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The NASA Space Tech Catalyst Prize will recognize U.S. individuals and/or organizations that share effective best practices for how they support underrepresented and diverse space technology innovators, researchers, technologists, and entrepreneurs. The prize competition’s primary goals are: (1) Showcase effective strategies and approaches for developing the capacity and skill sets of these groups, enhancing their ability to succeed, (2) Expand the outreach and engagement efforts of the NASA ESIP portfolio, ensuring a diverse and inclusive pool of applicants for future funding opportunities, and (3) Recognize the efforts of those who support and nurture underrepresented and diverse individuals and organizations in the space technology sector.
Award: $500,000 in total prizes
Open Date: September 29, 2023
Close Date: February 22, 2024
For more information, visit: https://www.spacetechcatalystprize.org/
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3 min read
NASA Prize Targets Inclusive Community Building for Tech Development
Howard University student Miles Phillips gives NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins a demonstration of his work with lasers during a tour of the Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory at Howard University, Friday, March 31, 2023, in Washington.NASA/Aubrey Gemignani Revolutionary space technology research and development relies on novel ideas across America. To that end, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is rolling out an innovative engagement strategy to help enhance outreach efforts, reduce barriers to entry, and attract high-quality proposals from a diverse pool of researchers.
A new NASA Space Tech Catalyst Prize sets out to expand the agency’s network of proposers and foster effective engagement approaches within NASA’s Early-Stage Innovations and Partnerships (ESIP) portfolio. Through this prize, NASA will recognize U.S. individuals and/or organizations that share effective best practices on approaches and methods for how they successfully engage underrepresented and diverse space technology innovators, researchers, technologists, and entrepreneurs.
“Diversity leads to greater innovation in space technology, better research, deeper discoveries, and achievements in human spaceflight,” said Shahra Lambert, senior advisor for engagement and equity at NASA. “We won’t discover new possibilities alone – it will take the best of all of us to get us there. When we enable more people to participate, we provide space for all possible talent, perspectives, and innovations. This empowers NASA to achieve the greatest success in discovering and expanding knowledge for the benefit of all humanity.”
Numerous individuals and/or teams will each be awarded $25,000, and the cohort of winners will be invited to an in-person event at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. During the event, NASA aims to learn industry best practices for engaging and building a diverse community of space technology research and development professionals to inform future NASA plans and grow partnership potential.
Applicants may include teachers, mentors, and other individuals. Universities, non-profits, businesses, and other organizations are also encouraged to apply. Interested and eligible individuals and organizations should register and fill out the submission form on the competition website, provide references, and submit a short video. Applicants will be asked to describe the groups they currently engage with, what barriers their engagement approaches have addressed, an explanation of how NASA investment will further their work, and more.
“We want to create a network of NASA space technology champions that bring our funding opportunities to their communities and new ideas to NASA,” said Jenn Gustetic, the Early-Stage Innovation and Partnerships director in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “The agency can learn a lot from individuals and organizations already doing successful outreach to and engagement with underrepresented groups to inform our future engagement and capacity building efforts to researchers and businesses that haven’t worked with NASA ESIP.”
Interested applicants should register online by Feb. 8, 2024. Applications must be completed and submitted by Feb. 22, 2024.
For more information about the NASA Space Tech Catalyst Prize and details on eligibility criteria and how to participate, visit:
The Space Technology Mission Directorate and ESIP annually invests in more than 700 early-stage projects and activities through six programs.
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Living on the Edge: Supernova Bubble Expands in New Hubble Time-Lapse Movie
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, ESA, Ravi Sankrit (STScI) Though a doomed star exploded some 20,000 years ago, its tattered remnants continue racing into space at breakneck speeds – and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has caught the action.
The nebula, called the Cygnus Loop, forms a bubble-like shape that is about 120 light-years in diameter. The distance to its center is approximately 2,600 light-years. The entire nebula has a width of six full Moons as seen on the sky.
Astronomers used Hubble to zoom into a very small slice of the leading edge of this expanding supernova bubble, where the supernova blast wave plows into surrounding material in space. Hubble images taken from 2001 to 2020 clearly demonstrate how the remnant’s shock front has expanded over time, and they used the crisp images to clock its speed.
By analyzing the shock’s location, astronomers found that the shock hasn’t slowed down at all in the last 20 years, and is speeding into interstellar space at over half a million miles per hour – fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in less than half an hour. While this seems incredibly fast, it’s actually on the slow end for the speed of a supernova shock wave. Researchers were able to assemble a “movie” from Hubble images for a close-up look at how the tattered star is slamming into interstellar space.
“Hubble is the only way that we can actually watch what’s happening at the edge of the bubble with such clarity,” said Ravi Sankrit, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “The Hubble images are spectacular when you look at them in detail. They’re telling us about the density differences encountered by the supernova shocks as they propagate through space, and the turbulence in the regions behind these shocks.”
A very close-up look at a nearly two-light-year-long section of the filaments of glowing hydrogen and ionized oxygen shows that they look like a wrinkled sheet seen from the side. “You’re seeing ripples in the sheet that is being seen edge-on, so it looks like twisted ribbons of light,” said William Blair of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. “Those wiggles arise as the shock wave encounters more or less dense material in the interstellar medium.” The time-lapse movie over nearly two decades shows the filaments moving against the background stars but keeping their shape.
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Video Credit: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, ESA, STScI; Acknowledgment:
NSF's NOIRLab, Akira Fujii , Jeff Hester , Davide De Martin , Travis A. Rector , Ravi Sankrit (STScI), DSS “When we pointed Hubble at the Cygnus Loop we knew that this was the leading edge of a shock front, which we wanted to study. When we got the initial picture and saw this incredible, delicate ribbon of light, well, that was a bonus. We didn’t know it was going to resolve that kind of structure,” said Blair.
Blair explained that the shock is moving outward from the explosion site and then it starts to encounter the interstellar medium, the tenuous regions of gas and dust in interstellar space. This is a very transitory phase in the expansion of the supernova bubble where invisible neutral hydrogen is heated to one million degrees Fahrenheit or more by the shock wave’s passage. The gas then begins to glow as electrons are excited to higher energy states and emit photons as they cascade back to low energy states. Further behind the shock front, ionized oxygen atoms begin to cool, emitting a characteristic glow shown in blue.
The Cygnus Loop was discovered in 1784 by William Herschel, using a simple 18-inch reflecting telescope. He could have never imagined that a little over two centuries later we’d have a telescope powerful enough to zoom in on a very tiny slice of the nebula for this spectacular view.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.
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Video Credits: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, ESA, STScI; Acknowledgment:
NSF's NOIRLab, Akira Fujii , Jeff Hester , Davide De Martin , Travis A. Rector , Ravi Sankrit (STScI), DSS Share
Last Updated Sep 29, 2023 Editor Andrea Gianopoulos Contact Related Terms
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