Recently, I noticed that the different font rendering under Windows 7 broke the layout of the top menu on this blog a little bit – this never bothered me because I had no other operating systems than Windows XP on my computers before I got my new laptop! But because the layout was also a bit wonky under Android, I have fixed this now and also slightly overhauled the top menu. To make room for a long needed Science button, I made the plunge and changed the site logo to BIBRA.EU. This domain has been active for a while and already redirects to the blog, but next year I will move the whole site to the new address. Otherwise, everything is going to remain the same here for the time being, meaning that it’s still going to be my all-purpose blog for everything that does not fit into my other sites.
There’s also something else going on… I completely forgot to mention it here because I was so busy, but I have been building a new website for the WSH Crew Google+ Community this Summer! This means that the old Hangout Schedule Index which I had been maintaining here on the blog is now a part of the new website, but apart from some major layout improvements it is still the same page administrated by yours truly in cooperation with the other WSH Crew admins Nancy Graziano, Hugo Burnham, Silvan Wespi and Jim Meeker. The WSH Crew Community is also the reason I don’t write as much about science and astronomy here on this site at the moment, since we are posting all the interesting news over there, but I will probably still write the occasional article now and then. For everything else, go and join the WSH Crew Community – it’s a nice and cozy place and in addition to lots of space news we always keep everyone updated about which hangouts are happening.
So the changes here are actually not very earth-shattering, but at least I got around to work on the site a little bit. Maybe there will be more improvements along the way sometime!
This blog post comes a little late, although I had shared the news on the social media channels before: CosmoQuest has been saved! After the citizen science project had lost its primary NASA funding in October 2014 after having been hit with the sequestration before, it was held alive by donations, among them the very successful Hangoutathon from this spring, but even the most generous donations only go so far. Because of this, CosmoQuest director Pamela Gay has been tirelessly writing proposals to replace the lost NASA grant and on September 25, she got the news everbody involved in CosmoQuest had been waiting for: WE GOT FUNDING.
This is the good news – CosmoQuest will receive NASA funding for at least five years, but it is not exactly clear how much yet. On September 25, NASA had announced that 27 organisations, among them CosmoQuest, have been selected as Science Education Partners for STEM Agreements – altogether, a sum of $42 Million will be given out, but how this is going to be distributed is still in the future. If it would be divided equally, each grant applicant would get about $1.5 Million, which does not seem much over five years, but it would certainly be a windfall for CosmoQuest, which has been surviving on a few ten thousands for more than a year. The bottom line is that this is not about simply spending money but about giving scientists a chance to do research and support education – and scientists are humans like everyone else who need to be paid for their work. Other bills have to be paid too, of course – but this is all about the people doing the science.
While everyone waits for more details to come out, there is always more citizen science to do on CosmoQuest – there are still other worlds to map, especially Mars! And Pamela Gay has also hinted that there may be another CosmoQuest Hangoutathon sometime – but with less begging and more science. Let’s see what the future brings… it already looks pretty good now and I think CosmoQuest can really celebrate its fourth Birthday on January 1, 2016!