Category Archives: Space participation

Lunar Mission One and Astrobotic will take put your “Footsteps on the Moon”

Lunar Mission One is a non-profit organization seeking to raise public funding for space science projects. Their primary space science goal is to put a robotic spacecraft on the south pole of the Moon in 2024 to investigate water and other resources there. A Kickstarter campaign in 2014 raised over $1M.

They have a number of public involvement initiatives programs underway. This week, for example, they opened the Footsteps on the Moon campaign in which you upload “a photo of your footprints, feet or shoes” that will be sent to the Moon on digital storage.


The transport to the Moon will be via Astrobotic‘s lunar lander mission: Lunar Mission One Signs Deal with Astrobotic

Astrobotic Technology Inc. and Lunar Missions Ltd, the company behind the global, inclusive, not-for- profit crowd-funded Lunar Mission One, have signed a deal to send the first digital storage payload to the Moon. The payload will support Lunar Mission One’s ‘Footsteps on the Moon’ campaign, launched earlier today, which invites millions of people to include their footsteps – in addition to images, video and music – in a digital archive of human life that will be placed on the moon during Astrobotic’s first lunar mission.

“The partnership with Lunar Mission One is an exciting opportunity for individuals to store memorable information on the surface of the Moon,” says John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. “This is the first step in creating an archive of human civilization beyond Earth orbit.”

David Iron, CEO of Lunar Missions Ltd and the founder of Lunar Mission One says, “It was an easy choice to partner with Astrobotic, a global leader in commercial lunar capability. This deal allows us to offer an exciting new way to connect our supporters to the Moon during the early phase of Lunar Mission One’s development. We look forward to unveiling those plans very soon.”

Lunar Mission One is the latest addition to Astrobotic’s mission one manifest, and will be the first payload to enable a digital archive on the Moon.

David Iron, the founder of Lunar Mission One, writes the organization and the Footsteps program: Lunar Mission One: “Let’s All Stand on the Moon Together” – David Iron/Huffington Post

Most people watching the Moon landings in 1969 thought they would never make it to the Moon… but it’s time for a re-think. The astronauts left their prints and the rest of us just dreamed, but Lunar Mission One now intends to make it possible with their Footsteps on the Moon project.

We have secured a digital payload on the Astrobotic Moon Lander, slated for a 2017 launch. On it, we want to take a vast collection of pictures of your footsteps, shoes, wheelchair tracks or however you leave your impression on the Earth, and place them on the Moon. And we will do that for nothing in the hopes that we can take images from every single country on Earth.

In digital form, your footsteps will rest on the Moon, like the iconic boot prints left by the first astronauts, almost 50 years ago.

Follow the latest LMO activities at Lunar Mission One (@LunarMissionOne) | Twitter.

Low cost DIY ground station for weather satellite image reception

The HobbySpace Space Radio section has lots of information and web resources about home reception of satellite signals, especially for obtaining images from low earth orbit weather satellites. The price for such DIY systems was modest and now has gotten even cheaper.

Previously, one needed a wide-band radio tuner, which might cost a couple of hundred dollars, a simple antenna, a PC with a sound card, and some free software for turning the satellite data into images. Now with the arrival of Software Defined Radio programs, one can obtain a cheap “dongle”, i.e. a small device with a built-in tuner that plugs into a PC’s USB port for interfacing satellites signals to the PC.

Jason Davis of the Planetary Society gives a nice tutorial on building a system with about $50 in components (not counting a PC) that can be used for receiving weather sat images as well as data from a future LightSail mission: How to Download Weather Satellite Images from Space – The Planetary Society.

For additional info, Davis points to Receiving Weather Satellite Images for £8 – Matt Gray.

See also the RTL-SDR, a  very cheap software defined radio that uses a DVB-T TV tuner dongle”.

20150918_earth-noaa19_f537[1]A sample image from Jason Davis showing much of N. America
as received by his home ground station from the NOAA 19 satellite. 

NASA opens student competition for designs of inflatable heat shields

An announcement from NASA:

NASA Seeks Big Ideas from Students for Inflatable Heat Shield Tech

NASA is giving university and college students an opportunity to be part of the agency’s journey to Mars with the Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program (GCD), managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) are seeking innovative ideas for generating lift using inflatable spacecraft heat shields or hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator (HIAD) technology.

Artist’s rendering of a hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator technology concept. Credits: NASA
“NASA is currently developing and flight testing HIADs — a new class of relatively lightweight deployable aeroshells that could safely deliver more than 22 tons to the surface of Mars,” said Steve Gaddis, GCD manager at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “A crewed spacecraft landing on Mars would weigh between 15 and 30 tons.”

The NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover is the heaviest payload ever landed on the Red Planet — weighing in at only one ton. To slow a vehicle carrying a significantly heavier payload through the thin Martian atmosphere and safely land it on the surface is a significant challenge. NASA is addressing this challenge through the development of large aeroshells that can provide enough aerodynamic drag to decelerate and deliver larger payloads. HIAD technology is a leading idea because these kinds of aeroshells can also generate lift, which would allow the agency to potentially do different kinds of missions.

Interested teams of three to five undergraduate and/or graduate students are asked to submit white papers describing their concepts by Nov. 15. Concepts may employ new approaches such as shape morphing and pneumatic actuation to dynamically alter the HIAD inflatable structure.

Selected teams will continue in the competition by submitting in the spring of 2016 full technical papers on the concept. Up to four teams will present their concepts to a panel of NASA judges at the BIG Idea Forum at Langley in April 2016.

Each finalist team will receive a $6,000 stipend to assist with full participation in the forum. BIG Idea Challenge winners will receive offers ofpaid internships with the GCD team at Langley, where they can potentially work toward a flight test of their concept.

For more information about the challenge, and details on how to apply, visit the BIG Idea website at:

For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, go to:



Student CanSat competitions underway in US and Europe for 2016

The CanSat Competition involves student teams building soda can sized “satellites” that ride suborbital rockets to a high altitude and perform particular tasks such as atmospheric measurements. The program has been going on for several years in the US and is also now in Europe:

Getting ready for the European CanSat competitions 2016

15 September 2015The ESA Education team has the pleasure to announce that preparations for the 2016 edition of the European CanSat competition are underway! The launch campaign will take place at the end of June 2016.

This will be the first time ESA assigns a space theme to the competition, which will be announced in the near future.

Recovered CanSats from the launches
A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite, integrated within the volume and shape of a soft drink can. The challenge for the students taking part in this competition is to fit all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors and a communication system, into this minimal volume. The CanSat is then launched to an altitude of a few hundred metres by a rocket, or dropped from a platform or captive balloon, where it carries out its scientific experiment and achieves a safe landing.

Before the official European CanSat competition takes place, several national CanSat competitions will be held in various ESA member states*. The winners of the national competitions will be able to participate in the European one. The national organisers are invited to send us the name of their national winning teams before 17 April 2016.

Details about the organisation of the national competitions are available on the CanSat website. Help and advice for the national organisers, the students and teachers, as well as guidelines and timetables will be published soon.

Students tracking their CanSats during the launch
The location of the European CanSat competition finals will be announced in the upcoming months. ESA will sponsor the launch and activities of the European finals as well as the accommodation of the teams who will be participating (maximum 4 students and 1 accompanying teacher per team). Travel expenses will have to be paid by the participants themselves. The student teams are requested to speak English, as all documentation and presentations that the students will have to prepare are in this language.

Several conditions have to be met in order to ensure that your team can be accepted for the European competition. One team must be composed of a maximum of four students. Each team needs to be supervised by a teacher or mentor. One teacher can be responsible for a maximum of one team. All students need to be enrolled in a secondary school located in one of ESA’s Member States*. At least 50% of the students included in a team must be of the nationality of the country of the school where they are enrolled, and be aged between 14 and 20. University students will not be accepted for this competition.

If you want more details about the national and European CanSat competitions, or if you wish to organise the national competition in your own country (if it’s not already organised there), then please contact us at cansat @ We wish all participants the best of luck for this engaging challenge. Hope to see you at the next European CanSat competition!

The Space Show crowd-funding campaign exceeds goal – Still time to support stretch goals

The Space Show‘s Indiegogo campaign to fund proper archiving of 15 years of programs has surpassed its goal with a few hours left. David Livingston writes:

WE DID IT!!! We went over the top on our campaign yesterday morning. Thank you very much for your support, your networking help and your faithful listening to The Space Show. With 16 hours remaining for our campaign, we are funded at 112% of our goal ($11,170) and that number continues to increase. 126 (so far) of you joined us in this campaign to help create the new type of website we have all wanted for years and to finally have a searchable database with archival quality archives plus a blog that makes sense and is integrated into the website

Extra money beyond the goal will also be of great benefit to this non-profit program:

As we approach the final hour of our campaign, our first crowdfunding campaign ever by the way, we still have perks and Space Show opportunities available for you and everyone interested in The Space Show and what we do for space development and exploration. Just because we are winding down and are more than 12% over our goal, it does not mean we can’t benefit from your continued support. The additional funding will allow us to consider some additional enhancements to new The Space Show website.

For example, we are looking into building in the structure to do selective written transcripts. We want the website to have the capability to do this once we resolve the issues around written transcripts. Issues we have talked about on many Space Show programs so I won’t go over them now. Thus, your continued support up to the final bell is needed and greatly appreciated.

We do have a few sponsorships remaining plus the Listener Voice, host your own show, be your own guest and co-host a show in addition to the logo items and more.

Check out the latest on our campaign site,

For more details, check our or support site, Once our campaign has ended and we have all the supporter details from Indiegogo, we will begin processing the perks and sending you The Space Show/One Giant Leap thank you and acknowledgement letter.