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Latest news from the Hawai‘i Space Grant Ohana*
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-- 2018 --

- June 15, 2018 -
Dr. Kent Kobayashi, Associate Professor in the Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is seeking an undergraduate student for a HSGC Fellowship. Brief Description of Project: Horticulture
NASA is keenly interested in and has been conducting research on growing crops in space and on Mars as a source of food for astronauts. This proposed project involves growing crops in different kinds of Martian "simulated" soils. It offers a choice of working in several research areas: 1) comparing the effects of different "simulated" Martian soils; 2) comparing the effects of different "simulated" Martian soil formulations; and 3) growing different kinds of crops. The aim of the project is to provide the student with research and learning opportunities related to space biology, plant physiology, and horticulture. It is anticipated that results from this project would provide information on the effects of different "simulated" Martian soil components on crop growth and the use of alternative crops in space. Qualified students should have an interest and background knowledge in botany or horticulture.
Contact information:
Phone: (808) 956-7876, email: kentko@hawaii.edu
[webpage] (opens in a new window)

- April 11, 2018 -
We Remember our Friend Mark Leon, a Catalyst for Scholastic Robotics in Hawai'i
HSGC mourns the passing of Mark Leon.
HSGC is mourning the loss of Mark Leon, after learning of his passing in California this week. With his signature salutation, "Do the math, save the world" #DoTheMathSaveTheWorld, Mark was more than an accomplished NASA engineer, he worked to bring scholastic robotics to scores of students, he was a tireless, inspirational STEM advocate, and a true friend.

Mark Leon was instrumental in getting scholastic robotics started in Hawai'i. HSGC Education Specialists, Art and Rene Kimura, share this personal note, "I met Mark Leon by chance 20 years ago in Hilo during the first planning meeting for what is now the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center; Mark represented NASA as the funding was being passed through NASA. Mark described how students lives had been changed through participating in scholastic robotics. At the time, Hawai'i did not have any scholastic robotics programs. He came with a single FIRST robotics grant valued at $4,000; this grant went to Waialua High School. I begged him for a second grant and two days later he called and offered it to me; this was awarded to McKinley High School. From these initial 2 schools, both acclaimed and award winning teams, and a single program, today, there are 600 teams in nine programs. Mark continued to support Hawai'i, believing that the diversity in Hawai'i could be a catalyst to establishing a world class program. He continued to provided grants to assist our schools and tournaments, invited students to the summer robotics academy as interns at NASA Ames Research Center, came annually to MC one or more of our tournaments, and took the time to visit schools to excite students about engineering and NASA. He is well known nationally as a frequent MC at tournaments around the county...blue hair, blue NASA jacket, tumbling and jumping, energetic, positive and respectful of each person. Thousands of students and teachers in Hawai'i, tens of thousands around the nation, have been energized by meeting Mark Leon. Mark always said "do the math, save the world." He retired from NASA, moved to Colombia with his wife, Monica Sanchez, supported the growth of robotics in Colombia and Ecuador. He called us every couple months, saying he was "checking in," and confirming that there is life on Mars, continuing to support Hawai'i and our growing robotics programs. We will truly miss an extraordinary person and friend. He lived life fully and with so much loving kindness. Where would Hawai'i be in scholastic robotics if not for Mark's initial and on going support? He had planned to bring teams to Honolulu this summer for a new invitational program. Aloha Mark, we know your light continues to shine over all of us."

NASA Space Grant Consortia are in alliance with the NASA Robotics Alliance Project.

- March 28, 2018 -
Crater on the Moon Named for Dr. B. Ray Hawke
LAC image of Moon, Hawke crater. On March 16, 2018, in honor and remembrance of Dr. B. Ray Hawke (UH/HIGP lunar researcher from 1978 to 2015), the International Astronomical Union–Planetary Nomenclature Committee approved the name "Hawke" for a 13.2-kilometer-diameter impact crater on the Moon, positioned at 66.6oS, 128.7oE, just north of the Schrödinger basin. Befitting Dr. Hawke's research interests, the crater contains impact melt and is a fresh, rayed crater. In addition to his outstanding research career, Dr. Hawke served tirelessly as the HSGC Associate Director for Outreach and he also established and was the Director of the NASA Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center (PRPDC) at UH Mānoa until his death on January 24, 2015. For more information please see the USGS Planetary Nomenclature News Release, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera/Wide Angle Camera image of Hawke crater, and the B. Ray Hawke memorial page hosted at the PRPDC.

- March 20, 2018 -
Lean in lab. HSGC Undergraduate Fellow (Fall 2017-Spring 2018) and Geology major, Lean D. Teodoro, presented a poster, "A Pathway to Planetary Science in the Pacific" at the 49th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held in The Woodlands, TX from March 19-23, 2018. It describes how getting a Pacific Island student hooked on planetary science required exposure to scientific research, opportunities, a mentoring community, and financial support. Lean's Fellowship project, "Assessment of New Extraterrestrial Particle Collections at Mauna Loa Observatory," is mentored by Dr. Hope Ishii and Dr. John Bradley of the UH/HIGP/SOEST Advanced Electron Microscopy Center. Lean will be a 2018 summer intern at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory investigating the formation and evolution of asteroid families via physical properties of asteroids derived from NEOWISE thermal infrared measurements. Congratulations!

- January 27, 2018 -
Astronaut Ellison Onizuka portrait. Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium is proud to support the Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day in Hilo honoring Hawaii's native son. Co-sponsors are the American Savings Bank, The Onizuka Memorial Committee, the Onizuka family, the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo (UHH), and UHH Conference Center, along with additional support from KTA Super Stores. This year's event, the 18th annual, gave tribute to Hawaii's first astronaut and to the crew of the last flight of the Space Shuttle, Challenger on January 28, 1986. The day featured 23 science workshops, displays by organizations and companies, and a special keynote address by NASA Astronaut Jack Fischer (pictured below). The day's closing assembly featured TMT SpartanWorks STEM science demonstrations.
2018 Keynote speaker NASA Astronaut Jack Fischer.

* Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family, encompassing all the people, related or not, who come together to help achieve a better life.

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Communications: Linda Martel
Updated June 15, 2018
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