COSI is a balloon-borne soft gamma-ray (0.2-10 MeV) telescope designed to study astrophysical sources of nuclear line emission and gamma-ray polarization. NASA successfully launched this super pressure balloon (SPB) from Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, at 11:35 a.m. Tuesday, May 17, (7:35 p.m. EDT Monday, May 16) on a potentially record-breaking, around-the-world test flight.

See the video in Youtube:

Live trajectory:

A post in the NASA-Wallops-Flight-Facility webpage:

COSI official web-page:




On its way to Pluto, New Horizons became a tool for education like no other probe


The past few days have been a bit distracting for Andrew Poppe.

Back when he was a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, he was in charge of one of the seven New Horizons instruments that collect data from outer space. Now, as a research scientist at the University of California at Berkeley who’s no longer part of the mission, Poppe has found himself glued to the Internet, checking for updates on the spacecraft as it approached Pluto earlier this week.

“It’s certainly very exciting, but it’s weird to think 9½ years have already gone by,” Poppe said.

His work on the historical mission was, in essence, a school project. He spent five years  working with the instrument, called the student dust counter — the first student-made instrument ever attached to a planetary probe.


As a student, he got used to always being the youngest person in the room. And when he graduated in 2011, he handed off his duties to the current instrument operator, Jamey Szalay.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” said Szalay, who had the chance to go to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to witness the mission’s flyby. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s great to be in the drivers seat.”

Operating the student dust counter means keeping track of any grain of space dust that comes in contact with the instrument during the four billion-mile journey to the unexplored dwarf planet and beyond.

The Washington Post complete story.


SSL now accepting applications for summer research programs

ASSURE 2015 flier. Application is open at   Deadline is February 15th, 2015

Apply today for SSL’s 2015 summer research experience for undergraduates program.


The Space Sciences Laboratory is currently taking applications for it’s 2015 summer research experiences for undergraduates program – Advancing Space Sciences through Undergraduate Research Experiences (ASSURE). 
The ASSURE program partners undergraduate students from community colleges and universities around California with leading space science and engineering researchers based at the Space Sciences Laboratory. This program is dedicated to providing opportunities for enthusiastic and dedicated first generation and minority students, or other students for whom a research opportunity may be a challenge. The funded program starts June 8th and runs for 10 weeks. If you have any questions about the program, please email The deadline for 2015 summer program is February 15th 2015. Click here to learn about last years participants and their projects.

2014 AGU Public Lecture on MAVEN mission


The 2014 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Public Lecture will be held this Sunday, December 14th from 12 – 1 p.m. (PST) in the Marriott Marquis on 4th and Mission St. The focus of the lecture will be on the MAVEN mission and the speakers will include MAVEN Principal Investigator, Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN Deputy Project Manager at NASA Goddard, Sandra Cauffman, and MAVEN Interdisciplinary Scientist, Roger Yelle from the The University of Arizona.

At the Public Lecture, the panelists will discuss the mission science concept, science observations made during the cruise to get there, observations of Comet Siding Spring, and early observations of the Mars upper atmosphere. They will also go into detail about how the spacecraft was developed and launched, and the day-to-day operations as it orbits ‪#‎Mars‬.

If you’re in San Francisco or will be for the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting, hop on a cable car and head over to the Marriott Marquis for this year’s public lecture.

For more information, visit:

SSL Holds Star Party Event for At-Risk Youth

On Friday, November 22, 2013, members of SSL’s Center for Science Education (CSE), along with youth in their NASA NOVAS program, held a “star party” for the students of Downtown Continuation High School in San Francisco. This particular continuation school was setup specifically for high school youth not functioning well in regular public school settings, and they are usually not considered to be the type of students that might have an interest in science, or a chance at science careers.  Nevertheless, it’s CSE’s contention that it is never too late to get any young person, no matter their background, excited and engaged with science. The November 22nd star party was open to all of Downtown’s youth, as well as their family members and a few students from other neighboring schools. The event included featured speaker Professor Darryl Stanford from City College of San Mateo, telescope viewing, getting one’s picture taken on Mars (via green screen), an inflatable planetarium show, a DIY constellation art activity, and various science demonstrations by graduate students from UC Berkeley’s Astronomy Department. Special thanks must also go to the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund for helping CSE purchase its telescopes, the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers for bringing their scopes to share, and Goat Hill Pizza for providing significantly discounted pizza for all!

Setting Up for the Downtown Continuation High School Star Party.

Setting Up for the Downtown Continuation High School Star Party.



Join us for Cal Day, Saturday, April 20th, the one day each year that Space Sciences Lab opens its doors to the public. Shuttles will be transporting the public every 20 minutes from Mining Circle on campus to SSL. Hours of activities 11 am – 5 pm.


Walking Tours See UC Berkeley’s cutting-edge space science research lab. Learn about the illustrious 50-year history of NASA missions, visit our 60′ high bay, the cosmochemistry laboratories that analyzed lunar samples, a clean room where a Hubble instrument was built, and a Nobel laureate’s office. Tours start at 11 am and leave every 20 minutes to 4:40pm.

Passports to Science@Cal

passport_cover    Explore the world of science with your Passport to Science@Cal! Pick up a passport at any location listed below, and begin your journey! At each of your destinations, your passport will get a fun stamp or sticker to show where your travels have taken you. Recommended for ages 6 to 12.

Surfin the Solar Wind Participate in fun activities including an trying out an infrared camera, a solar Jeopardy game, and a coronal mass ejection video launcher. Hang out with cool ultraviolet wave “Sonny.” Teen Solar Investigators will be hosting the booth. This event is specifically for teens.

Talks and Panels below will be in the Addition Conference Room

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