Category Archives: Space participation

Mars Society crowdfunding new greenhouse at Mars Desert Research Station

The Mars Society has opened a crowd-funding campaign to raise $10,000 for the replacement of the greenhouse that burnt down last year at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah : Veggies on Mars – Help Rebuild the MDRS GreenHab – Indiegogo

Help Restore MDRS Green House by Contributing
to New Crowdfunding Campaign


The Mars Society launched today an online crowdfunding campaign – via – to help raise $10,000 to rebuild and refurbish the green house used at the organization’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah to carry out food and plant research important for eventual human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet.

The MDRS green house (commonly referred to as the GreenHab) was severely damaged by fire late last year, with MDRS staff determining that the facility was unfit for further use and needed to be completely rebuilt.

Plans to restore the new GreenHab include building a geodesic dome designed to house an assortment of food gardens and science experiments. More efficient, easier to use and healthier for plants, the new structure will ensure that plant and food research remain a key aspect of the overall MDRS simulation program.

A generous donation immediately following the GreenHab fire in December allowed the Mars Society to cover the cost of a temporary grow tent for plant research during the remainder of the 2014-15 field season and also purchase materials to build the new GreenHab dome structure.

Since then, Mars Society staff and volunteers have constructed a small sample geodesic test unit and completed a work trip to MDRS this past weekend to lay the building foundation, with plans to return to the Utah site in September to build the new dome in time for the upcoming crew field season, which begins in mid-October.

While the Mars Society has been able to raise part of the funds needed to fully rebuild and restore the MDRS GreenHab, the organization currently lacks  money to equip the planned facility with the necessary tools to perform important crew research and testing.

MDRS staff intend to build new planters at MDRS to study dirt and regolith, install a hydroponics system that can eventually be converted into aquaponics, and purchase LED lighting, environmental controls, fans, sensors, Raspberry Pis and other supplies and equipment, all needed to ensure that crews using the GreenHab are able to provide the latest research in planning for human Mars exploration.

The Mars Society and MDRS staff are seeking YOUR HELP to restock and resupply the GreenHab. Contribute to future human Mars exploration by donating to our online campaign today! Thank you for your support and please help share our online campaign.


Apollo 11 lunar landing anniversary

46 years ago today humans landed on another celestial object for the first time. Here are a couple of videos about Apollo 11:

On The Space Show this afternoon, Rand Simberg and Bill Simon spoke about the Evoloterra ceremony to mark “The Story of When We First Left Earth“. My wife and I did the ceremony a couple of years ago with friends and really enjoyed it: Our Evoloterra evening.

Public Telescope: Private sector initiative aims to make a space observatory available for all

The Public Telescope is a German private initiative to develop, launch, and operate a space-based observatory that would be dedicated for the use of the general public, students, as well as professional astronomers. They are seeking private backing as well as public funding. (I cannot find a total estimated cost of the observatory.)  User fees would finance the operation of the telescope. The article – astrofactum: The first Public Space Telescope – SpaceOps Journal – July.2014 – describes the overall plan.

They recently obtained an EU grant:

astrofactum receives EU funding for
space telescope project Public Telescope

astrofactum GmbH, Institute for Astronomy and Space Technology receives support from the European Union for the development of their project Public Telescope.The Public Telescope project is a private sector initiative to develop and build a commercial space telescope, which can be used by anyone.


The support of the project by the European Union is carried out within the EU funding program Horizon 2020 (SME Instrument 1st funding level), which has set itself the objective of strengthening the competitiveness of innovative European companies in global competition. The European Commission refers to the winners of the funding program as the most innovative European companies with the most innovative ideas.

The first stage of European funding amounting to 50,000 euros will be used to substantiate the commercial use model for the space telescope as part of its feasibility study. Subsequently further funding from the same EU program will be applied for to develop the necessary infrastructure for the satellite and the marketing.

“The support of the project by the European Commission is an important signal to potential new investors. We are delighted with the esteem and the confidence that the European Commission puts into the Public Telescope project. “says Heiko Wilkens, project initiator of Public Telescope.

Project Public Telescope

astrofactum offers with the Public Telescope project for the first time ever access to astronomical observations with a space telescope (80 cm) for the target groups science, amateur astronomy, education as well as to astronomy interested persons. The monitoring capacity can be used via an online platform. Monitoring projects of scientists will be individually supervised by the astrofactum science team.


For science the Space Telescope will close the gap in the ultraviolet range (UV) between the Hubble telescope (operational end in 2020 at the very latest) and future UV missions. The start of the operational service is planned from 2025. Access to the UV spectral region (observation only outside the atmosphere possible) is for astrophysical research in virtually all areas of fundamental importance.

Public Telescope represents a further advantage for international scientific enterprises whose countries are not involved in astronomical space missions and thus are limited in using existing space capabilities for research purposes.

The Space Telescope offers next to science also to amateur astronomy and education (students) an astronomical instrument outside the earth’s atmosphere. Observations of planets, nebulae, galaxies and many other objects can be carried out outside the earth’s atmosphere in an interference-free picture quality without the limitations of air and light pollution, air turbulence or the filter effect.

New for both target groups (amateur astronomy and education) is the first-time access and the related observation possibilities of objects in the UV spectral range.

Moon Day 2015 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas

If you are in the Dallas area on July 18th, check out the Moon Day event at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.:

Moon Day is an annual Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)-focused, space-themed public event sponsored by the Frontiers of Flight Museum and the National Space Society of North Texas. The event brings together space exploration-oriented groups, organizations and institutions in North Texas to share their activities and inspire new generations to embrace a scientific and technological future.


Activities, classes and exhibits will include:

“The New Shop Class” by Joan Horvath and Rich Cameron

My friend Joan Horvath, The 3D Printing Evangelist, has a new book out co-authored with Rich Cameron titled, The New Shop Class: Getting Started with 3D Printing, Arduino, and Wearable Tech –

The New Shop Class connects the worlds of the maker and hacker with that of the scientist and engineer. If you are a parent or educator or a budding maker yourself, and you feel overwhelmed with all of the possible technologies, this book will get you started with clear discussions of what open source technologies like 3D printers, Arduinos, robots and wearable tech can really do in the right hands. Written by real “rocket scientist” Joan Horvath, author of Mastering 3D Printing, and 3D printing expert Rich Cameron (AKA whosawhatsis), The New Shop Class is a friendly, down-to-earth chat about how hands-on making things can lead to a science career.

More about Joan’s earlier book Mastering 3D Printing

Mastering 3D Printing shows you how to get the most out of your printer, including how to design models, choose materials, work with different printers, and integrate 3D printing with traditional prototyping to make techniques like sand casting more efficient.

You’ve printed key chains. You’ve printed simple toys. Now you’re ready to innovate with your 3D printer to start a business or teach and inspire others.

Joan Horvath has been an educator, engineer, author, and startup 3D printing company team member. She shows you all of the technical details you need to know to go beyond simple model printing to make your 3D printer work for you as a prototyping device, a teaching tool, or a business machine.

Follow the latest news from Joan at