More than 40 community college students from across the United States recently accepted quite a challenge—and have the prototype rovers to prove it.
The students were selected—through a competitive process—to participate in the 2012 National Community College Aerospace Scholars project, held Oct. 23-25 at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
During the three-day event, student teams created fictional companies pursuing Mars exploration; they then designed, developed and built a prototype rover. They used their prototypes to navigate a course, collect rocks and water and return to a home base. Students also got to tour Marshall and talk with NASA scientists and engineers.
"If it takes a team to make a dream work, then these students definitely made it work," said Karla Miller, a Will Technology Inc. of Huntsville employee supporting Marshall's Academic Affairs Office. "The students had to work as a team in order to fulfill their design project ideas, and we were so excited to see how enthusiastic they were about getting hands-on engineering experience. We hope that enthusiasm will lead them to careers with NASA one day." Participating students came from colleges in Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
This innovative education program is based on the Texas Aerospace Scholars project, originally created in partnership with NASA and the Texas educational community. NASA Aerospace Scholars programs encourage students to consider careers in science and engineering and eventually join the nation's technical workforce. Participants in the national project were selected based on completion of interactive, web-based assignments throughout the school year.
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For a complete list of the student participants, their states and the community colleges they represent, visit: go.nasa.gov/nccas
For more information about NASA's education program, visit: www.nasa.gov/education