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Project MERCCURI! Microbes in Space!
Project MERCCURI is an investigation of how microbes found in buildings on Earth (in public buildings, stadiums, etc) compare to those on board the biggest building ever built in space – the International Space Station (ISS).
The project provides an opportunity for YOU-- citizen scientists and student scientists --to participate in the research by using kits we will send you to collect microbes from surface areas in buildings or even your own cell phone or shoes. You can form a team or join a team to collect samples through September 2013 with the help of the Science Cheerleaders (current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders who are also scientists and engineers!).
Teachers: Meet the Project MERCCURI team at the National Science Teachers Association conference in San Antonio on April 11, from 2-3pm! Then, join us at the San Antonio Spurs game on April 12 as we collect microbes from the stadium to send to space!
We collected microbes from a Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic games and now we invite you to join us at the following events (more will be posted on SciStarter.com/ISS):
April 11: National Science Teachers Association annual conference in San Antonio. From 2-3 pm, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, room 215. If you plan to be there, swing by, say hi, and learn how to get involved in Project MERCCURI to send microbes to space!
April 12: San Antonio Spurs game. Meet us on the court to collect microbes and shoot some baskets! The Spurs are offering discount tickets in addition to providing access to their court! Note: This game is almost sold out so consider purchasing your ticket soon.
April 12: We'll be at Yuri's Night parties celebrating the anniversary of manned space flight...and helping guests collect microbes from their own shoes and cellphones. Meet us at the Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham, NC, the Science Club in Washington, DC, and the California Science Center in L.A.
April 16: We'll be at the National Arts Building in New York City to celebrate Yuri's Night and collect more microbes.
April 20: Philadelphia Science Festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway! Stay tuned for more on that!
April 20-21: Calling all programmers! Help hack an app for Project MERCCURI at the NASA Space Apps Challenge in Philly!
Precipitation ID Near the Ground (PING)
The National Severe Storms Laboratory needs YOUR help with a research project!
If you live in the area shown on the map, the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground project (PING) wants YOU to watch and report on precipitation type.
PING is looking for young, old, and in-between volunteers to make observations—teachers, classes and families too! We have collected tens of thousands of observations since 2006, already making PING successful because of your help.
PING volunteers can spend a little or a lot of time making observations. The basic idea is simple: the National Severe Storms Laboratory will collect radar data from NEXRAD radars in your area during storm events, and compare that data with YOUR observations.
Why? Because the radars cannot see close to the ground, we need YOU to tell us what is happening. Scientists will compare your report with what the radar has detected, and develop new radar technologies and techniques to determine what kind of precipitation—such as snow, soft hail, hard hail, or rain—is falling where.
Help map, collect, and correct information about power generation locations around the world. Through placing pins of power generation sources on a map or filling out and reviewing correcting information about these sources you will help make studying power generation impact on the global carbon cycle and climate change reach new levels.
Dark Sky Meter
The Dark Sky Meter (available for iPhones) allows citizen scientists to contribute to a global map of nighttime light pollution. Light pollution is a growing problem in urban environments, but now you can help scientists better understand its effects on the environment. By utilizing the camera built in to your iPhone, the Dark Sky Meter actually measures ‘skyglow’ and updates the data in real time.
The Pro version of the app also charts weather conditions and cloud cover so you can take readings at optimal times. The app is as easy to use as taking a picture, and is a fun way to learn about your night sky.
Loss of the Night
How many stars can you see where you live? The Loss of the Night App (available for Android devices) challenges citizen scientists to identify as many stars as they can in order to measure light pollution. The app is fun and easy to use, and helps users learn constellations as they contribute to a global real-time map of light pollution.
Stargazing is a fantastic way to engage young scientists, but this ancient past time has become increasingly difficult in growing urban areas. Help scientists understand the effects of light pollution and learn about your night sky!
You don't need to leave the city to take part, in fact, the app is designed specifically for use in very polluted areas.
The more stars you observe, and the more often you run the app, the more precise the data for your location will become. As the seasons change so do the stars in the sky, and since there aren't so many very bright stars it is extremely helpful if urban users do measurements in each season.
iPhone users can contribute their own data via the dark sky meter project: http://www.scistarter.com/project/802-Dark%20Sky%20Meter
Anyone without a phone can take part during some parts of the year via GLOBE at Night: http://www.scistarter.com/project/169-GLOBE%20at%20Night
The Sun Lab
Despite its apparently steady glow, the Sun is a churning mass of superhot plasma that regularly produces powerful flares and storms that can knock out power and communication systems here on Earth. With this Lab explore what makes the Sun so volatile and get access to the same data, images, and tools that scientists use to predict solar storms—so that you can predict them for yourself.