and frontline workers across the region.
• Central America: Producing more than 400,000 bottles of hand sanitizer gel for donation to hospitals and local governments.
• North America: Producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to accommodate growing needs across the United States and Canada.
• South America: Produced 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for hospitals in the most impacted areas, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia in Brazil.

Continue on to ADWEEK to read the complete article.

Cisco commits $225 million to battle coronavirus, leading tech’s fight against the pandemic

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Cisco representative seated announcing pandemic support

Cisco plans to dedicate $225 million in cash and services to support various causes dedicated to combating the spread of the coronavirus and helping those affected.

“Cisco must, and will, do even more to help others respond to this global pandemic,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, pictured, in a blog post published Sunday evening.

The investment, which includes $8 million in cash and $210 million in products, will be dispersed to a variety of groups including the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the World Health Organization’s various coronavirus efforts.

“People who were already vulnerable are facing even more risks to their health, stability, housing, and well-being,” Robbins wrote. “Nonprofits are struggling to serve their populations as the number of volunteers declines due to social distancing practices and donations are at-risk due to financial concerns.”

The networking giant will also provide funding for unspecified “heads of state, government agencies, and businesses to rapidly deploy COVID-19-related technology solutions,” Robbins wrote.

According to Robbins, Cisco is helping to secure over 2.2 million people online to date, and Webex, the company’s video conference and online collaboration tool, has facilitated the virtual response meetings for the French, Canadian, German, Colombian, and other governments around the world.

Cisco, along with other unnamed companies, will also announce on Monday a multi-million-dollar financial assistance program for at-risk people, Robbins said.

“With support from Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Destination: Home’s CEO Jen Loving, we will be able to rapidly support low-income individuals during this time,” he wrote.

Cisco’s announcement comes after various tech companies and figures have announced their efforts to combat the spread of the virus and support overwhelmed medical professionals worldwide.

Amazon was among the earliest to respond, announcing on March 10 that it would create a $5 million grant to help small businesses in the Seattle area that were affected by the coronavirus.

A week later, Jack Ma, the CEO of Chinese e-commerce and cloud computing giant Alibaba, pledged to donate emergency supplies to various countries in Asia that have been severely impacted by the coronavirus.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described in a LinkedIn post on Saturday several ways his company was helping others who are fighting the coronavirus. “In healthcare, our technology is being used for telemedicine, enabling user-intuitive solutions to share data and access critical information,” Nadella wrote. “St. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania is using Teams to video chat with patients most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted on Saturday that his company was “donating millions of masks for health professionals in the U.S. and Europe.”

On Sunday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg followed suit, saying his social media company has “donated our emergency reserve of 720,000 masks that we had bought in case the wildfires continued.”

The move by Cisco could be just the start of the company’s coronavirus pandemic response efforts, noted Robbins. “While our world will be different as we move into the future,” he wrote, “it is important that we stay focused on making a positive impact in every way possible.”

Continue on to Fortune for more Coronavirus coverage.

View Cisco’s Response to Committing $225 million to global COVID-19 On Their Executive Platform

 

Another Roundup of Positive Updates on the COVID Outbreaks From Around the World

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Closeup image woman holding, using and looking at smart phone feeling happy

By McKinley Corbley

Last week, we published a list of ten positive updates on the COVID-19 outbreaks from around the world. Since the article has been viewed millions of times, we thought we would go ahead and publish another round-up of optimistic occurrences to keep your spirits up.

So here is another list of reasons why the global situation is not as bad as the mainstream media might have you think.

 

 

    1. World Health Organization (WHO) Officials Say There Are Now 20 Coronavirus Vaccines in Development
    2. Although there are still a number of logistical and financial hurdles that will need to be overcome in the race to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine to the public, WHO representatives say they are working with scientists around the world to test and develop 20 different vaccines.

      “The acceleration of this process is really truly dramatic in terms of what we’re able to do, building on work that started with SARS, that started with MERS and now is being used for COVID-19 ,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO’s emergencies program, said at a press conference in Geneva last week, according to CNBC.

      The collective body of research is particularly “remarkable” since the vaccines are in development just 60 days after a number of international scientists decoded the virus’s genetic sequence and shared it with the rest of the world.

      One of the vaccines—which is already being tested on a number of American volunteers in Seattle—has already illustrated the “unprecedented speed” with which the medical community is working together to develop a vaccine.

      A #USask research team and collaborating scientists from across the country have been awarded $1 million to develop animal models and test vaccine candidates for effectiveness and safety against the new #coronavirus. @VIDOInterVac t.co/SXanfcxgvs

    3. From Individuals to Countries and World Governments–Everybody is Sharing Face Masks
    4. Not only is this French fashion designer making her own face masks and giving them away for free, she is showing how other people can make their own as well. In North Carolina, a textile mill is gearing up to start making 10 million masks per week. A number of international fashion companies have also redirected their manufacturing teams to produce face masks as well.

      Multiple businesses and schools have donated their recently rediscovered face mask treasure troves to hospitals in need. Other major tech companies such as Facebook and Apple are donating millions of masks and medical supplies to US healthcare facilities. Chinese companies are passing on their own stashes of face masks to European countries newly impacted by the virus. Taiwan is reportedly donating 100,000 masks to the United States.

      Even medical TV shows have donated their medical supply props to North American hospitals in need.

    5. As American Cities Close Up Amidst Outbreaks, Pollution Plummets
    6. The United States is now benefiting from the same environmental silver lining to the pandemics as China and Italy: as cities encourage self-isolation, air pollution is plummeting.

      Over the course of the last few weeks, satellite imaging has revealed significant reductions in air pollution—particularly across California, Seattle, and New York City.

      According to CNN, environmental scientists are estimating that the improvement in air quality could collectively save as many as 75,000 people from dying prematurely.

    7. As Physicians Worry About Potential Ventilator Shortages, Researchers Develop Several Low-Cost Solutions
    8. In a stroke of genius, one scientist from the University of Minnesota says he went “full-on MacGyver” to build a makeshift ventilator in a matter of hours. Although his team has revised his design over the course of several prototypes with the hopes of eventually submitting it for FDA approval, he says that the inexpensive ventilator is one that he “would be comfortable with someone [using to] take care of me in an ICU or in an operating room.”

      The compassionate medical research continues in Italy as a pair of engineers have taken it upon themselves to 3D-print free respirator parts for their local hospitals. As of last week, the Isinnova startup engineers told Forbes that they had successfully printed more than 100 parts.

      Meanwhile, MIT scientists are publishing open-source instructions and research on how to build inexpensive ventilators.

      “We are releasing this material with the intent to provide those with the ability to make or manufacture ventilators, the tools needed to do so in a manner that seeks to ensure patient safety,” they wrote. “Clinicians viewing this site can provide input and expertise and report on their efforts to help their patients.”

    9. Communities and Countries Opening Up New Lanes of Free Entertainment for the Masses
    10. In addition to Italians singing songs and playing music together from their balconies, homeowners have begun projecting classic films onto building fronts for the neighbors to enjoy.

      As a means of keeping self-isolated people amused during global shutdowns, many online services have made their services free to the public as well.

      For starters, Amazon has unlocked more than 40 new children’s shows for all of their customers to watch for free, regardless of Prime membership. Audiobook platform Audible has also released a number of free audiobooks for users to stream from their devices.

      “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open. Starting today, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids,” reads the Audible website. “All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Explore the collection, select a title and start listening. It’s that easy.”

      More than 2,500 art museums and galleries have also partnered with Google to offer free virtual tours and displays of their collections to art lovers around the world.

    11. More Than 100,000 People Have Already Recovered From the Virus Worldwide
    12. According to research from Johns Hopkins University, more than 100,000 COVID-19 patients have already made full recoveries from the infection—and that number may very well climb ever higher as more and more potential treatments are tested around the world.

      If that’s not enough, patients as old as 90 have managed to recover from the virus as well.

      As Chinese cities gradually reopen to the public now that they have gotten the virus under control with less than 10 new infections reported each day, other countries are expected to experience similar recoveries during the coming months.

    13. Nobel Prize Winner Who Correctly Predicted COVID-19 Trends Says ‘We’re Going To Be Fine’
    14. According to a recently-published interview with the Los Angeles Times, Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt has been “remarkably accurate” in predicting China’s recovery from the virus since he began researching the infection rates back in January.

      Levitt, who won the 2013 prize for developing complex chemical models of calculation, says that as long as countries continue to practice safe self-isolation measures, the numbers show that they are already beginning to experience slow signs of improvement.

      “What we need is to control the panic,” he told the news outlet. “We’re going to be fine.”

    15. Celebrities and Businesses Have Contributed Millions Towards Feeding and Caring for At-Risk People
    16. From Michelin-starred Chef José Andrés to the Bill Gates Foundation—millions of dollars are being donated to novel coronavirus research and charities feeding families amidst the shutdowns.

      It’s hard to quantify just how many resources are being contributed to the cause, but suffice it to say that it’s a lot—in fact, here’s just a quick list of celebrities giving back to their communities that we published last week.

      Oakland is closing schools bc of COVID-19. We support this decision but are concerned a/b the 18,000+ kids that rely on school for 2+ meals daily. @eatlearnplay is donating to @ACCFB to ensure every child has access to the food they need. Join us & donate t.co/nDqF7OoO0Z

    17. No Matter Where You Look, People Are Being Kind to Each Other
    18. People and small businesses are delivering groceries to their elderly neighbors in self-isolation; kids are caring for the homeless; social media users are setting up “caremongering” groups to support each other and share helpful information; people are sharing their toilet paper with community members.

      There are even more stories of kindness and compassion being reported from around the world every day—so remember to keep your chin up during the weeks ahead and remind yourself that this situation might not be as terrible as your social media feed might have you believe.

      Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

This AI camera detects people who may have COVID-19

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AI camera spots people with coronavirus fever

With the U.S. lagging other countries in the distribution of coronavirus testing kits, health authorities have had to look to other means of detection, like the infrared ear thermometers used in some countries. And now one Austin-based company says its security cameras use thermal imaging and computer vision tech to detect people who have fever possibly related to the virus.

Unlike the thermometers, which work one person at a time and at close range, Athena Security‘s security camera detection system may be far better for scanning larger numbers of people in places like airports, grocery stores, hospitals, and voting locations.

The company’s thermal cameras are already in use at a coworking space in Austin, and will be deployed in some “large Fortune 500 companies” and some airports in the coming weeks, but Athena says it can’t divulge the names of those customers yet.

The cameras can detect the heat of 12 different places on the body with an accuracy of within a ½ degree, says Athena CEO Lisa Falzone. The company’s software, which works with high-grade, off-the-shelf security cameras, uses an AI model to zoom in on a subject’s inner eye, which is most reflective of the body’s actual temperature, she said.

The system uses AI to monitor numerous cameras at once, and automatically sends an alert to security personnel if it detects someone with a fever. It can do 1,000 temperature readings an hour, Falzone said. This is far faster than the current system being used in airports–the handheld temp readers–which have snarled lines at airports like Chicago’s O’Hare.

Athena originally made news in 2018 when it developed a security software to address another huge public safety issue–gun violence. The company introduced security camera technology that used computer vision to detect firearms as public fear over mass shootings hit a fever pitch. The gun detection system uses computer vision to detect firearm shapes within its view. If the firearm is concealed, the system must also compare the heat of a suspected weapon with the body surface near it, said Athena’s CTO Chris Ciabarra at the time.

When the novel coronavirus began to spread in China, Athena realized that it could use much of the same technology it developed for gun detection to detect people who might have contracted the virus. Falzone said detecting fever is actually easier than detecting guns because nothing is concealed.

The U.S. Air Force was already using Athena’s technology to detect guns within its bases and other facilities, Falzone said, but it’s now using the fever detection functionality as well.

“We see this more for places like airports, hospitals, military bases–places where you can’t go in if you have a fever because you may spread it to others,” she said.

Athena stresses that its system doesn’t record the faces of everybody who passes in front of the camera. The thermal camera doesn’t pick up on skin color. But it does record an image of the face of anyone who registers a fever. “We don’t like the word ‘surveillance,’” says Falzone.

Athena is encouraging its corporate customers to be upfront with employees that the temperature detection feature is being deployed. It’s advising its retail customers to post signs at the entrance stating that people with fever aren’t allowed in the store, and that a camera is being used to detect fever in people outside the door.

The U.S. government has reached out to the tech community for help in addressing the coronavirus outbreak. Some have speculated that Big Tech might redeem itself in the public’s eyes by lending its brain power and infrastructure to the coronavirus response.

We’ll have to see how that goes. But Athena Security, a small tech company located far from Silicon Valley, has quickly brought to market a cutting-edge technology that could play a crucial role in slowing the spread of the virus. Let’s hope we see more examples of that from tech companies big and small in the coming weeks and months.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

NASA’s now taking astronaut applications. Do you have the right stuff?

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NASA Astronaut floating outside spaceship in spacesuit

Good news for aspiring space travellers: NASA is currently accepting applications for its next astronaut class. New hires will join the Houston-based Artemis lunar exploration program, which aims to send the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024. The program will inform eventual trips to Mars.

Artemis will send astronauts to the moon aboard the Orion spacecraft using its new Space Launch System—a rocket that NASA claims is its most powerful of all time. It will propel Orion to at least 24,500 miles per hour, the minimum speed needed to exit low-Earth orbit and travel to the Moon.

Since the 1960s, NASA has selected and trained 350 astronaut candidates—though not all have made it through the rigorous two-year preparation, which includes mastering the complex hardware and communication controls aboard International Space Station, flight readiness training, and much more.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, you’re in luck. If you meet the requirements, you could join the ranks of the 48 currently active astronauts. NASA recently posted the online application, which expires on March 31. We’ve broken down all the requirements:

In addition to US citizenship, there are some strict educational requirements. NASA asks that astronaut candidates have a master’s degree in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics. Candidates can also possess two years of work toward a PhD program in a related science, technology, engineering or math field; a completed doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree; or completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2021) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program.

Plenty of flight experience is required

NASA states that candidates need professional flight test experience that’d prepare them to launch spacecraft, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft. In comparison, commercial pilots need 1,500 hours of flight time.

Physical fitness is key

In addition to years of schooling, you must also be in tip-top shape. The required NASA long-duration spaceflight physical measures bodily functions like eyesight—20/20 vision is required, whether you have it naturally or with the help of corrective lenses—and blood pressure, which can’t exceed 140/90 when taken in the normal sitting position. Astronauts must also stand between 62 and 75 inches in height, which is between 5’2” and 6’3”.

There’s also a swimming test. Selected candidates eventually receive scuba certification and military water survival training, so strong swimming skills are a must.

There’s a lot of travel involved

This isn’t exactly a work-from-home gig. Long-term International Space Station missions can span a year or longer, according to NASA. Besides the obvious space travel, astronaut candidates may relocate to train for missions with NASA’s global partners like Russia and Canada.

Knowing Russian likely helps

Once astronaut candidates get the job, they’re assigned to learn Russian during the two-year training period. It’s a necessary space skill: When visiting the International Space Station, all astronauts take a ride on Russia’s Soyuz Spacecraft. Logistically, they need to communicate in the Slavic tongue throughout this process. If you want to get a head start, just fire up Russian Duolingo.

Continue on to Popular Science to read the complete article.

The super worm moon marks the last full moon of winter

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The Super Moon as it appears over a skyline ridge

This is the final full moon of the winter.

As winter comes to a close, the final full moon of the season will light up the night sky on Monday.

The full worm moon, also known as a super worm moon, appears larger and brighter than other full moons and will reach peak fullness at 1:48 p.m. ET, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, giving astronomers a great view when it rises above the horizon Monday night.

Super moons that occur in March are nicknamed the “worm moon” because that’s the time of year when earth worms tend to emerge from the ground as it begins to thaw from the departing cold of winter.

 

Monday night’s celestial event also marks the first of three supermoons this year.

One will be in April and another in May.

#SuperMoon #SuperWormMoon #WormMoon

Continue on to ABC News to read the complete article.

WonderWorks Syracuse Now Accepting Nominations for WonderKids Program

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grade school children visiting with former astronaut

WonderWorks Syracuse is now accepting nominations for its annual WonderKids program. The program recognizes high-achieving students in the local Central New York community. Nominations will be accepted through May 8, 2020.

All students nominated will be invited to the awards ceremony, where the winner for each category will be announced The ceremony will feature former astronaut Dr. Don Thomas as the keynote speaker, and it will be held on Saturday, June 13, 2020, at 1:00 pm. Teachers who nominate a student to be a WonderKid will also be entering their school for a chance to win a visit from Dr. Thomas to give a presentation about his adventures through space.

“WonderKids is my favorite program that we run each year. It gives teachers a great opportunity to give their students recognition for their accomplishments in a fun and exciting way,” says Nicole Montgomery, General Manager at WonderWorks Syracuse.

“The program allows us to reward students for the effort they put into their education. We’re able to give them something to recognize those efforts and to motivate them to continue their great work.”
WonderWorks offers the WonderKids program each year, and it gives students in the area a chance to stand out for their achievements in a variety of categories. All students nominated to be a WonderKids must be nominated by a teacher. There are several areas students can be nominated for, including their service to the community, academic excellence, and future scientists. The number of nominations accepted is limited, so teachers should submit them early.

The WonderKids nomination categories include:

• Academic Excellence – This will go to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the area of academics. They are typically students who have exceeded expectations and have an appreciation for learning.
• Service to the Community – This award will be given to a student who helps others and goes above and beyond in doing so. This WonderKid is someone who has a great sense of self-awareness and demonstrates compassion for others.
• Future Scientist – This will be awarded to a student who has a passion for the sciences. They have demonstrated that they love to discover, innovate, and may one day change the world through science.

“We have been hosting WonderKids for several years now, and it has been a great success,” added Montgomery. “It’s a great way for WonderWorks to engage with the community and inspire the next generation of great students and scientists.”

Nominations are open to students in 10 Central New York counties: Onondaga, Oswego, Jefferson, Oneida, Madison, Cortland, Seneca, Tompkins, Chenango and Cayuga. Each nominee will be invited to enjoy WonderWorks for the day, along with three guests of their choosing.

In addition to Dr. Thomas being the keynote speaker at the ceremony, he will also visit select schools in the area on the days leading up to the ceremony. He will be visiting schools on June 11-12, 2020. The schools that will receive the visit are yet to be determined. He will give a presentation focusing on the celebration of his career and journey through space.

For more information or to nominate a student, visit the site: wonderworksonline.com/destiny/wonderkids/.

About WonderWorks
WonderWorks, a science-focused indoor amusement park, combines both education and entertainment into one venue. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71 mph hurricane-force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make life-sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment and experience zero gravity in our Astronaut Training Gyro. Nail it by lying on the death-defying Bed of Nails. WonderWorks has locations in Orlando, Pigeon Forge, Panama City Beach, Myrtle Beach, Syracuse and Branson.

For more information, visit WonderWorksonline.com/destiny and follow @WonderWorksDestiny on Facebook, @WonderWorksDUSA on Twitter, and @WonderWorks_dusa on Instagram.

How Women Can Break Into the Tech Industry

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Programmers working in a software developing company office

With how popular technology has become within many industries, jobs are always in demand for tech. Though it is true that, statistically, the field of technology is seemingly male-dominated, it doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged from giving this field a try. You don’t have to have a degree in this particular industry to get a job working with computers.

There are plenty of tools and resources at your disposal to help you gain and build technical skills you will need in these various demanding occupations.

Having the right skills is one thing, but surviving the “macho” environment that has caused so many women to leave the industry is another factor to take into consideration.

Luckily, there are ways to push back on this and keep your position.

Get the Skills

If you have zero technological skills, then give coding a try. There are a multitude of free Coding Bootcamps online you can try. They could be full-time or part-time, and some could even provide you with job opportunities. Some of them are available in person. That way, you could ask questions to a teacher and get an immediate response rather than send an email and wait for a day. There are coding bootcamps that cost money, but they are worth it for the hands-on learning that will apply to your future career.

Find Your Niche

You’ll need to stand out from the competition if you want to get hired. In this male-dominated industry, you’ll most likely get employed as a woman if you have a unique portfolio. That doesn’t mean that you need to have a very particular set of skills. You could have the same skills you learned in your coding Bootcamp but used in a relatively new and obscure way. Being able to utilize your technological knowledge for things like mobile development, cloud infrastructure, bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, management, and much more is going to increase the chances of businesses looking in your direction. You could also look for an industry that lacks but also needs technological workers.

Apply for Jobs Where Women are in Upper Management No matter how skilled you are, you may still face discrimination in the workplace. Many work environments of technology companies tend to have a fraternity-like atmosphere. That means that not only can you face situations ranging from uncomfortable to sexual harassment, but upper management and human resources probably wouldn’t do much about it. If you get a job where there are women in upper management, then they’ll be more likely to fight for you. As a whole, they could help foster a healthier work environment where female employees wouldn’t have to face discrimination every day.

Soft Skills Play a Role in this Industry

Being great at specific tasks in the job is just half of what you need to work successfully. Cooperating with others and proper communication is just the beginning of having excellent soft skills. You must be someone who can both take and give constructive criticism. Know how to read the room, and determine whether someone wouldn’t mind interaction or would prefer to be left alone. Also, don’t forget to be yourself. Even if you’re the only woman at your job, there’s no need to compete with your coworkers for the sake of proving yourself.

Start a Passion Project

For many women, technology is their passion. If you’re in this group of women, then use that passion for creating websites or working on a video game. Technology itself may not be your passion, but you can use technology to follow the passions you do have. If you like playing the piano, then you could develop an app and corresponding device that can help people learn the piano through playing games. A passion project driven by technology is a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry. It will help build your skills and experience as well as keep your knowledge sharp.

The technological industry still has a long way to go in terms of making their occupations more welcome to women. There will be a lot of things out of your control if you get a technological job, but don’t let that discourage you. More and more occupations are becoming available in this industry, and it’s becoming easier for everyone, including women, to get the skills needed to qualify. Technology can be a lot of fun as well as rewarding. There are many success stories of women who have made a significant impact on the technological industry, and you could be one of them. So find a coding bootcamp and start your career path to technology today.