Author: Kids Talk Radio

Experiments with pH Levels: Occupy Mars Learning Adventure Projects

edge® Multiparameter pH Meter


Edge pH.jpg

Hanna Instruments introduces the world’s most innovative pH meter: edge®. edge’s groundbreaking design is the culmination of Hanna’s vision, design capabilities, integrated production and world class R&D. The edge meter is only 0.5” thick yet rich in features to accommodate the needs of a vast amount of customers. For those that prefer very simplistic operation there is a basic mode operation with a simplified menu and options. For those who require advanced features there is the full featured standard operating mode. The edge HI2020 pH kit can be upgraded at any time with additional probes to measure Conductivity or Dissolved Oxygen.
  • edge features a 5.5” LCD display that you can clearly view from over 5 meters. The large display and it’s wide 150° viewing angle provide one of the easiest to read LCDs in the industry.
  • edge features a capacitive touch keypad that gives a distinctive, modern look. Since the keypad is part of the screen, your buttons can never get clogged with sample residue.
  • edge features clear, full text guides displayed on the bottom of the screen. There is no need to decipher scrambled abbreviations or symbols; these helpful messages guide you through every process quickly and easily.


 In Cradle


Edge pH Meter Side View.jpg



EDGE pH  EC DO.jpg



Student fellows at the Barboza Space Center will be conducting experiments in biology, physics, space science and chemistry as they learn how to become junior astronauts, scientists, and engineers getting ready to go to Mars



Turning Up the Heat On Mars Plans

Mars Society founder blasts NASA for ‘worst plan yet’

May 17

Robert Zubrin started the Mars Society nearly two decades ago with the dream of creating a human settlement on the Red Planet.

“The time has come for humanity to journey to Mars!” he announced one night in the summer of 1998, at the group’s founding convention in Boulder, Colo. He then read the society’s Founding Declaration: “We must go, not for us, but for the people who are yet to be. We must do it for the Martians.”

This reporter was there and filed a story for The Washington Post’s Style section. In the years since, Zubrin has continued to lobby for humans to go to Mars — though no one has managed to get beyond low Earth orbit since the last moon landing in 1972. Until recently, NASA branded virtually everything it was doing as part of a “Journey to Mars,” and Mars remains the horizon goal. The destination was even mandated in a recent congressional authorization act for NASA that was signed by President Trump.

In the meantime, NASA has more modest plans — and these plans don’t please Zubrin, for one.

NASA wants to put a “spaceport” in orbit around the moon. It would be a habitat for astronauts on long-duration missions. You could call it a “space station” if you wanted, though it wouldn’t be nearly as big as the one that’s circling the Earth right now. NASA refers to it as the Deep Space Gateway and describes it as “a crew tended spaceport in lunar orbit.

This is NASA’s next big human spaceflight project, which is supposed to materialize in the mid-2020s. Astronauts would live in the spaceport for as much as a year at a time.

The agency’s stated goal is to test the systems necessary for a human mission to Mars. Any Mars mission would take something on the order of 2½ years round-trip, with seven or eight months in transit each way. On a Mars mission, there’s no turning around halfway. The crew can’t be resupplied. The life support system can’t be swapped out when something goes wrong. There are no pit stops — no oases in interplanetary space where one could pause to slake one’s thirst.

So NASA wants to do what effectively would be a trial run, only at a point in space just three days away by rocket transport (as opposed to the International Space Station, which is more like three hours away).

The NASA lunar spaceport plan has the redeeming feature of being technologically doable in the near term under plausible budgets. But it’s also a far more modest goal than sending humans to Mars.

Zubrin, for one, thinks it’s a terrible idea.

NASA’s Worst Plan Yet” blares the headline in National Review over Zubrin’s byline. He opens with a reference to the now-defunct, “absurd” Asteroid Redirect Mission developed by NASA under President Barack Obama (The Washington Post described it as “NASA’s Mission Improbable.”) Then Zubrin writes: “Amazingly, the space agency has managed to come up with an even dumber idea.”

Zubrin considers the lunar spaceport a waste of money — an idea designed merely as a way to give the new Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule somewhere to go.

We caught up with Zubrin on Tuesday at the Newseum, where he participated in a forum sponsored by the Atlantic titled “On the Launchpad: Return to Deep Space.” (Among others speaking at the forum were Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and former NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan.)

“What we have right now is just drift — it’s not a program,” Zubrin told the forum. He said the lunar spaceport is not needed to go to Mars or even to the surface of the moon. It’s just a way to spend money, he said: “There is not a plan. This is random activity.”

After the presentations, Zubrin gave The Post some additional thoughts on what he perceives as NASA’s failure to come up with a bold and coherent plan. He said that in the long history of NASA studies on the future of human spaceflight — and there is a long list of these lengthy reports — no one ever suggested that an orbital lunar outpost was a necessary part of an exploration program. Part of the problem, as he sees it, is the agency’s recent announcement that the first, uncrewed flight of the Space Launch System rocket will be delayed again, to 2019: “The tragedy of SLS is not that it is being delayed. The tragedy is that it doesn’t matter that it’s being delayed, because there’s nothing for it to launch anyway.”

John Logsdon, professor emeritus of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, weighed in on Zubrin’s comments.

“Robert has always lived in a parallel universe of what ought to be rather than what is,” Logsdon said gently as Zubrin stood beside him.

We asked Logsdon why NASA is building this spaceport in lunar orbit.

“It’s a sneaky way to go back to the moon,” he said.

Zubrin chimed in, “If you want to go back to the moon, go back to the moon!”

The backstory here is that President George W. Bush had a back-to-the-moon program, called Constellation. Obama killed it. Two of the three big elements of that program — a heavy-lift rocket and a new crew capsule — were preserved by powerful members of the Senate. The result is that NASA is spending billions of dollars on hardware to put astronauts in the vicinity of the moon, but there’s no way to get them down to the surface. If an international partner offered up the money for a lander, NASA presumably could put astronauts back on the moon.

Mary Lynne Dittmar, who advocates on behalf of the aerospace industry as head of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, defended the NASA plans on stage, and then again in an interview with The Post. We asked her about Logsdon’s suggestion that NASA’s lunar spaceport is really a way to get humans back on the moon.

“It’s not sneaky,” she said, and pointed us to a NASA request for proposals for ways to deliver cargo to and from the lunar surface. She said the Deep Space Gateway makes sense: “Think of the ISS as the first foothold. This is the second foothold.”

Everyone agrees that Mars is the horizon goal. But Mars is hard. The moon is close, cosmically speaking. We are already seeing a shift toward “commercial” spaceflight, so it could be that the first people on Mars will arrive in spaceships with private company logos and participating in a reality TV show. (Crazier things have happened!) Elon Musk really wants to go to Mars with SpaceX, and his drive and ambition are not to be discounted. Jeffrey P. Bezos (disclosure: he owns The Washington Post) has invested much of his fortune in the rocket company Blue Origin, and he repeatedly has said he wants lots of people doing lots of things in space.

So where will NASA be in, say, 2027?

Logsdon said, “Humans will be back on the moon.”

Zubrin agreed: “I think that’s possible actually — if you’re asking me what is likely, rather than what I’d like.”

Read more:

With Trump, Gingrich and GOP calling the shots, NASA may return to the moon

Our series of stories in 2013 for the project “Destination Unknown”

Trump wants to send astronauts to Mars pronto

US Students Are Visiting Mars

Immersive Learning Takes Off at the Locke Jetspace

immersive learning

Los Angeles is known the world over for boundless optimism and opportunity, for the manifestation of dreams through risk taking, ingenuity, an embrace of entrepreneurs, and craftsmen, of science, business, design, and artistry. Our communities are rich with expertise and resources. Too often, our learning spaces are isolated from the vitality of the surrounding community. As a result, students interpret this to mean that learning and creative work is solely a feature of school. In order for students to see a connection between school-based education, career, and life, we need to create bridges between them.

Green Dot Public Schools’ commitment to students’ potential means providing an educational space where students, teachers, and professionals can meet and collaborate to develop real world skills and think in unconventional ways. The JetSpace at Alain Leroy Locke College Preparatory Academy is an example of such a space.

Creating creative space

immersive learning

The JetSpace is a recently renovated 21st century innovation space and library. The space is modern, open, bright, and brimming with technology and creative space. It provides an opportunity for students to engage with inspiring mentors from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, exercise creativity, and build self-directed learning skills, often with the aid of cutting edge technology (e.g., virtual reality, 3D printing, robotics).

The JetSpace is also a launchpad for learning journeys beyond the school environment, including guided field trips to corporate campuses, internships, experiences, and site based projects.

“I feel like I’m in a different neighborhood”, said one Locke High School student entering the JetSpace for the first time.

Excitement follows the surprise. Teachers and staff have witnessed high levels of engagement and sustained interest in JetSpace activities. Students are keen to connect to professionals in their community who can expand their horizons, inspire them and also demystify the world of work. And it turns out that many professionals feel richly rewarded sharing their expertise and professional trajectories with young minds and passions.

“We want people like you – designers, architects –  in here. People who build things!” offered a student at a recent professional panel session on design mind.

Professional partnerships

During the inaugural 2015-2016 school year, JetSpace offered two deep dive pilot programs – a Shoe Design Program with Vans and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where students created innovative shoe soles, and a Future of Fashion Program with NASA and MIT, in which students learned about the growing frontier of wearable tech and created products of their own using 3D printing technologies. Both programs introduced students to Design Thinking, the process of identifying a problem, conducting research, ideating, creating prototypes, getting feedback, and iterating.

design thinking

Facilitators taught students how to identify problems, and then supported them in developing a collaborative problem solving environment, relevant skills, and the confidence to address the issues and provide solutions.

“It’s a thrill to be in this space right now and to see students comfortably learning,” says MIT Program Manager, Leigh B. Estabrooks. “They’re taking books off shelves and engaging in conversations. Often times it takes the right environment for Design Thinking to thrive, and that’s not common in the typical classroom,” says Estabrooks.

To the JetSpace and beyond


The JetSpace and its programs help link learning to college and career. At a practical level, the space connects students to internship and career opportunities. Vans and NASA professionals have proven dedicated to networking with all students, and to providing additional opportunities for students that applied themselves and excelled. Students manifested their ideas and created tangible examples of their work – shoe designs for water sports, hiking, and basketball, wearable tech that addressed safety issues as well as fashion trends.

In the pilot phase, forty students engaged in innovative learning programs that taught Design Thinking and engineering principles. Working with professionals in their community, they built important relationships, skills, and a new found sense of confidence in the application of their learning and ideas.

As we begin the 2016-17 school year, the JetSpace is ready to accelerate student growth by offering an exciting menu of experiences, deep dive innovative learning programs, and available technology offered in collaboration with a corps of the finest educators and mentors in Los Angeles.

NASA Needs Your Help On the Moon Europa

NASA asks science community for Europa Lander Instruments ideas
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) May 18, 2017

illustration only

NASA is asking scientists to consider what would be the best instruments to include on a mission to land on Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa.

NASA Wednesday informed the science community to prepare for a planned competition to select science instruments for a potential Europa lander.

While a Europa lander mission is not yet approved by NASA, the agency’s Planetary Science Division has funding in Fiscal Year 2017 to conduct the announcement of opportunity process.

“The possibility of placing a lander on the surface of this intriguing icy moon, touching and exploring a world that might harbor life is at the heart of the Europa lander mission,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “We want the community to be prepared for this announcement of opportunity, because NASA recognizes the immense amount of work involved in preparing proposals for this potential future exploration.”

The community announcement provides advance notice of NASA’s plan to hold a competition for instrument investigations for a potential Europa lander mission. Proposed investigations will be evaluated and selected through a two-step competitive process to fund development of a variety of relevant instruments and then to ensure the instruments are compatible with the mission concept.

Approximately 10 proposals may be selected to proceed into a competitive Phase A. The Phase A concept study will be limited to approximately 12 months with a $1.5 million budget per investigation. At the conclusion of these studies, NASA may select some of these concepts to complete Phase A and subsequent mission phases.

Investigations will be limited to those addressing the following science objectives, which are listed in order of decreasing priority:

+ Search for evidence of life on Europa

+ Assess the habitability of Europa via in situ techniques uniquely available to a lander mission

+ Characterize surface and subsurface properties at the scale of the lander

In early 2016, in response to a congressional directive, NASA’s Planetary Science Division began a study to assess the science and engineering design of a future Europa lander mission. NASA routinely conducts such studies – known as Science Definition Team (SDT) reports – long before the start of any mission to gain an understanding of the challenges, feasibility and science value of the potential mission. The 21-member team began work almost one year ago, submitting a report to NASA on Feb. 7.

The agency briefed the community on the Europa Lander SDT study at recent town halls at the 2017 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) at The Woodlands, Texas, and the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) in Mesa, Arizona.

The proposed Europa lander is separate from and would follow its predecessor – the Europa Clipper multiple flyby mission – which now is in preliminary design phase and planned for launch in the early 2020s. Arriving in the Jupiter system after a journey of several years, the spacecraft would orbit the planet about every two weeks, providing opportunities for 40 to 45 flybys in the prime mission. The Clipper spacecraft would image Europa’s icy surface at high resolution, and investigate its composition and structure of its interior and icy shell.

Wednesday’s community announcement in no way obligates NASA to solicit future proposals.

2017 Barboza Space Center Fellowship Program

2017 Barboza Space Center Fellowship Program

The Barboza Space Center was founded under the belief that students need hands on experience in the areas of STEAM++ (science, technology, engineering, visual and performing arts, mathematics, computer languages and foreign languages).  Today, The Barboza Space Center is actively developing the technologies to prototype satellites, robots and Martian habitats with the ultimate goal of enabling humans to occupy Mars.


The Barboza Space Center is currently seeking talented individuals for our Fellowship Program at the CAMS High School location on the campus of California State University Dominquez Hills. The Barboza Space Center engineering Student Fellows play a significant role in the design, development, testing and manufacturing of spaceflight hardware. Here at The Barboza Space Center, you will obtain invaluable hands-on technical experience that you can’t learn in a classroom. Our engineering and science teams will help you to roll up your sleeves and apply textbook theory and lab experience to creating solutions for real aerospace challenges. You will gain practical experience by participating in actual space hardware design, building and repair projects. The most successful candidates for the Barboza Space Center Fellowship Program have a history of significant contributions to hands-on extracurricular engineering projects in addition to a strong academic record.



  • Must be currently enrolled at an accredited public or private high school
  • Parent permission is required
  • Must submit a letter of intent
  • Must submit a current resume
  • Must be recommended by a school administrator
  • Attend a formal interview
  • Students must be able to participate for the duration of the program, June 12-15, 9:00 am-3:00 pm.
  • Students must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident of the U.S., or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State


  • GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Hands-on experience through science fair projects, lab research, project teams, prior internships or work experience
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively in a team environment, accomplishing tasks with limited resources at a regular pace
  • Intermediate skill level using Macintosh and/or Windows Operations Systems
  • Intermediate skill level using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)

Resume and Letter of Intent due to Ms. Shipman by May 15th at 4:30 pm.  


2017 Barboza Space Center Fellowship Program Brochure

Our Summer Space Science Reading List

10 Awesome Books About Space for Kids

Pin It
Thanks to Janine over at True Aim for sharing these great books with us!  Make sure you stay to the end of the post because you will have the chance to win $25 of books for your own home library!

Look up at the night’s sky. Do you feel small? It is hard to fathom just how big the universe really is. Maybe that’s why children are fascinated by it? That’s why I’d like to share 10 amazing books about space for your kids. They’ll be so excited to tell you all of the facts they’ve learned. Plus, their love for reading will be reinvigorated or inspired by them!   Before you take a look at these fabulous books, check out just how small we really are in this video of a super-high resolution image of Andromeda from the Hubble space station. Make sure you watch the end!

10 Books About Space for Kids

One of my favorite things about space is how unique everything is. Each planet, every star, every asteroid has it’s own unique shape, size, and attributes that make it different from every other one that we can see. What’s your favorite?

Space Books for Preschoolers

look inside space

1. Look Inside SpaceThis Lift-and-Look book captivates young minds with over 60 flaps to explore! Children as young as 3 will enjoy finding out how the moon was made, why stars shine and how we know so much about planets that are far, far away.

big book of stars

2. Big Book of Stars and Planets – Open the 4 giant fold-out pages to discover the wonders of space – The beautiful pictures in this book spur on great conversations. This book is also internet referenced so you can explore even more after you’re done reading!


3. On the MoonVoyage closer to earth to see what it’s like on the moon! This is a book children will want to read again and again.

first space sticker

4. My First Space Sticker BookDid you know? Sticker books promote creative thinking and reasoning skills? This book combines that with learning space vocabulary for a great hands-on literacy activity!

Space Books for Elementary

100 things to spot in the sky at night

5. 100 Things to Spot in the Night’s Sky – These are actually cards that show constellations and more that you can find in the sky at night. Do you have a star gazer? They’ll love these cards! It’s like a treasure hunt in the sky.

sun moon and stars

6. Sun, Moon, and Stars – Get more details about the most important things to earth in our universe. This book is also internet reference for more information after you’re done reading.


7. Astronomy – This beginners guide talks about how people study space. You’ll find information about rovers, telescopes and more in this internet referenced beginner.

astronomy and space sticker book

8. Astronomy and Space Sticker Book – With over 130 stickers, children will learn the intricacies of space through a seek and find sticker activity!

Books About Space for Young Adults

book of astronomy

9. The Usborne Book of Astronomy and Space – With over 96 pages, you’ll learn everything you really need to know about astronomy and space. Internet links are included for more information on all subjects!

science enyclpedia
10. The Usborne Science Encyclopedia – To understand more about space, this book contains tons of information and definitions of essential scientific knowledge from a secular view point. This combined volume includes: Energy, Forces & Motion, Earth and Space, Human Body, Materials, Mixtures & Compounds, World of Plants, Animal World, and Light, Sound & Electricity.

Growing Plants on Earth and Mars

What is in Mars Soil?.jpg
Self contained ebb and flow hydroponics growing system. The perfect way to learn how plants can grow without soil and helps teach the basic concepts for the plants needs, nutrition, food production, recycling, agricultural technology and soil-less growing environments. This mobile hydroponics center includes grow lights and water pump. The adjustable timers enable you to grow your plants with the perfect amount of water and sunlight. The construction allows easy access for students and teachers alike. The Hydroponics Center is made of solid maple and maple veneers. There is a containment plant tray, a 25 gallon nutrient reservoir with lid, a locked cabinet for timers and air pump, and a 150 watt grow light. The growing system is completed with a submersible pump, an air pump, an air stone, (2) timers, hoses and 8″ net pots. The unit moves easily on 4″ locking, leveling casters.

  • Solid maple and maple veneer construction
  • Locking cabinet for timers and pumps
  • Containment plant tray included is 8″H x 27-1/2″D x 42″W
  • 25 gallon reservoir with lid included
  • Submersible pump and air pump included
  • Air stone included
  • 2 timer and hoses included
  • Ten 8″ net post included
  • 150 watt grow light included
  • 4″ locking and leveling casters
  • Assembly required