Category Archives: Space industry and microgravity R&D

Video: Asteroid mining – Nina Cooper – TEDxHarvardCollege

Harvard College astrophysics student Nina Hooper gives a TEDx talk on the potential of asteroid mining: Spotlight TEDx Talk: How asteroid mining could help us live in space – TEDx Innovations Blog  

Imagine a world with ubiquitous, affordable space travel, where getting in a spaceship is no stranger than getting in an airplane. Harvard undergraduate Nina Hooper, an astrophysics student, shows how mining asteroids for platinum could be the way to make space travel cheap and accessible to civilians.

Nina Hooper is a Harvard College student from Melbourne, Australia studying astrophysics. She loves traveling and adventure and is working towards what she believes is the ultimate adventure – going to space. She is also a private pilot, a songwriter and a major foodie. Nina intends to pursue a graduate degree in aerospace and astrospace engineering either in the US or UK.

Videos: Space to Ground ISS report + Molten metal levitator

The latest NASA Space to Ground report on Int. Space Station activities:

Here is a video about an instrument used on the ISS to levitate metal while it is melted and then rapidly cooled. Dr. Douglas Matson of Tufts University is interviewed about

the Electromagnetic Levitator, a piece of physics experiment hardware operating in the station’s Columbus laboratory. The EML is a furnace that can heat metals to more than 2000 degrees Celsius and then cool them rapidly, and by doing so in a weightless environment—with the samples suspended in mid-air—allows scientists to more clearly observe some of the complex core processes of physics.

‘The Arete STEM Project’ – student experiments on the XCOR Lynx rocketplane

The  Arete STEM Project is a new Kickstarter campaign to fund K-12 STEM projects on suborbital high altitude flights using XCOR‘s Lynx rocketplane. Here is a video introduction to the project:

The project aims

to help all students, whether from a public, private, parochial, or home school environment, to develop the competitive skills necessary to compete in the 21st century workplace.


We believe this can be accomplished by allowing students to use their creatively to design, build, and test microgravity experiments. We go one-step further by flying their experiments into space and then return the experiments to the students.

These student experiments or payloads will fly on Commercial Suborbital Flights.

A key factor to the success of our educational program is our unique relationship the one of the leaders in Commercial Spaceflight, XCOR Aerospace and their Lynx suborbital spacecraft.

The procedure for students goes as follows:

So how does it all come together? Here are the basics:

First, students reserve their experiment’s payload slot on the Lynx. This is the start of their space adventure.

Once the reservation is secured, students go through an Engineer Design Process to help them ready their payload (experiment) for suborbital flight. Through each stage of the design process students are monitored to help them reach their milestones/goals.

At 90 days prior to the suborbital flight, students are contacted to begin the final phases before their payload is sent into space. This is a simple student progress check that allows student to communicate any successes or problems they are accruing.

At 60 days, we can arrange for simulated flight-testing of the experiment and have all data sent to the student for any redesigns they may need.

30 days before the flight is scheduled all safety checks are accomplished.

Next, the actual flight and return occurs, including the return of experiments and all collected data to the students.

Finally, The Arete STEM Project hopes to help develop future scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, as well as students willing to take on a life changing challenge.

After having the opportunity to design, develop and fly their work into space and back, students will be ready and eager for any challenges they may face in the 21st century.