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Article ID: 661063
Released: 20-Sep-2016 8:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Indiana University

Newswise — BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Dr. Mae C. Jemison, astronaut, engineer, entrepreneur, physician and educator, has been named a leader-in-residence at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, serving as its Poling Chair of Business and Government, for this academic year.

Jemison leads 100 Year Starship, a global initiative to ensure that the capabilities for human travel beyond our solar system to another star exist within the next 100 years. Seed-funded through a competitive grant from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, the initiative uses the difficult challenges of human interstellar travel — technical, social and economic — as a springboard to foster transformative innovation to benefit life on Earth.

The first African-American recipient of the Poling Chair, Jemison will stimulate discussion in the areas of leadership, the critical interactions between the private and public sectors in matters of economic growth, technology research and development, and sustainability.

The Poling Chair was established in 1993 by the late Harold “Red” Poling, a Kelley School alumnus and Ford Motor Co. chairman and CEO from 1985 to 1994. Deepender Hooda, a Kelley School alumnus and a member of India’s parliament, held the position last year.

Jemison will make periodic trips to the Kelley School in Bloomington and Indianapolis, where she will interact with students and faculty, including an upcoming visit the week of Oct. 3. She will speak at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Hutton Honors College, 811 E. Seventh St. in Bloomington.

“We’re thrilled Dr. Jemison will serve as our Poling Chair this year. She’s quite an amazing person — a physician, a former Peace Corps medical officer, an astronaut, a dancer, a professor and an entrepreneur,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the IU Kelley School of Business and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “She has many unique perspectives, and I’m sure she will engage our students and faculty in many interesting discussions.”

“I am honored to serve as the 2016-2017 Poling Chair of Business and Government,” Jemison said. “I look forward to working with students at Indiana University and its Kelley School of Business on understanding the vital connections between the physical and social sciences, as well as culture and art, to problem solve and create robust solutions.”

The first woman of color in the world to go into space, Jemison served six years as a NASA astronaut. She founded two technology companies and the nonprofit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which develops and implements STEM education curricula. Jemison was a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College. A physician, she was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia and also practiced medicine in the United States.

Jemison is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, serves on Fortune 500 boards and has received numerous awards and honors, including election to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She was voted as one of the top seven female leaders in a presidential ballot national straw poll and was the first astronaut to appear on “Star Trek.”

Jemison graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in chemical engineering while fulfilling the requirements for an A.B. degree in African and Afro-American studies. She received her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College.

Previous Poling Chairs have come from both the public and private sectors. They include Elizabeth Acton, retired chief financial officer of Comerica and a former vice president and treasurer of Ford Motor Co.; Bob Eckert, then CEO of Mattel Inc.; Ronald Dollens, former president and CEO of Guidant Corp.; Samuel K. Skinner, former U.S. secretary of transportation and chief of staff to former President George H.W. Bush; former Sen. Evan Bayh, who taught before his election to the U.S. Senate; Randall L. Tobias, chairman emeritus of Eli Lilly and Co., former vice chairman of AT&T Corp. and former chair of the IU Board of Trustees; Frank Popoff, former CEO and chairman of Dow Chemical Co.; Dale Pollak, chairman and founder of vAuto Inc.; Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Cie Nicholson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Softcard, a mobile wallet joint venture of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile that was acquired by Google.

Breaking News: New Found Goldilocks Habitable Planet Brings 100 Year Starship Mission to the Forefront

One Star Over, a Planet That Might Be Another Earth

By Kenneth Chang Aug. 24, 2016


An artist’s impression of the planet Proxima b orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth’s sun.

Credit M. Kornmesser/European Southern Observatory


Another Earth could be circling the star right next door to us.

Astronomers announced on Wednesday that they had detected a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest neighbor to our solar system. Intriguingly, the planet is in the star’s “Goldilocks zone,” where it may not be too hot nor too cold. That means liquid water could exist at the surface, raising the possibility for life.

Although observations in recent years, particularly by NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, have uncovered a bounty of Earth-size worlds throughout the galaxy, this one holds particular promise because it might someday, decades from now, be possible to reach. It’s 4.2 light-years, or 25 trillion miles, away from Earth, which is extremely close in cosmic terms.

One astronomer likened it to a flashing neon sign. “I’m the nearest star, and I have a potentially habitable planet!” said R. Paul Butler, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science and a member of the team that made the discovery.

Guillem Anglada-Escudé, an astronomer at Queen Mary University of London and the leader of the team that made the discovery reported in the journal Nature, said, “We know there are terrestrial planets around many stars, and we kind of expected the nearby stars would contain terrestrial planets. This is not exciting because of this. The excitement is because it is the nearest one.”

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Beyond the planet’s size and distance from its parent star, much about it is still mysterious. Scientists are working off computer models that offer mere hints of what’s possible: Conditions could be Earthlike, but they could also be hellish like Venus, or cold and dry like Mars.

There is no picture of the planet, which has been designated Proxima b. Instead, Dr. Anglada-Escudé and his colleagues detected it indirectly, studying via telescope the light of the parent star. They zeroed in on clocklike wobbles in the starlight, as the colors shifted slightly to the reddish end of the spectrum, then slightly bluish. The oscillations, caused by the bobbing back-and-forth motion of the star as it is pulled around by the gravity of the planet, are similar to how the pitch of a police siren rises or falls depending on whether the patrol car is traveling toward or away from the listener.

From the size of the wobbles, the astronomers determined that Proxima b is at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, although it could be several times larger. A year on Proxima b — the time to complete one orbit around the star — lasts just 11.2 days.

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Although the planet, lost in the glare of the star, cannot be viewed by current telescopes, astronomers hope to see it when the next generation is built a decade from now.



Proxima Centauri, which is in the constellation of Centaurus 4.2 light-years from Earth.

ESA/Hubble & NASA


And the planet’s proximity to Earth gives hope that robotic probes could someday be zooming past the planet for a close-up look. A privately funded team of scientists and technology titans, led by the Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, have announced Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, a project to develop and launch a fleet of iPhone-size spacecraft within two to three decades. Their proposed destination is the Alpha Centauri star system, which includes a pair of larger sunlike stars in addition to Proxima Centauri.

“We will definitely aim at Proxima,” said Avi Loeb, a Harvard astronomer who is chairman of an advisory committee for Breakthrough Starshot. “This is like finding prime real estate in our neighborhood.”

This newly discovered planet is much closer to its parent star, about five million miles apart, than Earth is to the sun, 93 million miles. Even Mercury, the innermost planet of our solar system, is 36 million miles from the sun.

While Proxima b might be similar to Earth, its parent star, Proxima Centauri, is very different from the sun. It is tiny, belonging to a class of stars known as red dwarfs, with only about 12 percent of the mass of the sun and about 1/600th the luminosity — so dim that it cannot be seen from Earth with the naked eye.

Thus Proxima b, despite its closeness to the star, receives less warmth than Earth, but enough that water could flow on the surface. Whether the planet has liquid water or an atmosphere is “pure speculation at this point,” Dr. Anglada-Escudé said in a news conference.

If the planet formed close to the star, it could be dry and airless, but it might also have formed farther out and migrated inward to its current orbit. It is also possible that the planet formed dry and was later bombarded by comets or ice-rich asteroids.

“There are viable models and stories that lead to a viable Earthlike planet today,” Dr. Anglada-Escudé said.

Even if it is habitable, scientists studying the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe spiritedly debate whether planets around these red dwarfs are a promising place to look.

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Small stars are more erratic, especially during their youth, and eruptions off the star’s surface could strip away the atmosphere from such planets. Levels of X-rays and other high-energy radiation bombarding the planet would be 100 times that on Earth, the scientists said.

The close orbit suggests that the rotation of the planet would probably be gravitationally locked by the star’s pull. Just as the same side of the moon always faces Earth, one side of Proxima b is likely eternally bright, always facing the star, while the other is ever dark.

Additional visible light observations further convinced the scientists that they were not being fooled by variations in the star itself erroneously mimicking the presence of a planet.

The discovery was more than a decade and a half in the making. Michael Endl, an astronomer at the University of Texas and one of the authors of the Nature paper, peered at Proxima Centauri for eight years beginning in 2000, looking for hints of a planet. “At that time, I didn’t see anything highly, highly significant,” Dr. Endl said in an interview. “Then we published our data and moved on.”

Later, Dr. Anglada-Escudé, analyzing data from a different instrument on a different telescope, found inconclusive hints of a planet. He reached out to Dr. Endl to reanalyze the earlier data, and he also spearheaded the Pale Red Dot project, which tried to observe Proxima Centauri every day for two months earlier this year.

The new observations clearly revealed the 11.2-day period of the planet, and the signal matched what Dr. Anglada-Escudé had suspected earlier. It also matched a signal that was hidden in the noise of Dr. Endl’s data, which was lower in precision and observed Proxima Centauri only once a week or so, not every day.

There are hints of perhaps another planet, perhaps more, but those hints are still ambiguous, the scientists said.

The discovery could provide impetus for planet-finding telescopes. Ruslan Belikov of the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., has proposed a small space telescope costing less than $175 million dedicated to the search for planets in Alpha Centauri. While it would not be powerful enough to spot Proxima b, its existence would give more confidence that terrestrial planets also orbit the two sunlike stars there.

“It just raises the public awareness there’s a new world just next door,” Dr. Belikov said. “It’s a paradigm shift in people’s minds.”

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Vist 100 Year Starship to learn more about Interstellar Travel

Dr. Mae Jemison Cuts Ribbon On Namesake Jemison High School


Dr. Mae Jemison cuts ribbon at ceremony for namesake Dr. Mae Jemison High School, Huntsville, Alabama on Tuesday Aug. 2, 2016. (Bob Gathany/

By: Bob Gathany


Huntsville city schools honored Dr. Mae Jemison by naming a very beautiful new high school located at 2500 Pulaski Pike in Huntsville after her. Tuesday morning, Aug. 2 2016, Dr. Jemison cut the ribbon on the new 9-12 school that will also offer students an opportunity to complete up to 60 hours of college credit while still in high school.

The new campus will offer students the opportunity to concentrate on cyber security studies and advanced manufacturing techniques using a 3-D titanium printer. This high tech school will have keycard access doors, high def security and a tornado shelter in the gym.

“Just as for so many people, high school was critical to the person I am today. With the state-of-the-art facilities and the dedicated, skilled teachers and administrators I believe the commitment that Huntsville has made by building a school like Jemison High School will serve as a model to other educators and school systems to create a first-rate education for today’s students.”

Dr. Jemison is a former astronaut, a physician, an entrepreneur and educator. She is the principal of 100 Year Starship, offering a unique experimental curriculum that challenges high school students to solve current global dilemmas.

Dr. Jemison, who was born in Decatur, Ala., studied chemical engineering at Stanford University and obtained a medical degree form Cornell University. She spent time in Sierra Leone and Liberia as a Peace Corps Medical Officer. In 1987, Dr. Jemison was selected by NASA for the astronaut training program and flew in 1992 on space shuttle Endeavour as a science mission specialist. She was the first African-American woman travel in space.

She has set a high bar for the students of Jemison High School. Her achievements should inspire and motivate students in the Huntsville School system to avail themselves of the opportunities offered at her namesake high school.


Dr. Mae Jemison at ribbon cutting ceremony for Dr. Mae Jemison High School, Huntsville, Alabama on Tuesday Aug. 2, 2016. (Bob Gathany/

Women of NASA Lego Kit! You Can Make It A Reality! Vote Today!



Ladies rock outer space!

Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program, a.k.a. NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated — especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

This proposed set celebrates five notable NASA pioneers and provides an educational building experience to help young ones and adults alike learn about the history of women in STEM. The five Women of NASA are:

Margaret Hamilton, computer scientist: While working at MIT under contract with NASA in the 1960s, Hamilton developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo missions to the moon. She is known for popularizing the modern concept of software.

Katherine Johnson, mathematician and space scientist: A longtime NASA researcher, Johnson is best known for calculating and verifying trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo programs — including the Apollo 11 mission that first landed humans on the moon.

Sally Ride, astronaut, physicist, and educator: A physicist by training, Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. After retiring as a NASA astronaut, she founded an educational company focusing on encouraging children — especially girls — to pursue the sciences.

Nancy Grace Roman, astronomer: One of the first female executives at NASA, Roman is known to many as the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. She also developed NASA’s astronomy research program.

Mae Jemison, astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur: Trained as a medical doctor, Jemison became the first African-American woman in space in 1992. After retiring from NASA, Jemison established a company that develops new technologies and encourages students in the sciences.

In addition to a desktop frame that displays these five minifigures and their names, the set includes vignettes depicting: a famous photo of the reams of code that landed astronauts on the moon in 1969; instruments used to calculate and verify trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo missions; a microscale Hubble Space Telescope and display; and a mini space shuttle, complete with external tank and solid rocket boosters.

Thanks in advance for your support! For updates and shareable images, follow here on Lego Ideas and at:

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P.S. If you like this set, you may also enjoy my other Ideas proposals: Legal Justice Team, celebrating women in law | The Bioneers, celebrating women in biological engineering.



Virtual Human

Virtual Human Crucible

Virtual Human

First Transdisciplinary Think Tank on “Virtual Human” Held in Graz, Austria
100 Year Starship® (100YSS) recently hosted its first Crucible™ on “Virtual Human” in Graz, Austria. An invitation-only session, Crucible: Virtual Human examined the major challenges to achieving and maintaining human vitality during months-to-years long deep space travel and identified new concepts for a fully autonomous approach to optimizing health care, rendering treatment and recognizing and addressing unexpected threats and opportunities.

The Crucible: Virtual Human marked the launch of 100YSS’s new Crucible series — intense transdisciplinary think tanks that bring together global experts from varied fields in supportive, resource-rich, and singularly-focused environments to advance the knowledge, technological capabilities and societal systems required for human interstellar travel.

100YSS is the independent, long-term global initiative led by former astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison to ensure the capabilities for human travel beyond our solar system exist within the next 100 years and the advances are applied to enhance life here on Earth every step of the way.

“The sojourn to another star is an incredibly audacious and immensely valuable pursuit to the people on Earth, but it is not an easy one,” said Dr. Mae Jemison, Principal, 100 Year Starship. “With the Crucibles, we want to eliminate the ‘miracle happens here’ conundrums inherent to human interstellar travel and focus on the resultant technologies and insights that can and will enhance life here on Earth.”

The weeklong Crucible: Virtual Human participants included individual scientists, physicians, engineers, software designers, clinicians, and/or researchers with deep expertise in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, biomechanics, pathophysiology of key diseases, pharmacology, neurobiology, robotic surgery, tissue culture, nutrition, data compression, graphics, bioinformatics, data modeling, human-brain interfaces, artificial intelligence, social sciences, space medicine, psychiatry, exercise physiology, behavior and clinical trials.

They hailed from Austria’s Academy of Sciences, Space Science Institute, the University of Klagenfort, Institute of Process and Particle Engineering, the Graz University of Technology and Medical University of Graz; Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, the German Aerospace Center and the German Cancer Research Institute; the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; Italy’s University of Florence; UK’s Mexeler Technologies; France’s University of Savoie Mont-Blanc; and, the United States’ National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, International Space Elevator Consortium, Hololens/Microsoft, Molecular Sciences Institute, Stanford University, Rutgers University and Nature Magazine.

Held in a secluded, private castle in the picturesque countryside of Styria, Austria, Jemison led the think tank, encouraging participants to define specific aspects critical to the robust functioning of human health and physiology modeling.

Discussions focused on achieving and maintaining human vitality during deep space travel and the challenges and rewards of disruptive innovation in healthcare. Participants also took deep dives into the areas of biomechanics, microbiomes, testbeds for therapeutics, platforming for modeling organ interactions, environment interactions, and psychological and cognitive functions. Surgery, manufacturing, development of biotech and pharmaceuticals were also addressed.

Capping the event, participants presented the ideas that emerged at the Space Research Institute at the Austrian Academy of Sciences to an audience of Austrian Academy of Sciences members, special guests, students and interstellar enthusiasts.

Each Crucible will result in a white paper that describes viable new disciplines, outlines potential robust research and development projects, and provides realistic actionable and accountable next steps required to help propel radical leaps in technology, innovation and human systems.

Crucible: Virtual Human was organized and sponsored by 100YSS, its 100YSS@EU Hub and partners Graz University of Technology and Medical University of Graz, MEFOgraz , Das Land Steiermark, ÖAW, Institut für Weltraumforschung and STADT Graz.

Future Crucibles are currently in the planning stages and will be announced in the near future.