Thursday, May 17, 2012

Calling Cosmonauts From Home!

Shadow-Mayak, MAI-75
Educating future generations of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians is a global effort - one that includes the contributions of the Russian Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos. One of the main objectives of activities aboard the International Space Station is the implementation of educational and outreach projects that contribute to attracting young people to study science.

These projects also help create modern high-technology equipment and increase support in society for space programs in general and the space station program in particular. Currently on board the Russian segment of the station are four space investigations that have educational components. Coulomb Crystal, Shadow-Mayak, MAI-75 and Great Start continue to demonstrate great benefits in capturing the imagination of students across the Russian region.

Coulomb Crystal is an investigation aimed at studying the dynamics of solid dispersed environments in an inhomogeneous magnetic field in microgravity. Pilot studies onboard the station explore the structural properties of Coulomb clusters -- liquid crystal phase transitions, wave processes and the physical and mechanical characteristics of its heating mechanism, to name a few. Students at all levels of schooling, including secondary school and college, have had the opportunity to prepare and conduct the experiment on the ground.

Shadow-Mayak is a VHF radio beacon that allows amateur radio enthusiasts to communicate with crew on board the station. The presence of this equipment on board the Russian segment of the station serves as a learning tool for students in the area of space communications. They study the conditions of the admission -- transfer of the radio beacon using the world amateur radio network. They also study the characteristics and spatial distribution of the intensity of the radio broadcast and rebroadcast from the onboard transceiver transmitter. 

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