Students in Cambodia are Helping Students in the USA to Cook Space Foods

STUDENTS COOKING SPACE FOOD

Students at the Barboza Space Center are exploring the idea of cooking space food.  This article will help to set the stage at your school or afterschool STEM program.  We are stronger if we work together.  Who wants to help?  We want to publish your ideas.   Suprschool@aol.com
SPACE TRAVEL

How bright is the future of space food
by Staff Writers
Honolulu HI (SPX) Feb 27, 2017


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Research at the University of Hawai?i at Manoa could play a major role in NASA’s goal to travel to Mars in the 2030s, including what the astronauts could eat during that historic mission.

A trip to Mars and back is estimated to take about two and half years, and ideally, their diet would be healthy while requiring minimal effort and energy. UH Manoa mechanical engineering student Aleca Borsuk may have the solution.

“I picked a really hearty, heat tolerant, drought tolerant species of edible vegetable, and that is amaranth. It’s an ancient grain,” said Borsuk, who determined that she could significantly increase the edible parts, which is basically the entire plant, by changing the lighting. “If you move the lights and have some of them overhead and some of them within the plant leaves, it can actually stimulate them to grow faster and larger.”

This is without adding more lights and by using energy efficient LEDs. Thanks to Borsuk’s work with lighting, plants could play an important role in the future of space travel.

“This plant would do the same thing that it does here on Earth, which is regenerate oxygen in the atmosphere,” said Borsuk. “It also can provide nutrition for the astronauts and if you can imagine being away from Earth for many years, you know tending something that’s green would have a psychological boost as well.”

A 2013 UH Presidential Scholar, Borsuk presented her research at the Hawai?i Space Grant Consortium Spring 2016 Fellowship and Traineeship Symposium and at the 2016 American Society for Horticultural Science Conference in Florida. She is mentored by UH Manoa Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Associate Professor Kent Kobayashi, who is also an American Society for Horticultural Science Fellow.

International Art Contest for Students

Mars Society to Hold Int’l Student Mars Art Contest

The Mars Society announced today that it is sponsoring a Student Mars Art (SMArt) Contest, inviting youth from around the world to depict the human future on the planet Mars. Young artists from grades 4 through 12 are invited to submit up to three works of art each, illustrating any part of the human future on the Red Planet, including the first landing, human field exploration, operations at an early Mars base, the building of the first Martian cities, terraforming the Red Planet and other related human settlement concepts.

The SMArt Contest will be divided into three categories: Upper Elementary (grades 4-6), Junior High (grades 7-9), and High School (Grades 10-12). Cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250, as well as trophies, will be given out to the first, second and third place winners of each section. There will also be certificates of honorable mention for those artists who don’t finish in the top three, but whose work is nevertheless judged to be particularly meritorious.

The winning works of art will be posted on the Mars Society web site and may also be published as part of a special book about Mars art. In addition, winners will be invited to come to the 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention at the University of California, Irvine September 7-10, 2017 to display and talk about their art.

Mars art will consist of still images, which may be composed by traditional methods, such as pencil, charcoal, watercolors or paint, or by computerized means. Works of art must be submitted via a special online form (http://nextgen.marssociety.org/mars-art) in either PDF or JPEG format with a 500 MB limit. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2017, 5:00 pm MST. By submitting art to the contest, participating students grant the Mars Society non-exclusive rights to publish the images on its web site or in Kindle paper book form.

Speaking about the SMArt Contest, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, “The imagination of youth looks to the future. By holding the SMArt Contest, we are inviting young people from all over the world to use art to make visible the things they can see with their minds that the rest of us have yet to see with our own eyes. Show us the future, kids. From imagination comes reality. If we can see it, we can make it.”

Questions about the Mars Society’s SMArt Contest can be submitted to: Marsart@marssociety.org.

Gradens are important?

Dr. Jose Barbosa, loading up produce.

This year, students in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) have been able to get their hands dirty while putting down roots in the community – literally!

The UTC Teaching & Learning Garden began this past spring, taking students out to learn about raising food in an urban environment. In total this year, the Garden was able to raise 2100 pounds of produce that was donated to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.

“And that’s pesticide free during an extremely difficult summer without rain. The students are learning more than they could have imagined. More than any of us could’ve imagined,” said Dr. Joe Wilferth, UC Foundation Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The last harvest of the year, approximately 400 pounds of produce, was delivered to the Community Kitchen in time for Thanksgiving.

“They had quite a Thanksgiving feast!” Wilferth said.

UTC student Chloe Dente

The Teaching & Learning Garden is more than just a community garden, however. The Garden is a hands on learning space that addresses topics that UTC students care about, like sustainability, gardening, local food economies, health and food production

Dr. Jose Barbosa, Associate Professor of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the primary faculty sponsor for the project, providing oversight and planning of the space. Most of the students who worked in the garden were earning class credit in Barbosa’s Urban Gardening classes. However, students not in Barbosa’s class also volunteered.

“The garden is open for academic use to faculty and students all across CAS. In the future, faculty are invited to approach Dr. Barbosa or me if they wish to integrate the garden into their coursework,” said Wilferth.

Wilferth looks forward to the opportunities for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work both within CAS and across the campus that the Teaching & Learning Garden provides. Approximately 125 students in Art, Biology, English, Environmental Science, Political Science, and Sociology all participated in the project since spring.

“The garden may be used by specific courses across the CAS as it exemplifies experiential and hands-on learning. It could be expanded in the future to include courses and experiential learning opportunities in other colleges on our campus—e.g., courses in other colleges that focus on food production, nutrition, health and wellness, environmental literature, as well as the sociopolitical and socioeconomic factors involved in food production and food quality,” Wilferth said.

A bountiful harvest of radishes.

The Garden is located behind the outfield wall of Engel Stadium, just around the corner from the Value Lot. This past March, the folks in Facilities donated their time and resources to clearing the land, which wasn’t previously in use, for the Garden.

“This is an ideal space because of its proximity to campus. The shuttle service can take students to and from the garden. Class meetings wherein students visit/work in the garden will not require additional time, nor will the students’ academic schedules be interrupted,” Wilferth said.

This year, all of the produce to come out of the Garden went to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, but in future years some of the food may also end up in students’ stomachs.

“In the future, we are considering ways to have something like a farmers market on campus where the proceeds might go to support student travel and undergraduate and graduate student research,” explained Wilferth.

The Chattanooga Community Kitchen would still receive at least a third of the harvest.

The Environmental Task Force, which oversees the “Green Fee” funds, supported half of the garden’s costs this year.

“This first year, of course, was the most expensive year simply because we had to get the garden going. We had to purchase tools, a storage facility, and more,” said Wilferth. “Other offices around campuses committed funds, too. Significant support came from both the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity and from the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School. In the end, this is a relatively cheap project that has potential for a big impact. We’re doing something exciting here. We’re literally growing!”

Wanted Raspberry Pi Projects to be Used in K-12 Education Worldwide

The Barboza Space Center: www.BarbozaSpaceCenter.com  is collecting Raspberry Pi projects to share with the Open Source Community.   Send us what you are working on an we will share the resources that we are working on.   If you need more information you can contact us at Suprschool@aol.com.

450px-Raspberry_Pi_3_Model_B.pngThe Raspberry Pi is a series of credit card-sized single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries.[3][4][5] The original Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi 2 are manufactured in several board configurations through licensed manufacturing agreements with Newark element14 (Premier Farnell), RS Components and Egoman.[6] The hardware is the same across all manufacturers. The firmware is closed-source.[7]

Several generations of Raspberry Pis have been released. The first generation (Pi 1) was released in February 2012 in basic model A and a higher specification model B. A+ and B+ models were released a year later. Raspberry Pi 2 model B was released in February 2015 and Raspberry Pi 3 model B in February 2016. These boards are priced between US$20 and 35. A cut down “compute” model was released in April 2014, and a Pi Zero with smaller size and limited input/output (I/O), general-purpose input/output (GPIO), abilities released in November 2015 for US$5.

All models feature a Broadcom system on a chip (SoC), which includes an ARM compatible central processing unit (CPU) and an on chip graphics processing unit (GPU, a VideoCore IV). CPU speed ranges from 700 MHz to 1.2 GHz for the Pi 3 and on board memory range from 256 MB to 1 GB RAM. Secure Digital SD cards are used to store the operating system and program memory in either the SDHC or MicroSDHC sizes. Most boards have between one and four USB slots, HDMI and composite video output, and a 3.5 mm phone jack for audio. Lower level output is provided by a number of GPIO pins which support common protocols like I²C. The B-models have an 8P8C Ethernet port and the Pi 3 has on board Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth.

The Foundation provides Raspbian, a Debian-based linux distribution for download, as well as third party UbuntuWindows 10 IOT CoreRISC OS, and specialised media center distributions.[8] It promotes Python and Scratch as the main programming language, with support for many other languages.[9]

In February 2016, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced that they had sold eight million devices, making it the best-selling UK personal computer, ahead of the Amstrad PCW.[10][11] Sales reached ten million in September 2016.[12]

Student Science Experiments Needed for Antarctica

Occupy Mars STEM Team.jpg

The Occupy Mars Learning Adventures Team Needs Your Help.  The Barboza Space Center is collaborating with Antarctic explorer Doug Stoup. We want to conduct a student science experiment at the South Pole. Our team is leaving for Antarctica this December, 2016. We are looking for a science experiment that we can conduct on Earth that will help us with studying about Mars.  This is a great opportunity for you to get creative and to help our team to get ready to occupy Mars.

E mail your suggestions to: Suprschool@aol.com http://www.BarbozaSpaceCenter.com

Are we alone in the universe?

Why NASA still believes we might find life on Mars

 July 30

How and when will humans get to Mars?

 

Play Video3:43
Jim Green, head of NASA’s planetary science division, answers your questions about human travel to Mars. (Gillian Brockell, Sarah Kaplan/The Washington Post)

The day Gil Levin says he detected life on Mars, he was waiting in his lab at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, watching a piece of paper inch out of a printer.

Levin snatched the sheet and scrutinized the freshly inked graph. A thin line measuring radioactive carbon crept steadily upward, just as it always did when Levin performed the test with microbes on Earth. But this data came from tens of millions of miles away, where NASA’s Viking lander was — for the first time in history — conducting an experiment on the surface of Mars.

“Gil, that’s life,” his co-investigator, Patricia Straat, exclaimed when she saw the first results come in. There was jubilation at JPL. Afterward, Levin said, he drove into the mountains above Los Angeles, sat on the ground and stared up at the night sky.

“I was sort of trembling, you know?” he recalled. It was July 30, 1976.

Forty years later, Levin and Straat still believe that their experiment was evidence of microbiotic Martians. But few people agree with them. To NASA, and to most scientists, the 1976 Viking mission was a technical triumph but a biological bust. Scientists, such as Carl Sagan, who had wagered that large organisms “are not only possible on Mars; they may be favored,” were disappointed to see images the lander sent back of a dry, barren planet. Two experiments aimed at finding life turned up negative, and NASA concluded that the results of Levin’s test, called the Labeled Release experiment, could be explained by chemical processes rather than biological ones.

“I was sort of set aback,” recalled NASA chief astrobiologist Penny Boston, who was still in college at the time. “I was thinking, ‘Gosh, I want to work in exobiology, as we called it at the time, and now it seems like it’s just a pile of rocks, and there’s no life there at all.’”

Viking put a 20-year damper on Mars exploration. Even when NASA did return to the Red Planet, it completely quit trying to test for living organisms directly.

But hope was in the air at Langley Research Center last week, where NASA held a two-day conference to honor the 40th anniversary of the Viking landing. After decades of pointedly not looking for it, the space agency is more optimistic than it’s been since 1976 that it might find life on Mars yet.

“Every new piece of information we get about the planet seems to point to greater and greater habitability,” Boston said. “It just seems more and more likely.”

The issue with the Viking experiments is that they expected to find too much too soon, speaker after speaker explained over the course of the conference. Detecting life with Viking would have been a breakthrough of unprecedented proportions, and science doesn’t usually happen that way. Most “breakthroughs” come after years of accumulating incremental increases in knowledge.

So, for the past four decades, “we’ve engaged in creeping up on the problem,” Boston said.

Some evidence in favor of a livable Mars came from the same mission that seemed to quash the possibility: Viking itself. While the two landers relayed bleak photos and disappointing data from the surface, the orbiters that were launched along with them revealed landscapes that looked strikingly like ones on our own planet.

Ellen Stofan, now NASA’s chief scientist, was then a summer intern at JPL assigned to map Mangala Valles, a system of crisscrossing channels near Mars’s equator.

“What was so fascinating were all these features that were so familiar from our studies of the Earth,” she recalled. “Things like teardrop-shaped islands, abandoned oxbow sections of channels, features that by looking at rivers on Earth we could understand that these features on Mars had been carved by water, and in some cases by great floods of water, coursing across the Martian surface.”

Images from the Viking orbiters confirmed what the Mariner 9 satellite found when it arrived at the planet five years earlier: Mars once had water, a key ingredient for the evolution of life as we know it. But that water existed hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions, of years ago, offering little promise that organisms might still exist.

Today, the space agency has two rovers and three active satellites surveying the planet. Among them is the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) a bulky spacecraft shaped like a metal water bird that flew into Mars orbit in 2006.

In the fall, NASA announced that photos from MRO showing dark, tendril-like formations called recurring slope lineae were actually evidence of liquid water on the planet’s surface. It’s only a tiny amount, and only appears under specific circumstances, but “it’s really important from a scientific point of view,” Stofan said last week. “… If there’s life on Mars, that’s probably the environment in which we would find it.”

Other spacecraft have uncovered organic compounds in Martian soil and fluctuating levels of methane, which is usually a biological byproduct, in the atmosphere. Mars may be a frigid, atmosphere-less, radiation-bombarded desert, but it is slightly less of an inhospitable wasteland than the version Viking first captured 40 years ago.

NASA confirms new evidence of water on Mars

 

Play Video2:47
On Sept. 28, NASA announced the strongest evidence yet for liquid water on Mars. This new research increases the possibility for astronauts to rely on the red planet’s own water in future space travel. (NASA)

Meanwhile, here on Earth, scientists have begun to realize that even apparent “wastelands” aren’t as inhospitable as they seem.

When Viking landed in 1976, our understanding of the capacities and diversity of microscopic life was fairly limited. Most microbiological knowledge came from medicine, in which scientists focused on the bacteria that lived in our bodies or infected them.

“It’s almost like we were looking for a gut bacteria on Mars,” Boston said. “We were naive, really, about the capabilities of microbes and what you need to do to find them.”

But a year after the Viking experiments, divers discovered bizarre creatures living in the dark, toxic waters around hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Pacific — the first organisms capable of making a living off chemicals, rather than sunlight. Scientists have also found microrganisms deep within the oceanic crust and high up in the stratosphere.

Boston herself, who spent 30 years studying life in caves before being appointed director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute this year, has discovered microbes that can metabolize minerals in dark cracks in the earth. Similar environments — lava tubes, the bottoms of lake beds, rock overhangs, tiny cavities in the soil — exist on Mars and would offer protection from the planet’s frigid climate and punishing solar radiation.

“That’s where I want to go look,” she said.

This kind of talk is frustrating for Levin, who has held for 30 years that life on Mars has already been detected. At the anniversary event Wednesday, he exhorted the audience, “there is no scientifically acceptable explanation to the Labeled Release experiments on Mars, except life.”

Off stage, Levin admitted he was surprised he was invited to speak at the conference (when he announced his opinion at the 10th anniversary celebration, he says he was pelted with shrimp).

“I’m very glad because I was invited, despite this long convolution of disagreements. I kind of hope it means they’re beginning to consider the experiment again,” he said.

In a statement, Walt Engelund, the director of the Space Technology and Exploration Directorate at NASA Langley, said there was no “implicit motivation” in inviting Levin. He was an integral part of the mission’s science team, and merited a chance to “discuss and defend his own perspectives,” Engelund said.

But it is true that NASA is gearing up to start a more focused search for Martians past and present. The last decade and a half of Mars exploration has focused on “following the water” to identify spots where the Red Planet might potentially be habitable.

“It’s a much more sophisticated approach,” Boston said. “We’re trying to map out the parameters that we know are conducive to life surviving — and it’s a whole lot more work than we realized.” (Levin, ever impatient, scoffed at that excuse.)

A new rover scheduled to launch in 2020 will carry several instruments aimed at finding organisms, or at least organics. Among them are SHERLOC, which will use ultraviolet light to search for carbon molecules that might indicate ancient life and the organic compounds that could be signs it still exists, and PIXL, which uses x-rays to detect microbial biosignatures. The mission also includes plans to cache soil samples that will be returned to Earth at some later date.

But Boston believes a human mission to Mars is our best bet at detecting life beyond our planet. Other potentially habitable worlds, like the ocean moons Europa and Enceladus, are harder to get to and pose their own challenges for exploration (namely, thick outer layers of ice). Robotic Mars rovers have dramatically expanded our understanding of our neighbor, but there’s a limit to how much they can achieve. It took Opportunity 11 years and two months to move 26.2 miles — the distance of a marathon, which an average human can cover in a few hours.

It will take people, Boston argued, to recognize the remains of life that might have existed billions of years ago, when scientists believe that Mars was a warmer planet with an ocean and an atmosphere not unlike our own. And if organisms still survive in the harsh environment on the planet today, they’re probably buried beneath the surface, where a human with a rock hammer can get at them much more easily than a clumsy rover could.

“Nature has a lot of secrets that she’s only going to reveal if we go looking for them in person,” she said.

How soon such a mission can happen is debated. This week, the Government Accountability Office warned that NASA’s new rocket aimed at taking humans into space may end up behind schedule and over budget. Others have cautioned that we don’t know enough yet about the effects of a trip to Mars on astronauts — or, indeed, the effect astronauts might have on Mars. It might prove impossible to explore the planet without contaminating it.

But at the Viking celebration, the optimists had the day. By the 2030s, Stofan promised, there will be a new kind of life on Mars: us.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly identified the rover that has traveled a marathon distance. It is Opportunity.

Read more:

Andy Weir and his book ‘The Martian’ may have saved NASA and the entire space program

Here is NASA’s three-step plan for getting humans to Mars

Can Mars, or any other planet, have just a little bit of life?

Why can’t we just send our rovers to look for life on Mars?

Mars once had great lakes and rivers, according to rover data

Mars is in the News

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NASA’s findings suggest Mars even more Earth-like than previously believed

NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring the Gale Crater on Mars since 2012, and in that time has come up with some astounding discoveries that suggest the Red Planet was somewhat Earth-like in its earlier times.

The rover has come through again, this time detecting significant amounts of manganese oxides inside of mineral veins.

Said researcher Nina Lanza of New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, “The only ways on Earth that we know how to make these manganese materials involve atmospheric oxygen or microbes. Now we’re seeing manganese oxides on Mars, and we’re wondering how the heck these could have formed?”

She further notes, “One potential way that oxygen could have gotten into the Martian atmosphere is from the breakdown of water when Mars was losing its magnetic field. It’s thought that at this time in Mars’ history, water was much more abundant.”

A combination of that weakened magnetic field, ionizing radiation, and low gravity may have both split the water into its separate elements and rendered the Red Planet incapable of holding onto its hydrogen ions, leaving only the oxygen to linger.

Lanza does admit, “It’s hard to confirm whether this scenario for Martian atmospheric oxygen actually occurred.”

More Science News

Stephen Hawking opens up about the greatest threats to humanity

Some things are just too big of a mystery, keeping even geniuses like Stephen Hawking guessing.

“What still mystifies you about the universe?” Larry King asked in a recent interview.
SEE ALSO: Stephen Hawking on black holes: ‘There is a way out’

“Why do the universe and all the laws of nature exist? Are they necessary? In one sense they are, because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to ask the question. But is there a deeper reason?” Hawking answered.
We might not be able to answer Hawking’s question, but there’s a chance we could help with something else he told Larry King he knows all too well.
Hawking said in the roughly six years since he was last interviewed by King, the world hasn’t gotten any less greedy.
Air pollution has increased over that time to the point where now 80 percent of urban dwellers are in danger. And he called global warming Earth’s most pressing issue.

Your Kid on TV

ABC TV

NOW CASTING KIDS AGES 3-14

We want the kids who make the news in your town! Kid entrepreneurs!
Kids with grown-up skills (like choirmaster)!
Kids that do grown up jobs as a hobby (like mail carrier)! Kids who have honorary titles (like mayor)!
Kid phenoms!
Record breakers!
Champion dancers and dance teams!
Kid brainiacs!
Kids who caught your attention with great personalities!

If any amazing local kids have appeared on your affiliate station, please contact Little Big Shots casting producer Kim Clevenger directly at

kimclevengercasting@gmail.com

We’re seeking talented, quirky, fun and entertaining kids from all over the world– and especially your area!

Suprschool@aol.com

Kids Talk Radio and ABC TV

Growing food for a journey to Mars

NASA to simulate growing potatoes on Mars in Peru
By Roberto CORTIJO
Lima (AFP) Feb 19, 2016

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Do Peru’s potatoes have the right stuff?

That’s the question scientists will be asking in Lima next month, when a selection of tubers will begin undergoing tests to determine whether they’re fit to grow on Mars.

NASA, the US space agency, is conducting the pioneering experiment together with Lima’s International Potato Center (CIP).

They will cultivate a hundred selected varieties already subjected to rigorous evaluation in extreme, Mars-like conditions that could eventually pave the way to building a dome on the Red Planet for farming the vegetable.

The selection was made from a total of 4,500 varieties registered at CIP, a nonprofit research facility that aims to reduce poverty and achieve food security.

Of the selected candidates, 40 are native to the Andes Mountains, conditioned to grow in different ecological zones, withstand sudden climate changes and reproduce in rocky, arid terrain.

The other 60 are genetically modified varieties able to survive with little water and salt. They are also immune to viruses.

Those that pass the tests must meet a final criterion — they must be able not only to grow well on Mars but also reproduce in large quantities.

“We’re almost 100 percent certain that many of the selected potatoes will past the tests,” said Julio Valdivia Silva, a Peruvian NASA astrobiologist who is taking part in the ambitious project.

The scientists hope the experiment will also help address the earthly scourges of hunger and malnutrition by identifying varieties suited to growing in harsh conditions.

“We must be prepared for the future,” said virologist Jan Kreuze, a scientist at CIP. “To respond to desertification, rising temperature and high salt content in the soil.”

– Vegetable of the future –

The soil in La Joya Pampas — a sector of the Atacama Desert in southern Peru that’s considered one of the driest places on earth — is very similar to that found on the Red Planet.

The scientists plan to transport 200 pounds (100 kilos) of it to a CIP laboratory in Lima that will simulate the complex Martian atmosphere — which contains mostly carbon dioxide — and expose it to extreme ultraviolet radiation.

“We’ll have more concrete results in one or two years, Valdivia said, adding that it will take more than five years to launch an unmanned mission to Mars.

The potential future space crop is also one of the oldest.

Records of potato cultivation date back to 2500 BC, when the indigenous Aymara Indians farmed it in modern-day Peru and Bolivia.

If the varieties selected for next month’s experiment don’t adapt to the desert soil, the researchers will introduce nutrients and subject them to radiation.

“If that doesn’t work,” Valdivia said, “we’ll administer a new method the CIP is using called aeroponics.”

The technique, used for cultivating plants without soil, would expose roots inside a sphere or cube that is sprayed with nutrients and contains a system for removing toxins.

In future years, NASA plans to build a Mars research center in the Peruvian desert.

It would create a perfect replica of the Martian landscape and atmosphere for future research into space farming that could serve manned missions to Mars and other planets in the solar system.

We Need Cambodian Students to Help

Who wants to help us to create the next great battery?

Most people would conclude that it will be very difficult for young kids in high school to create a better battery.   Some would say they just don’t have the background knowledge and/or  experience.   Well, the students at the Barboza Space Center are going to try.  You can follow our work at http://www.BarbozaSpaceCenter.com.  All of our students want to dive affordable Tesslers while here on Earth.   We need better batteries for the robots and satellites that we are creating for the Occupy Mars Learning Adventures.  We are studying AP Physics for Scientists and Engineers and AP Electro-Chemistry. 

Kids Talk Radio Science will be sending out a message to all of our members and other students around the world.  We want to collaborate in finding a “Better Battery.”  Many of our students have parents that are scientists and engineers and educators with lots of contacts around the world.  You can contact us at Bob@BarbozaSpaceCenter.com or Suprschool@aol.com. 

Visit: http://www.BarbozaSpaceCenter.com  and http://www.KidsTalkRadioLA.com.   

You do need parent permission to participate in any of our programs.  

bsc bus

Blog #9: Battery Improvements

http://e2af.com/review/091111.shtml

As technology advances, the power output and lifespan of batteries will be expected to advance as well in order to accommodate. Almost every standard lithium ion battery that is currently in existence and use consists of a graphite electrode. While graphite is relatively cheap and durable, silicon, which is now being explored for use in batteries, would offer a much greater power capacity. While it takes six graphite (carbon) atoms to bind to a single lithium ion, a single silicon atom can bind to four lithium ions. Current batteries can be recharged over 500 times and still retain 80 percent of their original capacity; but with the next-generation of silicon batteries, they are expected to last from 700 to 1,000 cycles. From a power output perspective, prototypes of the silicon batteries can store up to 750 watt-hours per liter, a noticeable increase from the 400 to 620 watt-hours per liter for conventional batteries.

http://www.clipartpanda.com/categories/battery-20clipart

Despite the obvious improvements from the graphite battery to the silicon one, there are some significant drawbacks to using this new type of battery. The largest concern for silicon batteries is that the silicon anodes often suffer from structural failure. Because silicon absorbs so many ions, it physically expands to four times its original size. As the batteries are used and recharged, they tend to swell and shrink, causing the battery to fall apart. This obstacle was overcome by making silicon nanowires that do not fall apart. However, this new material brought a challenge of its own. The nanowires proved difficult to bring to market because the new material required custom manufacturing equipment, making it very difficult to produce.

A variety of designs of the silicon-based battery are being explored and experimented with in order to minimize their shortcomings and bring them to the market. One possible solution is to implement the use of nanoparticles, which have silicon at the core and are surrounded by a layer of carbon. Although these nanoparticles store less energy than silicon nanowires, they do not require custom manufacturing equipment and can be used in existing factories. In addition, they seem to help solve the problems associated with silicon’s volume expansion. Another possibility is the mesoporous silicon sponge, which is basically a piece of silicon that’s riddled with holes. This fabricated silicon electrode only expands by 30% rather than 400%, a huge reduction that greatly improves the physical strength of the silicon battery. As more and more designs are formed which improve the functionality of the silicon battery, the closer this more powerful battery gets to making its mark on the world.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/185999-us-department-of-energy-doubles-lithium-ion-battery-capacity-with-spongy-silicon

Sources:

  1. http://www.technologyreview.com/news/523296/startup-gets-30-million-to-bring-high-energy-silicon-batteries-to-market/
  2. http://forumblog.org/2014/09/top-ten-emerging-technologies-2014/#nanowire
  3. http://www.extremetech.com/computing/185999-us-department-of-energy-doubles-lithium-ion-battery-capacity-with-spongy-silicon