NASA has awarded five one-year U.S. National Laboratory education cooperative agreements to provide hands-on science and engineering opportunities for college and university students.
Experiments proposed in two of the projects will be flown on the International Space Station in the near future.
Students at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss., will study the feasibility of incubating organisms in a simulated Martian environment. Undergraduate student teams at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., will use the Capillary Fluid Experiment hardware to investigate fluid physics in microgravity and work on the project with students at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University in Greensboro, N.C.
Three universities will use funding for ground-based experiments. San Jacinto Community College in Houston will coordinate a challenge for college students to train in underwater robotics and coach middle school science classrooms to build and operate underwater robots. Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, will train students in project management in conjunction with HUNCH, which is short for high school students united with NASA to create hardware. Graduate students at the University of Houston will provide systems engineering expertise to HUNCH participants.
The agency solicited proposals in February in areas within the International Space Station’s National Laboratory Education Project and is awarding about $863,000 collectively to the five institutions. The project strengthens the link between the unique venue of the space station and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. It serves as a resource to enable education activities aboard the space station and in the classroom, through the web and on mobile media.