Copenhagen Suborbital tests Tycho Deep Space Capsule/LES

Copenhagen Suborbitals, a DIY spaceflight program held tests of their “Beautiful Betty” (formerly named Tycho Deep Space) capsule and Launch Escape System(LES) this morning(4am EST). The purpose of a Launch Escape System is to propel the capsule away from the main rocket in case of an emergency.

The test was an over all succes with the LES igniting properly taking the capsule to about 3000 ft  where the two seperated and the two parachuted safely to the water. However, there were some stabilization issues causing the capsule to tumble and strike the water faster than expected and sustain some damage. The capsule remained intact with no water breaches but Copenhagen Suborbitals still needs to analyze the accelerometer data to see if a human could have survived the launch.

Update: As you can see from the live capture above the balloon uprighting system also failed to deploy and they had to re-right the capsule manually.

Livestream Footage and clips from the Launch

Update2: Helicopter video footage of the launch clearly shows the tumble and the parachutes not fully deploying.

Update3: more footage

Codecademy begins offering Python

Codecademy, a startup that offers online programming lessons is now offering courses on Python.

Their offering of python courses isn’t yet as thorough as those in javascript but they’re working on adding more. Plus you can also create your own courses using their course creator.

If you’re serious about learning python, I’d also recommend LearnPythonTheHardway (It’s how i learned ;)

Petridish: Science funding

Community sourced science funding could play a huge role in getting people vested in the work scientists are doing.  A few science projects (including this magazine) have already been successfully funded using kickstarter, rockethub and similiar platforms. However the most succesful crowdfunded projects have always been product centric. Which is why I’m excited about a newcomer in crowdfunding call Petridish.org that focuses entirely on science related projects.

They’ve got a few hurdles being science specific  such as the fact that the “product” in science is often just a bit of knowledge usually summed up in a paper. So making funders feel like they’re part of the research will be important. Another big hurdle is Scientists sometimes(read:mostly) get null results. Usually these results aren’t shared as they are mistakenly seen as a failure. But sharing and being clear about what null results mean will be essential to crowdfunding science and making sure funders know that their money isn’t being wasted if a project ends with null results.

Copenhagen Suborbitals to launch rocket (June 3-5)

There are a few reasons to get excited about Copenhagen Suborbitals upcoming launch. Not the smallest reason being it’s quite possibly the first launch of a vehicle designed to carry a human into space by a group of individuals with no profit or military motive.

Update: Succesfull Launch!!

You can watch live from a variety of sources:
Mashup of live streams and social commentary

Live stream

Or learn more about Copenhagen Suborbitals and their upcoming launch at their site.

Crowdsourcing the Hunt for New Planets

It seems like the people over at Zooniverse launch a project every other week. Their latest project called Planet Hunters is designed to use data from the Kepler mission to try and locate planets orbiting stars. So if you are interested in helping to locate new planets check them out.

The MilkyWay Project launces today

The people behind the crowdsourced astronomy project Galaxy Zoo have just released their latest endeavor, The Milky Way Project.

The Milky Way Project is currently working with data taken from the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (GLIMPSE) and the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer Galactic Plane Survey (MIPSGAL). We aim to bring you a host of interesting science problems as time goes by, and to begin with we’re looking for bubbles. These bubbles are part of the life cycle of stars. Some bubbles have already been found – by the study that inspired this project – but we want to find more! By finding more, we will build up a comprehensive view of not only these bubbles, but our galaxy as a whole. We’re asking you to help us map star formation in our galaxy.

Join The MilkyWay Project by Zooniverse

Genomera looking for Next Citizen Science Study

Genomera is a recently launched company with the mission of helping people understand and analyze their personal genomes. In the vein of their last study Butter Mind, They are currently holding a call for their next Citizen Science based genetic study. The top study will be hosted on the genomera platform and  receive the 23andMe Complete Edition receiving.  So if you have a question you’d like answered about your genome now is the time to ask it. (Details through the link)

Correction: The citizen science study can be anything, not just genetics.

So you think you can Science? The search for the next Citizen Science Study. via Genomera

23andMe $99 Discount on 11/24


23andMe is offering a Discount tomorrow for their personal genetics kit.
Normally it is $499 + $5/mo but starting tomorrow at 10am PST it will be $99 +$5/mo.

The discount code will be B84YAG.

Update:  The discount code is working as of 10am.

Update #2: The reason for the discount is the release of version three of their microarray which now tests ~1 million SNPs

“MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – November 24, 2010 – 23andMe announced today that the company has transitioned to the third version of the company’s genotyping array. The new technology will allow the company to test approximately one million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Customers who purchase the 23andMe Personal Genome Service™ on or after Wednesday, November 24th will have their DNA tested on the new version of the array.”

Thanks to Bryan for the tip and hongiiv for the photo.

Biobytes 2.0 streamlines plasmid construction

A group of students from the University of Alberta have developed an innovative way of putting together BioBricks.  Before if you wanted to add Biobricks together it would require a series of cuts and ligations which could end up taking days to complete.  People often likes to compare Biobricks to legos but the metaphor didnt seem to fit with such long construction times.   With Team Albertas new protocol and toolkit ,which they are calling Genomikon, decreasing construction time to minutes comparing bibricks to legos makes a whole lot more sense. And if that wasn’t a good enough, Genomikon also eliminates the need to keep a sterile environment or use expensive equipment. Making it not only perfect for high school bio labs but citizen scientists as well. Especially with an estimated sale price at $179.

All pictures and Excerpts courtesy of Team Alberta
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