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NASA to Highlight Inclusion During Bayou Classic Event
NASA Logo.NASA NASA is bringing a clear message to the 50th Annual Bayou Classic Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25 – while exploring the universe for the benefit of all, it is equally invested in ensuring the participation of all in the agency and its discovery work.
The commitment will be on full display during NASA’s outreach and engagement activities at the Bayou Classic weekend in New Orleans. “Our message is simple – there’s space for everybody at NASA,” said Pamela Covington, Office of Communications director at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, which is leading the agency’s Bayou Classic planning. “We need everyone involved if we hope to accomplish our shared mission and truly benefit all humanity.”
The annual Bayou Classic event, which features a football game and a spirited Battle of the Bands, typically attracts more than 200,000 students and supporters from two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) – Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana – to New Orleans.
In addition to signage and social media messaging, NASA Stennis representatives will be on hand during Fan Fest activities Nov. 25 to interact and visit with event participants. Alumni and others will staff a NASA booth at Champions Square next to the Caesars Superdome from 9 a.m. CDT to 12 p.m., to talk about their career paths with the agency and to promote current internship and employment opportunities for minority students and others.
The outreach and engagement effort is part of an agencywide commitment to advance equity and reach deeper into underrepresented and underserved segments of society and is in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to advance racial equity in the federal government. NASA’s 2022 Equity Plan outlines the agency’s efforts to increase participation in areas such as procurements and contracts, as well as grants and cooperative agreements. The agency also is working to eliminate visible and invisible barriers to full participation, and to increase NASA outreach to underserved communities. The agency is scheduled to update the plan and its progress by year’s end.
Frontline evidence of the agency’s commitment to inclusion also is seen in its plan to return humans, including the first woman and the first person of color, to the Moon through Artemis missions, powered by NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket. That is just one aspect of the agency’s across-the-board diversity work.
The NASA Minority University Research and Education Project is another example. Through the initiative, NASA provides financial awards to minority-serving institutions, including HBCUs, to assist faculty and students alike in STEM-related research efforts. The initiative also focuses on providing internship opportunities and career paths for minority members.
NASA also has launched a Science Mission Directorate Bridge Program to develop partnerships with underserved institutions such as HBCUs and to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within the agency. The primary focus is to help transition science and engineering students from undergraduate studies into graduate schools and/or employment by NASA or related institutions.
Along the same lines, a new NASA Space Tech Catalyst Prize seeks to recognize individuals and/or organizations that share effective best practices on ways to engage underrepresented and diverse space technology innovators, researchers, technologists, and entrepreneurs. The initiative is built on the premise that diversity leads to greater innovation, research, and mission success.
Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on X, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtags #Artemis, #BayouClassic50, #NASA_HBCUs. Follow and tag these accounts:
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Last Updated Nov 20, 2023 Editor Contact Location Stennis Space Center Related Terms
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8 Min Read Satellite Data Can Help Limit the Dangers of Windblown Dust
Dust storms present a growing threat to the health and safety of U.S. populations. A new model, powered by NASA and NOAA satellite data, provides important early warnings. Credits:
Stock Footage Provided by Pond5/EnglerAerial Interstate 10, an artery that cuts through the rural drylands of southern New Mexico, is one of the country’s deadliest roadways. On one stretch of the highway, just north of a dry lakebed called Lordsburg Playa, fatal collisions occur with such regularity that officials often call it the “dust trap.” It’s a fitting name. Since 1967, at least 55 deaths in the area have been linked to dust storms.
This stretch of Interstate 10 offers a concentrated example of the hazards that dust storms carry. But across the U.S. Great Plains, levels of windblown dust have increased steadily, by about 5% each year between 2000 and 2018, contributing to a decline in air quality and an increase in fatal collisions.
“Dust storms are appearing with greater frequency for reasons that include extended drought conditions and urban sprawl, which disrupt the fragile biotic crust of the desert,” said John Haynes, program manager for NASA’s Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team. As reduced rainfall in arid regions and warmer weather become regular fixtures of the U.S. climate, experts expect the trend to continue.
Dust storms can cause traffic accidents, negatively impact air quality, and even carry pathogens that cause diseases.
/wp-content/plugins/nasa-blocks/assets/images/article-templates/anne-mcclain.jpg john Haynes
Program manager for NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team
On the ground, dust storms form menacing palls that can swallow entire cities whole. From space, dust storms can be observed moving across continents and oceans, revealing their tremendous scale. It’s from this vantage point, high above the clouds, that NASA and NOAA have Earth-observing satellites that help scientists and first responders track windblown dust.
Daniel Tong, professor of atmospheric chemistry and aerosols at George Mason University, working closely with NASA’s Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, leads a NASA-funded effort to improve the country’s dust forecasting capabilities. Tong’s forecasting system relies on an algorithm called FENGSHA, which means “windblown dust” in Mandarin. By plugging real-time satellite data into a complex model of Earth’s atmosphere – one that accounts for site-specific variables like soil type, wind speed, and how Earth’s surface interacts with winds – the system churns out hourly forecasts that can predict dust storms up to three days in advance.
On March 16, 2021, images acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite show large dust plumes sweeping across New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory NASA/NOAA FENGSHA was initially developed using a dust observation method trained by NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites. It’s these “space truths,” as Tong calls them, that make reliable forecasting possible. Comparing the model’s predictions with satellite imagery from real dust storms allows the team to identify shortcomings and improve accuracy. The most recent version of the model includes data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NASA-NOAA Suomi-NPP, NOAA-20, and NOAA-21 satellites, which observe each location on the planet at least twice a day.
Currently, the dust monitoring system is available to all 122 of the National Weather Service’s regional forecasting offices. When a forecast calls for dust, local teams assess each case individually and decide whether to send out alerts. These could involve a warning to transit authorities or weather alerts sent directly to people’s phones.
“Dust storms cause traffic accidents, negatively impact air quality, and even carry pathogens that cause diseases,” Haynes said. “Early warning systems empower individuals to take necessary actions, such as sheltering indoors or clearing roadways until the storm passes.”
The Benefits of Early Warning
On May 1, 2023, high winds in Illinois sent a dark cloud of dust creeping along Interstate 55, the state’s main throughway. Visibility was reduced to zero in a matter of minutes – leaving drivers with little time to react. The resulting collision involved 72 vehicles and killed eight people. Dozens more were hospitalized.
In some hotspots for dust, officials are taking steps to minimize the damage. On Interstate 10 in New Mexico and Arizona, for example, drivers are now met with 100 miles of roadside warning signs that urge them to pull over when dust is detected. But Interstate 55, in Illinois, isn’t a hotspot. No one saw the storm coming. And as dust claims new territory, local ground-based solutions may not provide sufficient coverage.
This is why satellite-based forecasting is essential, said Morgan Gorris, an Earth system scientist and geohealth expert at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “When we see a dust storm developing in radar returns or on dust sensors, people are already on the road, and it’s more difficult to make safety decisions.”
Tong hopes to see forecasts used more frequently in commercial trucking “to prevent delays, traffic jams, and accidents,” he said. Notably, semi-trucks or tractor-trailers are involved in almost all fatal collisions involving dust. By rerouting or delaying truck drivers, the worst accidents could be avoided.
Tong also promotes advanced forecasting as a way to reduce the frequency and intensity of dust storms. Storms like the one in Illinois – which rose from the overworked soil of the surrounding farmland – might be preventable. “If we know that there might be a dust storm tomorrow, farmers might stop tilling their land,” he said.
Most fatal collisions are the result of smaller, quick-forming dust storms. But larger storms carry additional hazards. Billowing plumes of dust lofted from loose soil or desert floors by high-speed winds can reach thousands of feet into the air and travel hundreds of miles, affecting the respiratory health of populations across great distances.
Valley fever —an infectious disease caused by a soil-dwelling fungus endemic to the arid and semi-arid climates of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California — is also a threat. The fungus is harmless in the ground, but airborne spores can lead to infections that are sometimes fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 200,000 infections of Valley fever since 1998. The current infection rate is about 10 times higher than that of the West Nile Virus, a vector-transmitted disease that often receives far more attention.
An Image of Baja, CA, taken from the International Space Station depicts strong winds blowing dust into the Pacific Ocean. Valley fever cases have been discovered off the California coast among populations of bottle-nosed dolphins and other marine mammals, a sign that windblown dust could be carrying the fungus to non-endemic regions of the country. Credit: NASA “The areas where we see dust storms and the areas endemic to Valley fever are both expanding,” said Gorris, who also warns that the expanding reach of dust storms might unearth new airborne diseases. “We don’t yet know what other biology is in the soil that might infect us.”
It’s not just what’s in the soil. Even when traces of chemical or biological toxins are absent, the soil itself can be a significant irritant. “People think that it’s a natural phenomenon carrying natural material, so it’s probably innocuous,” said Thomas E. Gill, professor of Earth and environmental sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso. But that’s not the case. Fine grains of dust can penetrate deep into lung tissue and are linked to an increase in respiratory illness and premature death.
According to a global study conducted by atmospheric scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, 2.89 million premature deaths were connected to PM2.5 in 2019 – and 22% of those deaths were attributed to dust. Most at risk were children and those with pre-existing conditions like asthma.
A New Way to See an Old Problem
In the 1930s, during the Dust Bowl years, severe drought and poor land management sent deadly “black blizzards” sweeping across the landscape. From Texas to Nebraska, wind stripped the soil of vital nutrients, generating massive dust storms that blocked out the Sun for days at a time and reached as far east as New York City – where the sky was dark enough for streetlights to switch on in the middle of the day.
Some scientists claim that the threat of a “dust bowl 2.0” is imminent. Urban sprawl, industrial-scale agriculture, wildfires, drought, and a warming climate can all strip the land of vegetation and remove moisture from the soil. But it can be difficult to draw a hard line from these individual sources to their cumulative effects. “We have to continue developing our understanding of the consequences on our communities and come up with better ways to protect citizens,” Tong said.
The next generation of FENGSHA will soon be integrated into an atmospheric model developed by NASA called the Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport (GOCART). Features of Earth’s surface like rocks, vegetation, and uneven soil all influence how much dust the wind can kick up. As a result, both the amount of dust in the air and the direction that windblown dust travels are often governed by what’s on the ground. GOCART’s ability to model these surface features will improve the accuracy of the forecasting system, said Barry Baker, an atmospheric physicist and lead of chemical modeling for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who led the research to operation transition of FENGSHA for NOAA’s oceanic and atmospheric research team. The ultimate goal, though, he added, is a geostationary satellite. Polar-orbiting satellites pass over each spot of the globe twice a day; a geostationary satellite could hover over the U.S. and monitor dust around the clock, tracking storms as they develop and grow.
Each year, 182 million tons of dust escapes into the atmosphere from the Sahara. This image captured by the VIIRS instrument on the NOAA-20 satellite captures the tremendous scale of African dust. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory. Despite its hazards, windblown dust is a fundamental feature of the atmosphere and a critical ingredient for life on Earth. Dust from the Saharan Desert carries life-sustaining nutrients across the Atlantic Ocean to the Amazon rainforest, roughly 1,600 miles away. It also feeds the vast algal ecosystems that teem near the surface of Earth’s oceans, which in turn support a diverse menagerie of marine life. Even if we could rid the planet of dust, we would not want to.
“There’s no way to contain the situation; you can’t just eliminate the desert,” Tong said. “But what we can do is increase awareness and try to help those who are impacted most.”
Last Updated Nov 15, 2023 Related Terms
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From interviews with astronauts and engineers to stories that take you on a tour of the galaxy, NASA’s podcasts let you experience the thrill of space exploration without ever leaving Earth.NASA NASA released its collection of original podcasts on Spotify Tuesday, giving more people access to in-depth conversations, stories, and Spanish-language content, as the agency works to explore the unknown in air and space.
The agency’s podcasts are available ad-free, and without cost, to Spotify’s audience of 574 million users.
“Telling the story of NASA’s goals and missions inspires the world to dream big and reach for the stars, especially members of the Artemis Generation. We’re excited to expand our reach, bringing NASA podcasts to Spotify for the first time,” said Marc Etkind, associate administrator, Office of Communications at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington.
NASA now offers five podcasts on Spotify, including:
NASA’s Curious Universe Our universe is a wild and wonderful place. Join NASA astronauts, scientists, and engineers on a new adventure each episode — all you need is your curiosity! First time space explorers welcome. Houston We Have a Podcast From Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars, explore the world of human spaceflight with NASA each week on the official podcast of the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. On a Mission A journey to the stars doesn’t just begin at the launchpad. Discover new worlds through epic stories told by scientists on missions to outer space. Small Steps Giant Leaps NASA’s technical workforce put boots on the Moon, tire tracks on Mars, and the first reusable spacecraft in orbit around the Earth. Learn what’s next as they build missions that redefine the future with amazing discoveries and remarkable innovations. Universo curioso de la NASA Bienvenidos a Universo curioso de la NASA, en donde te invitamos a explorar el cosmos en tu idioma. En este pódcast, ¡la NASA es tu guía turística a las estrellas! In the coming months, NASA plans to offer more audio-first products on Spotify, including sonifications that translate data into sound and recordings from our solar system and beyond.
“Through our podcasts, we share science and space storytelling in a way that only NASA can, leveraging the agency’s unique access to expert interviewees, dynamic locations, and mind-blowing discoveries,” said Katie Konans, audio program lead, ADNET Systems’ SESDA contract with NASA. “We are thrilled to bring NASA’s slate to Spotify, and we’re looking forward to connecting with more listeners who are curious about the universe around them.”
In addition to Spotify, users may find NASA podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Soundcloud.
From long-form interviews with NASA astronauts and engineers to stories that take audiences on a tour of the galaxy, NASA’s audio offerings let anyone experience the thrill of space exploration without leaving Earth.
Discover all of NASA’s podcasts at:
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Last Updated Nov 14, 2023 Location NASA Headquarters Related Terms
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The SpaceX-29 commercial resupply spacecraft will deliver numerous physical sciences and space biology experiments, along with other cargo, to the International Space Station. The research aboard this resupply services mission will help researchers learn how humans, and the plants needed to sustain them, can thrive in deep space.
The biological and physical sciences investigations headed to the Space Station are:
Plant Water Management-5 and 6 (PWM-5 and 6)
NASA has grown plants on the Space Station even without the help of gravity. But microgravity does present challenges and affects Space Station plants’ ability to receive adequate hydration and nutrition. The Plant Water Management-5 and 6 (PWM-5 and 6) investigation uses the physical properties of fluids, such as surface tension and wetting, as a mechanism to provide hydration and aeration for plants. Results could advance understanding of the physical aspects of fluid flow and inform designs of fluid delivery systems for reduced gravity environments.
Plant Water Management (PWM) Harness and Soil Test Article. NASA Plant Habitat-06 (PH-06)
Plant Habitat-06 investigates whether the spaceflight environment affects the ability of tomato plants to defend themselves against disease-causing microorganisms. The study will investigate whether a hormone called salicylic acid is involved in processes that regulate plant immune system function in microgravity. Results could support the development of strategies to minimize crop loss and low produce quality in future space agricultural settings caused by harmful microbes.
Rodent Research-20 (RR-20)
Extended missions to the Moon and Mars require a critical understanding on the impact of spaceflight to reproductive health for female astronauts. Throughout the course of three shuttle missions, alterations in ovarian function were detected in female mice that could potentially lead to fertility issues. This latest mission to the International Space Station (RR-20) will further probe whether space-flown female mice have temporary or permanent alterations to their reproductive capability and whether dysfunctional hormone signaling is linked with bone loss.
Bacterial Adhesion and Corrosion (BAC)
Polymicrobial Biofilm Growth and Control during Spaceflight, Bacterial Adhesion and Corrosion (BAC) is a joint space biology and physical sciences payload that explores conditions of multi-species biofilms in microgravity. Microorganisms in biofilms can become resistant to traditional cleaning chemicals, leading to contamination of water treatment systems and potential health risks to astronauts. This investigation identifies bacterial genes used during biofilm growth and examines whether these biofilms can corrode stainless steel, in addition to evaluating the effectiveness of silver-based disinfectants.
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Submit Your 2024 Event Proposal to NASA Glenn
Lilia Miller and Molly Kearns, employees from NASA’s Glenn Research Center, discuss communication in space as they build paper satellites with students during a STEM event at Rocket Mortgage Field House in Cleveland, Ohio.NASA/GRC/Jef Janis Solicitation posted: Oct. 26, 2023
Proposal form URL: https://osirris.grc.nasa.gov/request/request.cfm
Proposal submission deadline: Nov. 24, 2023
Notification of event selection: Dec. 15, 2023
2024 Call for Event Proposals
NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is seeking to collaborate with organizations across the country to bring the NASA experience to new, diverse audiences.
This opportunity is designed to provide organizations with:
Interactive NASA exhibits and historical artifacts to showcase NASA’s missions and research. Access to NASA subject matter experts for interactive speaking engagements. The center is requesting event proposals to:
Reach larger audiences by leveraging the experiences of community organizations with existing high-quality events. Strengthen community relationships by collaborating on efforts that result in increased returns on mutually desired outcomes. Raise awareness of NASA’s contributions to the nation’s aeronautics and space programs. NASA’s Glenn Research Center
NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland designs, develops, and tests innovative technology to revolutionize air travel, advance space exploration, and improve life on Earth. As one of 10 NASA centers, and the only one in the Midwest, Glenn is a vital contributor to the region’s economy and culture. Many NASA missions have Glenn contributions, and every U.S. aircraft has NASA Glenn technology on board, making flight cleaner, safer, and quieter.
Glenn is conducting revolutionary aeronautics research in electrified aircraft propulsion, advanced materials, and alternative fuels to help the nation achieve its climate change goals. The center is also exploring next-generation supersonic and hypersonic aircraft.
In addition to its aeronautics research, NASA Glenn’s world-class test facilities and unrivaled expertise in power, propulsion, and communications are crucial to advancing the Artemis program. Glenn’s solar electric propulsion will help propel future missions to the Moon and eventually Mars, where astronauts will conduct scientific research and establish a presence on the surface. The road to the Moon goes through Ohio.
Air-Breathing Propulsion (Jet Engines) Communications In-Space Propulsion and Cryogenic Fluids Management Power, Energy Storage, and Conversion Materials and Structures for Extreme Environments Physical Sciences and Biomedical Technologies in Space Eligibility Requirements
NASA is seeking:
Organizations with established events that have direct connections to their communities and reach diverse audiences.
Greater consideration will be given to organizations reaching underserved and/or underrepresented communities. For purposes of this solicitation, underserved and/or underrepresented communities include Black, Latino, Indigenous, and Native American persons; Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality (source: NASA’s Mission Equity). Greater consideration may also be given to organizations throughout the Great Lakes Region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) based on factors such as schedule and budget availability. Events scheduled to occur between Jan. 1, 2024, and Dec. 31, 2024. Selected organizations must agree to the following:
Attend mutually agreed-upon planning meetings held virtually through an online business communication platform. Be responsible for coordinating all marketing, media communications, and logistics as described in the event proposal. Adhere to NASA Media Usage Guidelines for NASA media and logos. Provide final attendance data within one week of the conclusion of the event including the following: Number of attendees Estimated percentage of attendees from underrepresented audiences Submitting a Proposal
All proposals are to be submitted through the online proposal form here. Proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. Eastern time on Nov. 24, 2023. Only proposals submitted online will be accepted.
Proposal Review Process
Proposals will be evaluated to determine the likelihood of event success using the following criteria:
Number of proposed audience participants. Percentage of audience from underrepresented populations as defined in the solicitation. Alignment of the program’s goals and objectives to those of this opportunity. Expected return on investment of NASA resources. Plans to maximize audience participation through marketing and media communications. Evidence of historical attendance at this or similar events hosted by the proposing organization. Proposing organizations will be notified of their selection status by Dec. 15, 2022.
Point of Contact
If you have questions about the project or the online proposal form, contact NASA Glenn Research Center’s Office of Communications at: GRC-Public-Engagement@mail.nasa.gov
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