Tag Archives: Nasa

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Secrets, Strength & Sleep: Three Short Talks with Three Student Scientists”

Saturday – September 16, 9:30-11:00am

Please RSVP to jrcafe@tacny.org

Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY


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Talk 1: “Behind the Cause: How Computational Simulations Can Help Fight Disease,” by Elise White, Senior at Binghamton High School

Overview: Envision a revolutionary ability bestowed upon you allowing unlimited insight into the complex depths of your body and the biological world. You become witness to the thousands of processes and theories described in textbooks, freely watching and even manipulating thousands of atoms and molecules interact on a timescale a billion times smaller than a second. Focus – Alzheimer’s – a disease that attacks your brain and erases its memories. Using this incredible ability, you can attempt to illuminate the cause of such a horrible disease. Join Elise as she shares the journey of doing precisely that, and learn how computational simulations are revolutionizing modern research!

Short biography: Propelled by a family tragedy, Elise began researching the Tau protein and the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. As a result, Elise became a 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Finalist, where she received a Special Award. She also was selected to compete in the New York State Science Congress, and was there awarded highest honors in the physical sciences.

Talk 2: “Making Cool Things Out of Light,” by Hari Nanthakumar, Senior at Christian Brothers Academy

Overview: As part of the Hosein Research Group of Syracuse University, Hari creates materials that are ultra-light and ultra-strong. They can be applied in spaceships and airplanes resulting in fuel-efficiency, making travel much cheaper and requiring significantly less gas, and allowing spaceships to feasibly reach Mars and other planets. Learn how we make these fascinating materials, all by pointing LED lamps at a liquid and causing an interesting reaction.

Short biography: Hari has performed research at SUNY Oswego and Syracuse University. He was a 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Finalist, and there received an Honorable Mention from NASA. Hari published a paper as lead author in Elsevier’s Results in Physics, was a 2x Silver Medalist at the GENIUS Olympiad, and was featured in reports by NewsChannel 9 WSYR and SU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Talk 3: “Sleep or Sleeplessness?” by Neil Khurana, Senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School

Overview: Sleep plays an important role in our health and well being, but many of us seem to not get enough of it. Sometimes the disturbance of the biological clock may give rise to sleep disorders. Learn about a diagnostic tool, which may drastically change the future of treating the global sleep epidemic!

Short biography: Neil worked as an intern at Quadrant Biosciences, and volunteered as a research assistant at the Department of Neurosurgery and Neurosciences at Upstate Medical University. Neil was a 2017 Intel International Science Fair Finalist, and there received a third-place award.

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique, a program for middle-school students founded in 2005, features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere and seeks to encourage students to consider careers in these areas. Students must be accompanied by an adult and can explore the MOST at no cost after the event.

Technology Alliance of Central New York

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.

For more information about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org.

“Stargazing In Upstate NY” For July 21 to July 28 Posted To newyorkupstate.com And syracuse.com

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

This week’s “Stargazing In Upstate New York” article is up at syracuse.com and newyorkupstate.com.

* syracuse.com/outdoors/…what_to_see_in_the_night_skies_july_21_to_28

* newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/…what_to_see_in_the_night_skies_july_21_to_28

We welcome the return of the moon to our sunset skies this week at the same time that we celebrate the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon on the 20th – and the safe return from the surface of the late Neil Armstrong and the still ever social-media savvy Buzz Aldrin on July 21, 1969. The third name on that list, regretfully less-often mentioned because he stayed onboard the command module Columbia while the other two rode the Eagle module to the moon’s surface, is Michael Collins. Of all of the documentation of this mission, the above photo might be the most memorable – especially in our current, selfie-crazed society. In this picture, the only person not accounted for in the entirely of human history – and, in fact, very likely the only multi-cellular organism not accounted for in the 4.5 billion year history of the Earth – is Collins, patiently monitoring the return of the other two to the Columbia module.

As far from a selfie as a non-selfie has ever been taken. (Photo by Michael Collins, Apollo 11, July 21, 1969.)

And, because we’ve not seen Mars in a short while as of late, a little reminder is included thanks a recent release of Hubbble images of a Phobos fly-by.

Mars and a fly-by of its tiny moon Phobos. From NASA/ESA/STScI.

Solar eclipse updates to follow in the next few articles before August 21st.

NASA Space Place – The Fizzy Seas of Titan

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. NASA Space Place has been providing general audience articles for quite some time that are freely available for download and republishing. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting in May, 2017.

By Marcus Woo

2013february2_spaceplaceWith clouds, rain, seas, lakes and a nitrogen-filled atmosphere, Saturn’s moon Titan appears to be one of the worlds most similar to Earth in the solar system. But it’s still alien; its seas and lakes are full not of water but liquid methane and ethane.

At the temperatures and pressures found on Titan’s surface, methane can evaporate and fall back down as rain, just like water on Earth. The methane rain flows into rivers and channels, filling lakes and seas.

Nitrogen makes up a larger portion of the atmosphere on Titan than on Earth. The gas also dissolves in methane, just like carbon dioxide in soda. And similar to when you shake an open soda bottle, disturbing a Titan lake can make the nitrogen bubble out.

But now it turns out the seas and lakes might be fizzier than previously thought. Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently experimented with dissolved nitrogen in mixtures of liquid methane and ethane under a variety of temperatures and pressures that would exist on Titan. They measured how different conditions would trigger nitrogen bubbles. A fizzy lake, they found, would be a common sight.

On Titan, the liquid methane always contains dissolved nitrogen. So when it rains, a methane-nitrogen solution pours into the seas and lakes, either directly from rain or via stream runoff. But if the lake also contains some ethane—which doesn’t dissolve nitrogen as well as methane does—mixing the liquids will force some of the nitrogen out of solution, and the lake will effervesce.

“It will be a big frothy mess,” says Michael Malaska of JPL. “It’s neat because it makes Earth look really boring by comparison.”

Bubbles could also arise from a lake that contains more ethane than methane. The two will normally mix, but a less-dense layer of methane with dissolved nitrogen—from a gentle rain, for example–could settle on top of an ethane layer.

In this case, any disturbance—even a breeze—could mix the methane with dissolved nitrogen and the ethane below. The nitrogen would become less soluble and bubbles of gas would fizz out.

Heat, the researchers found, can also cause nitrogen to bubble out of solution while cold will coax more nitrogen to dissolve. As the seasons and climate change on Titan, the seas and lakes will inhale and exhale nitrogen.

But such warmth-induced bubbles could pose a challenge for future sea-faring spacecraft, which will have an energy source, and thus heat. “You may have this spacecraft sitting there, and it’s just going to be fizzing the whole time,” Malaska says. “That may actually be a problem for stability control or sampling.”

Bubbles might also explain the so-called magic islands discovered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in the last few years. Radar images revealed island-like features that appear and disappear over time. Scientists still aren’t sure what the islands are, but nitrogen bubbles seem increasingly likely.

To know for sure, though, there will have to be a new mission. Cassini is entering its final phase, having finished its last flyby of Titan on April 21. Scientists are already sketching out potential spacecraft—maybe a buoy or even a submarine—to explore Titan’s seas, bubbles and all.

To teach kids about the extreme conditions on Titan and other planets and moons, visit the NASA Space Place: spaceplace.nasa.gov/planet-weather/

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Caption: Radar images from Cassini showed a strange island-like feature in one of Titan’s hydrocarbon seas that appeared to change over time. One possible explanation for this “magic island” is bubbles. Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell

About NASA Space Place

With articles, activities, crafts, games, and lesson plans, NASA Space Place encourages everyone to get excited about science and technology. Visit spaceplace.nasa.gov (facebook|twitter) to explore space and Earth science!