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The Final Frontier For Citizen Science

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Are you a hardware hacker? Do you have the Right Stuff to become a citizen scientist or citizen astronaut? Here's your chance to find out.

Citizen scientists and hardware hackers will learn how to do "space on the cheap" at the first Space Hacker Workshop for Suborbital Experiments. Participants at the two-day workshop will learn how they can build and fly experiments in space, and even fly in space as citizen astronauts, through the Citizens in Space program.

The Space Hacker Workshop takes place May 4-5 at the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, California, across the street (literally) from NASA Ames Research Center. The workshop is sponsored by Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, and the Silicon Valley Space Center.

Citizens in Space has purchased 10 flights on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft, now under construction at the Mojave Air and Space Port, which will be made available to the citizen-science community.

"We're looking for 100 citizen-science experiments and 10 citizen astronauts to fly as payload operators," Citizens in Space project manager Edward Wright said. "This is a chance for citizen scientists to develop and test new technologies, like bioreactors and 3D printing, in zero gravity; to collect microorganisms from the extreme upper atmosphere; to experiment with new processes for creating new materials; and do many more cool things. The Space Hacker Workshop will provide participants with information and skills needed to take advantage of our free flight opportunities."

"Space is no longer the exclusive domain of NASA and university scientists," said Dr. Sean Casey, co-founder of the Silicon Valley Space Center. "Citizen scientists can build and fly fully functioning experiments for a few hundred dollars or less, thanks to technology developed here in Silicon Valley. With components available at Radio Shack or Fry's Electronics, citizen scientists can build instruments and experiments with more power than a NASA satellite from a few years back."

"Commercial spaceflight is the next high-tech revolution, making space a participatory frontier," said Dr. Alexander Saltman, executive director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. "This event will tap into the creative spirit that has made Silicon Valley a center of innovation for decades."

The Space Hacker Workshop will provide hands-on exposure to a variety of microcontrollers, sensors, imaging systems, and other components. With these components, participants will learn how to design and build microgravity, fluid-physics, life-science, and engineering experiments.

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