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Guest: Bjarke Gotfredsen; Topics: XINABOX STEM in South Africa, STEM global learning tools, searching for Mars life via the Andes, small satellites and more.
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We welcomed Bjarke Gotfredsen from Cape Town, SA to the show for a 67 minute one segment discussion about STEM in South Africa, global STEM learning with technology tools, astrobiology partnerships with the Carl Sagan Center at SETI, searching for Mars life via the Andes and much more. Please follow along with our guest with the XINABOX website: www.xinabox.cc. For most of our 67 minute program, Bjarke explained XINABOX to us, the STEM outreach educational efforts for the benefit of South African girls, the global training and STEM workshops plus the electronic tools available from their website for STEM learning worldwide. He talked about why their STEM outreach inside of South Africa was focused on girls. Our guest then talked about the electronic tools, how simple they were to assemble, disassemble, and even use again for a possibly different use or purpose. In addition, Bjarke talked about STEM workshops and training outside of South Africa. During his very detailed description of the company and its projects, he focused in on cubesats, working with Dr. Robert Twiggs, building their own satellite, balloon learning projects, and the development and use of temperature sensors. Check out the website projects page for more information on their projects: https://xinabox.cc/blogs/projects.
About 40 minutes into the program, we started taking listener email questions. One wanted a clarification of the STEM program only being for girls. Bjarke did a great job in offering clarification on this and then explained the two track focus, one for in South Africa which focused on girls and then the global one which was a totally different type of STEM learning program. Other listener emails wanted to know more about the learning tool kits displayed on the website. It appears they wanted more information on how they were put together, the needed programming and more. As you will hear, the programming was a big part of the learning project. Our guest actually spent considerable time talking about the need to learn programming which he said was probably the most challenging part of working with the learning tool kits.
As we were nearing the end of the program, our guest talked about working with Dr. John Hines who retired from NASA Ames plus Dr. Nathalie Cabrol, the director of the Carl Sagan Center at SETI in Mountain View, California. He briefly explained a project involving these people and his organization to search for life possibilities on Mars by going to the Andes. I will get more information on this project and let you know about it when I know more about it. Note that Dr. Cabrol was a guest on The Space Show earlier this year on May 7, 2018. I will extend an invitation to Dr. Cabrol to return to the program to discuss this Mars life search program in more detail. Dr. Cabrol did a related TED talk in 2015 which you should listen to if interested in this topic. We also talked about the role of the Andes when she was a guest on The Space Show. Her TED talk is here: www.ted.com/talks/nathalie_cabrol_how_mars_might_hold_the_secret_to_the_origin_of_life. The TED Talk description for her is as follows: "While we like to imagine little green men, it's far more likely that life on other planets will be microbial. Planetary scientist Nathalie Cabrol takes us inside the search for microbes on Mars, a hunt which counterintuitively leads us to the remote lakes of the Andes mountains. This extreme environment — with its thin atmosphere and scorched land — approximates the surface of Mars about 3.5 billion years ago. How microbes adapt to survive here may just show us where to look on Mars — and could help us understand why some microbial pathways lead to civilization while others are a dead end."
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this program. You can reach our gust Bjarke Gotfredsen through me or his website per above.