Space

March 11, 2013

NASA launches Exploration Design Challenge

NASA unveiled an Exploration Design Challenge March 11 to give students from kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to play a unique role in the future of human spaceflight.

The innovative educational opportunity was announced in a special event at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The challenge asks students in the U.S. and abroad to think and act like scientists to overcome one of the major hurdles for deep space long-duration exploration – protecting astronauts and hardware from the dangers of space radiation.

This education-focused effort was developed through a Space Act Agreement between NASA and Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., in collaboration with the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Va. The goal is to help students see their role in America’s future exploration endeavors.

“America’s next step in human space exploration is an ambitious one and will require new technologies, including ways to keep our astronauts safe from the effects of deep-space radiation,” Bolden said. “That is the focus of this challenge, and we are excited students will be helping us solve that problem.”

The announcement took place in front of a full-size Orion replica at Johnson’s Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. Orion is the spacecraft that will take astronauts to deep space destinations in the future. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer, Lockheed Martin CEO and President Marillyn Hewson, and NASA Associate Administrator for Education Leland Melvin were at the event. They were joined by local teacher Amber Pinchback, who offered an educator’s perspective on the value of NASA missions and programs and how they benefit science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the classroom.

“Space exploration has inspired and fascinated young people for generations, and the Exploration Design Challenge is a unique way to capture and engage the imaginations of tomorrow’s engineers and scientists,” Hewson said.

The first Orion test mission in space is called Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1). The mission is set to lift off in 2014 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Melvin, a two-time shuttle astronaut, explained the details of the challenge and shared why hands-on experience and involvement is an effective catalyst for engaging young minds in the future of America’s human spaceflight program.

“Exploration Flight Test-1 is set to launch next year, so participating in this challenge will give the students a real sense of being part of the NASA team,” Melvin said. “They will be able to chart Orion’s progress as it moves closer to the test launch. That’s important because these students represent our future scientists, engineers and explorers.”

NASA is planning for longer human space exploration missions outside the protective blanket of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. NASA, Lockheed Martin and other partners are developing the Orion spacecraft to carry astronauts farther into space than humans ever have gone before. To do this, materials must be engineered for the spacecraft that will better protect future space explorers from the dangers of space radiation. In 2017, NASA’s Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, currently in development, will send Orion on a flight test mission around the moon.

NASA’s Exploration Design Challenge brings cutting-edge learning to educators and students using standards-based activities, as well as print and video resources developed by leading education experts. Students taking part in the challenge will discover how to plan and design improved radiation shielding aboard the new spacecraft.

Younger students, in grades K-4 and 5-8, will analyze different materials that simulate space radiation shielding for Orion and recommend materials that best block harmful radiation and protect astronauts. Students in grades 9-12 will learn about radiation and human space travel in greater detail. Using what they have learned, they will be asked to think and act like engineers by designing shielding that protects a sensor on the Orion capsule from space radiation.

To learn more about the Exploration Design Challenge and sign up to become a virtual crew member, visit http://www.nasa.gov/education/edc.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

NASA Hubble instruments highlight new National Air and Space Museum exhibit

Two instruments that played critical roles in discoveries made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope now are on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. “Repairing Hubble” recognizes the 24th anniversary of Hubble’s launch into space aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. The exhibit features Hubble’s Corrective...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio

NASA satellites show drought may take toll on Congo rainforest

Image courtesy of NASA GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio In the Congo rainforest, a browning trend (brown) dominates smaller areas that show a greening trend (green) during April, May and June each year from 2000 to 2012. A ...
 
 

Second series of CASIS-sponsored research payloads launch to ISS

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is proud to announce several sponsored research payloads have launched to the International Space Station onboard the Space Exploration Technology Corporation’s Dragon cargo capsule. This marks the second series of investigations headed to the station that are sponsored by CASIS, the nonprofit responsible for managing research...
 

 

NASA selects commercial crew program manager

NASA has selected Kathy Lueders as program manager for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lueders, who has served as acting program manager since October 2013, will help keep the nation’s space program on course to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017 aboard spacecraft built by American companies. “This is a particularly critical time for...
 
 
NASA image by Kathy Reilly

NASA innovative advanced concept program seeks phase II proposals

NASA image by Kathy Reilly This artist’s concept conveys elements of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program – creative and forward-thinking approaches to aerospace architecture, mission, and system concep...
 
 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>