Wednesday January 29, 2020
Home Lead Story Student Proje...

Student Project into Space, NASA Comes Up With Chicago Planetarium

As the NASA-owned, Northrop Grumann-developed Antares rocket successfully blasted off from the coast of Virginia on April 17, it wasn’t just making a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

0
//
Earth
“Our main goal was to see if the ozone layer is getting thinner and by how much, and if there is different parts of the Earth’s atmosphere getting thinner because of the pollution and greenhouse gases, Pixabay

 

College student Fatima Guerra, 19, will be the first to admit, she’s into some really nerdy stuff.

“Like, up there nerdy.”

“Way up there nerdy,” she says. “All the way up into space.”

Guerra is an astronomer in training, involved since a high school internship with a small project at the Adler Planetarium, with big goals.

“Our main goal was to see if the ozone layer is getting thinner and by how much, and if there is different parts of the Earth’s atmosphere getting thinner because of the pollution and greenhouse gases,” she told VOA from the laboratory at the Adler where she often works.

FILE - Apollo 13 crew members Commander Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., right, and Lunar Module Pilot Fred W. Haise pose for a photo during a 40th Anniversary reunion of the moon mission at the Adler Planetarium, April 12, 2010, in Chicago.
Apollo 13 crew members Commander Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., right, and Lunar Module Pilot Fred W. Haise pose for a photo during a 40th Anniversary reunion of the moon mission at the Adler Planetarium, April 12, 2010, in Chicago. VOA

Coding ThinSat

Data that sheds light on those circumstances is gathered by a small electronic device called “ThinSat” designed to orbit the Earth. It is developed not by high-paid engineers and software programmers, but by Chicago-area students like Guerra.

“We focused on coding the different parts of the sensors that the ThinSat is composed of. So, we coded so that it can measure light intensity, pressure.”

“This stuff is very nerdy,” Jesus Garcia admits with a chuckle.

“What we hope to accomplish is look at Earth from space as if it was the very first exoplanet that we have. So, imagine that we are looking at the very first images from a very distant planet.”

As a systems engineer, Garcia oversees the work of the students developing ThinSat for the Adler’s Far Horizon’s Project, which he outlines “bring all types of students, volunteers and our staff to develop projects, engineering projects, that allow us to answer scientific questions.”

Garcia says the students he works with on the project cross national, racial and cultural divides to work toward a common goal.

“Here at the Adler, we have students who are minorities who have been faced with challenges of not having opportunities presented to them,” he said. “And here we are presenting a mission where they are collaborating with us scientists and engineers on our first mission that is going into space.”

Rocket carries project into space

As the NASA-owned, Northrop Grumann-developed Antares rocket successfully blasted off from the coast of Virginia on April 17, it wasn’t just making a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

On board was ThinSat, the culmination of work by many at the Adler, including Guerra, who joined the Far Horizons team as a high school requirement that ended up becoming much more.

“A requirement can become a life-changing opportunity, and you don’t even know it,” she told VOA. “It’s really exciting to see, or to know, especially, that my work is going to go up into space and help in the scientific world.”

Daughter of immigrants

It is also exciting for her parents, immigrants from Guatemala, who can boast that their daughter is one of the few who can claim to have built a satellite orbiting the Earth.

“I told them it might become a worldwide type of news, and I’m going to be a part of it. And they were really proud. And they were calling my family over there and saying, ‘She might be on TV.’ And it’s something they really feel a part of me about,” Guerra said.

Also Read: ‘Big Steps To Reduce Carbon Emission’ Apple Expects Cooperation With China on Clean Energy

Long after the data compiled by ThinSat is complete, Guerro will still have a place in history as a member of a team that put the first satellite developed by a private planetarium into space.

She says her friends don’t think that’s nerdy at all.

“It’s cool, because it’s interesting to see that something so nerdy is actually going to work, and is going to go up into something so important,” she said. (VOA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Story

27% Increase in STEM Students Opting For Non-Technical Trainings, Digital Marketing Tops The List

Other popular non-technical trainings include business communication skills training with 17% enrollment, advance excel with 14%, beginner's trading certification training with 9%, and creative writing training with 7% enrollments

0
Students
Out of all the trainings, digital marketing has been the most popular training among STEM students with 46% of the total students enrolled in the same. Pixabay

Students majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) are always considered as smart decision-makers and are congratulated for choosing a lucrative career path in our society. However, in the past few years, the number of STEM majors ending up finding satisfaction in non-technical jobs has grown immensely. 

Lack of knowledge and interest, lack of job opportunities, lack of available alternatives to polish the domain skills needed for technical jobs, are few reasons why students’ interest has been shifting towards learning managerial and creative skills and finding a non-technical, non-operational job. As per Internshala’s latest report, there has been a 27% increase in the number of STEM students opting for non-technical online trainings since 2018. 

Which training attracts STEM students the most?

Out of all the trainings, digital marketing has been the most popular training among STEM students with 46% of the total students enrolled in the same. As the supply of engineering students is much higher than their demand, it becomes extremely difficult for them to find a suitable job. As a result, students find their comfort in digital marketing training as there are endless opportunities for them in this field. 

Digital marketers are expected to have job-specific skills like analytical rigour, strategy making, problem-solving, and technological competency. Engineering graduates during their coursework acquire all of these skills and with their strong technical and mathematical skills, they produce exceptional results while working as digital marketers. Earlier, digital marketers were expected to plan and execute creative campaigns, but today in addition to creativity, professionals need to be data-driven too. After completing an online digital marketing training, STEM students get to work in lucrative job roles including content managers & strategists, virtual reality developers and editors, SEO/SEM specialists, email marketing specialist, analysts & AI specialists, and digital marketing managers & directors.

Other popular non-technical trainings include business communication skills training with 17% enrollment, advance excel with 14%, beginner’s trading certification training with 9%, and creative writing training with 7% enrollments.

What are the major learning objectives of these students?

45% of students from STEM are enrolled in non-technical online training to gain a new skill. 35% take online training to land a job or internship in future, 12% of the students wanted to be certified in a new skill to add weight to their resumes, 7% were interested to build their own project, and only 1% students took an online training to fulfil their college requirements. While the students gain an understanding of theoretical concepts in their colleges, they tend to acquire practical knowledge of other fields through affordable and accessible online trainings. This allows them to upskill and continue self-paced learning without disturbing their regular schedule. 

Students
Students majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) are always considered as smart decision-makers and are congratulated for choosing a lucrative career path in our society.

Which streams do these students belong to?

The majority of students who pursue non-tech skills are from an engineering background and they make up to 74% of total enrollments. This set is followed by students from Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) (Hons.), and other technical streams. 

An interesting pattern that emerged in both 3-year courses like B.Sc and 4-year courses like engineering is that the majority of enrollments are from students in their pre-final and final year. This clearly explains how students tend to pursue their curriculum in their first year of college and eventually explore options to gain practical skills from their 2nd year in college onwards.

ALSO READ: Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

Online trainings have been providing interesting opportunities to various students from every corner of the world, belonging to any stream, to learn new skills at the comfort of their home. Through such unique, short-termed, and practically driven online training, students no longer have to study and work in a field against their interest as they can explore their passion and can opt for interesting job roles without enrolling in a full-time course for the same. 

Courtesy: Internshala Trainings (training.internshala.com) – e-learning platform to learn new-age skills from Internshala.