Local STAR (Space Transdisciplinary Academic Research) Gazette

The Local STAR (Space Transdisciplinary Academic Research) Gazette is here!

Happy October Everyone!
The Boston Space Consortium Fall 2023 Newsletter and its 1st Local STAR Gazette are here!

Dear Space Enthusiasts,

Welcome to this first Space Consortium Newsletter of the academic year 2023/2024! We have a lot to share with you, so let’s jump straight into it!

Firstly, welcome to all our new members!
To those who may be new to our community, and are wondering “What is the Space Consortium?”, here is a quick recap: 
The 501(c)3 non-profit The Space Consortium was founded in 2018 when a group of space faculty from Harvard & MIT got together to work on ways to connect the various space research groups and initiatives on both campuses. That series of meetings led to the organization of “Space Night at Harvard”, an event dedicated to showcasing these research groups as well as the great variety of space student organizations in Cambridge, to colleagues, students and the public. The following year, this effort grew into a week-long series of space events open to all, organized during the week of April 22nd (Earth Day) called “Space Week at Harvard” & “The Space Film Festival”. These events then grew into “Boston Space Week” and its sister event “The Boston Space Film Festival” in 2023, with events held on four different campuses (Harvard, MIT, Boston College and Tufts University). 
In short, the Space Consortium is a Massachusetts-based community and coordination initiative open to all, which aims to bring together space academics, students, professionals and local space enthusiasts. Our common goal is to connect, network and share resources with each other and with the public, notably through public outreach efforts.

All are welcome in the Consortium. If you would like to join the Consortium executive team, our space academic team or our incredible group of volunteers, feel free to email contact@spaceconsortium.com, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

What does the Space Consortium do?

It catalogs:
1) Local academic (= university-affiliated) space research projects & initiatives
2) Space-related public events: To receive information on local space events, join our new Google group HERE and our local space events joint calendar HERE
3) Contact information of local space student organizations HERE
4) Local space courses HERE
5) Local academic space faculty & researchers (HERE & In Progress). The Consortium is currently building a catalog of local space faculty & researchers (including a summary of their area of expertise and – when provided – their contact information). If you are looking for a specific space research expert in MA to come speak to your community, or are yourself a local space research expert and would like to be listed on our academic space faculty & researchers page, please email us at contact@spaceconsortium.com
6) Free-to-access space research articles (In Progress). The Consortium is currently building a catalog of free space research articles and other resources generously provided by our academic members and soon to be available on https://spaceconsortium.com/resources

It organizes & coordinates:
1) Local recruiting & networking events (such as the Consortium’s Fall & SpringSpace Career FairsInterfaculty Space Dinners and the Space Holiday Party!)
2) Large-scale public outreach events, such as Boston Space Week and the Boston Space Film Festival
3) Get-togethers for its local academic members and space student organization leaders

All Space Events are meant to be accessible to all, certain events will have a price tag notably movie tickets to the Space Film Festival. However, all individuals on financial aid can request free access to Consortium events by emailing us at: contact@spaceconsortium.com, including future subscription plans to the Local STAR Gazette.

It relays:
Information on local space events, new space courses, new space initiatives, local space grants & research opportunities.
To receive them, feel free to join our Google group HERE. If you are organizing an event and would like to see it shared with our Google group, via our seasonal newsletter or monthly Local STAR gazette, please send your event information to: input@spaceconsortium.com and (whenever possible) fill out the following local space event google form.

It launches this year:
1) The Local STAR (Space Transdisciplinary Academic Research) Gazette
2) A newgraduateSpace Law, Policy and Ethics (SLPE) online course (see interest form here)
3) A newSpace Ethics Workshop for its Academic Members
4) A new Fall Space Career Fair
5) New upcoming Boston Space Week 2024 events & activities thanks to the precious support of the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium!

Also, for our alumni, we would love to organize get-togethers for all of you in the near future and are looking for your up-to-date contact information.
Please reach out to us at contact@spaceconsortium.com to let us know about your latest news (personal or professional) and to provide us with the best email to keep in touch with you and phone number, so that we could add you to our new Space Consortium Alumni WhatsApp Group!

Our New Local STAR Gazette is here!

This monthly gazette aims to recap all space-related news and events in the Cambridge and Boston area.
Have events or major space news coming up, and you would like to see them featured in next month’s gazette? Feel free to fill out this event form and/or to send your information for publication to input@spaceconsortium.com.

To our dear readers, please fill out this interest form if you would be interested in receiving the November Local STAR Gazette. We will be experimenting with the Gazette for the next two months, with the 1st gazette being freely available on our website and sent alongside our consortium newsletter this month, then sent for free next month to all who filled out the interest form. Then, if enough readers are interested in it, the Gazette will be made available through a monthly subscription via our website starting in December.

July 19th 2023

This past July, UML has been granted an allocation of nearly $5.5 million by the state of Massachussetts and the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. This funding is designated for the creation of a pioneering hub at the university, which will serve as a comprehensive support system for researchers and businesses engaged in the design, construction, and testing of small satellites and spacecraft components.

For more information: https://www.uml.edu/news/stories/2023/chakrabarti-masts-project.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2uQ8G7i5iFvXum0lTA_Ysf8armhEQ4ocWomrxAdWN71Ux-kd3AkhNM5OA

August 10th 2023

Heartbeat stars” refer to binary star systems with closely positioned stars that exhibit periodic fluctuations in brightness, akin to the rhythmic pattern observed on an EKG machine during a heartbeat.
Morgan MacLeod is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Theoretical Astrophysics at the CfA | Harvard & Smithsonian and author of a new study published in Nature Astronomy reporting the findings.
Researchers found the MACHO 80.7443.1718 star system particularly fascinating due to its status as the most pronounced “heartbeat star” ever recorded. Recent models have unveiled that colossal tidal waves are consistently crashing onto one of the stars within this system.

For more information: https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/stellar-surfs-monster-waves-tall-three-suns-are-crashing-upon-colossal-star

August 14th 2023

In mid-June, about 150 astronomers gathered at MIT for the JWST “First Light” conference funded by Christina Eilers, an assistant professor at MIT.
Among the numerous presentations, a particular collection of mysterious entities caught the attention of the gathered researchers. Referred to by some astronomers as “hidden little monsters” and by others as “little red dots“, their identity aside, the data unequivocally revealed an intriguing phenomenon: when the JWST observes young galaxies, which appear as faint red specks in the vast darkness of space, it unveils an unexpectedly high occurrence of cyclones swirling within their cores.

For more information: https://www.quantamagazine.org/jwst-spots-giant-black-holes-all-over-the-early-universe-20230814/

August 15th 2023

Woody Hoburg (Class of ’08), an alum of MIT, has been on the International Space Station (ISS) since March of this year. Amidst his responsibilities on the ISS, which include spacewalks, scientific research, and technical duties, he has actively maintained connections with his alma mater and confirms that the MIT dome is visible from LEO.

For more information: https://aeroastro.mit.edu/news-impact/can-confirm-the-dome-is-visible-from-leo/

August 24th 2023

TEMPO represents the first-ever space-based probe designed to provide hourly measurements of air pollution at a neighborhood scale over North America.
Scientists at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) conceived the TEMPO concept and undertook the development of ground system hardware and software. This included the creation of the Instrument Operation Center and Science Data Processing Center, both situated at the CfA. These centers are responsible for commanding the instrument, receiving its raw scientific data, and processing it. Following the initial processing, the data will be posted to NASA’s Atmospheric Science Data Center in Hampton, Virginia, where it will be accessible to both scientists and the general public.

For more information: https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/tempo-instrument-captures-its-first-images-air-pollution-over-greater-north-america

August 29th 2023

Over the past five years, the X-ray Microcalorimeter Group at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), the Advanced Imager Technology Group at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL), and the Quantum Sensors Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado have been collaborating on the development of a groundbreaking category of X-ray detectors, featuring unparalleled energy resolution. This new category of X-ray detectors has the potential to revolutionize our comprehension of the cosmos by granting us unmatched insight into the concealed aspects of the universe.

For more information: https://science.nasa.gov/technology/technology-highlights/new-x-ray-detectors-to-provide-unprecedented-vision-of-the-invisible-universe

September 6th 2023

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), part of the CfA | Harvard & Smithsonian, has chosen a contractor to oversee the design, development, and construction of antennas for the Next Generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT). On August 10, 2023, CfA officials finalized an agreement with mtex technology GmbH, based in Germany, for this project.

For more information: https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/cfa-selects-contractor-next-generation-event-horizon-telescope-antennas

September 7th 2023

Microbial or fungal biofilms that develop on spacecrafts can potentially obstruct hoses and filters, as well as pose health risks to astronauts. Tests conducted on the Space Station have indicated that a surface treatment can be effective in addressing this issue.
The findings are described in a paper in the journal Nature Microgravity, by Samantha McBride PhD ’20 and Kripa Varanasi of MIT, Pamela Flores and Luis Zea at the University of Colorado, and Jonathan Galakza at NASA Ames Research Center.

For more information: https://news.mit.edu/2023/preventing-biofilms-space-0907

September 14th 2023

For the 16th and final time aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover, MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) managed to create oxygen on the surface of the red planet. For its MIT creators, MOXIE has been proven to be even more successful than expected.

For more information: https://aeroastro.mit.edu/news-impact/oxygen-generating-experiment-moxie-completes-mars-mission/

September 25th 2023

MIT Professor Richard Binzel explained how the collection of asteroid particles delivered by OSIRIS-REx, could provide valuable insights into the origins of the solar system.
The sample return capsule from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, bearing the marks of its journey through Earth’s atmosphere, made a secure parachute landing in the Utah desert on Sunday, September 24, 2023. Enclosed within the capsule is approximately 250 grams of regolith, or soil, harvested from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. The sample’s content could give clues to the first materials that shaped the early solar system.

For more information: https://aeroastro.mit.edu/news-impact/3-questions-the-first-asteroid-sample-returned-to-earth/

Source: AJH

August 24th 2023

The Harvard-Smithsonian CfA is currently hosting an exhibition that honors the outstanding women scientists in the field of space research. This exhibition brings to light the remarkable contributions of women who, despite their significant achievements, were often overshadowed by their male colleagues. Come explore the stories of these trailblazing women who have left an indelible mark on astrophysics.

This exhibition will be on view from August 24–October 22, 2023 on the following days (timed entry every 30 minutes):

  • Thursdays: 4pm-8pm
  • Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays: 1pm-5pm

For more information: https://community.harvard.edu/event/her-luminous-distance-legacies-women-astronomical-computers-harvard

To book a ticket: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/her-luminous-distance-legacies-of-women-astronomical-computers-at-harvard-registration-694162929007

Source: AJH

September 8th 2023 & September 10th 2023

At the Harvard College Activity Fair and the Harvard Law School Activity Fair, students had a chance to meet with several space student organization leaders such as STAHR, HURC, SEDS and the Harvard Space Law Society (HSLS).
For more information about these dynamic organizations, visit https://spaceconsortium.com/student-organizations/ or feel free to contact us at contact@spaceconsortium.com.

Source: AJH

September 12th 2023

For its fourth consecutive year, the Consortium hosted a “Harvard and MIT Space Student Organization Leaders Fall Kickoff Meeting” at the Harvard Science Center this past September. The goal was to discuss cooperation and collaboration efforts among the groups and their involvement in the Boston Space Week 2024 programming. If your space student organization missed this meeting, feel free to reach out to us at contact@spaceconsortium.com

On the picture from left to right: Benson Beidler (HSLS), Cameron Field (MIT Sloan SIC), Nikita Nair (Harvard Astrobiology), Rebecca Conn (MIT Press), Casey Murray (Harvard STAHR), Qijia Zhou & Emma Weller (astro concentrators), Alissa J. Haddaji (Space Consortium) and Tim Dahms (HSLS).

September 25th 2023

The first meeting of the new CfA Space Policy Working Group (SPWG) was held on Monday, September 25th, 2023 at the Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street in Cambridge, MA. The primary goal of the SPWG is to serve as a focal point and driving force for data-driven space policy analysis. The group will be meeting every two weeks. Their next meeting is scheduled to be held on Monday, October 16th, 2023.
For more information about the group, feel free to reach out to :
Martin Elvis, SPWG PI: melvis@cfa.harvard.edu
Alissa J. Haddaji, SPWG Coordinator: alissa.haddaji@spaceconsortium.com.

September 25th 2023 – October 1st 2023

Founded and produced by the MIT Museum, the Cambridge Science Festival took place from September 25th to October 1st 2023.
For more information and a recap of the week’s activities, please visit: https://cambridgesciencefestival.org/the-festival/

October 4th 2023

MIT Sloan Space Industry Club, and the Harvard Business School Aerospace and Defense Club organized an evening mixer in Cambridge, sponsored by Point72 Ventures and Snowpoint Ventures.

It took place on Wednesday, October 4th2023, 4:30-6:30pm, Brewing Company, Cambridge

If you missed this event, MIT Sloan Space Industry Club and the Harvard Business School Aerospace and Defense Club will organize a new one on Thursday,October 19th. Event details will be shared on the Space Consortium Local Space Events Google Calendar.

For more information about these mixers, please reach out to Cameron Field at cfield06@mit.edu

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of GPS, Harvard Kennedy School Moonshot Space PIC organize an event, in partnership with NASA and Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. 

The event will take place on Wednesday, October 11th at 5:45 PM at the Malkin Penthouse, HKS.

The theme will be: “Designing GPS: 50 Years of a Global Public Service” and will feature two speakers:
– Dr. Brad Parkinson – Inventor of GPS, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University
– Dr. Scott Pace – Director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington Elliott School

The RSVP link is: https://engage.hks.harvard.edu/event/9474000.

For non-Harvard students, you may use this link to pre-register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScNfgA0cTmUiF5AWrCzreI-rGShE_QAufIf6Qd3PajDiWPt5g/viewform

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Moonshot Space PIC via email at hksmoonshotspacepic@gmail.com.

MIT AeroAstro will host this year’s Future Leaders in Aerospace Symposium on Wednesday, October 11th – Friday, October 13th, 2023.

For more information: https://aeroastro.mit.edu/news-impact/announcing-future-leaders-in-aerospace-2023/

Shohini Ghose, author of the forthcoming MIT Press book Her Space, Her Time: How Trailblazing Women Scientists Decoded the Hidden Universe will be a presenter at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 14, 2023. This is a free public event held in Copley Square.  
Boston Book Festival Presenter Link: https://bostonbookfest.org/presenters/

Book Link: https://mitpress.mit.edu/search-result-list/?keyword=her+space+her+time

MIT Press Bookstore will be on site selling books, including Her Space, Her Time.

The MIT Museum will showcase three movies selected from the Woods Hole Film Festival. Shown on their big screen, the series will explore a range of science-based topics.
The series will start on Tuesday, October 17th, 2023 from 6pm to 8pm with “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project“.
$15 General Public
$5 for MIT ID holders
Seating is limited. Pre-registration strongly suggested.

MIT Museum Event website page: https://mitmuseum.mit.edu/programs/selections-from-the-woods-hole-film-festival
Buy tickets: https://tickets.mitmuseum.org/events/018a9e56-f14e-78eb-eff1-4771429c32cc

The Space Consortium is a 501(c)3 non-profit run by a team of four dedicated volunteers. Our passion is to create tools and events that connect our community. We would appreciate any financial support you can provide to help us continue this journey.

That’s it for this first Local STAR Gazette and Space Consortium Newsletter of the academic year 2023-2024.
All the tools listed above (joint WhatsApp group, Google Groups, Local Space Events Google Calendar and even the Gazette) were created to help connect our community and are being tested over the next two months. Please reach out to us if you have any feedback or ideas on how to improve them or suggestions of new tools you would like us to implement at: contact@spaceconsortium.com.

Congratulations on having read this entire Space Novel (^_^)!
We look forward to connecting with you all soon!

The Space Consortium Team

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