High school students create winning design for NASA's first flight of Orion

April 28, 2014 by Ann Marie Trotta
NASA’s Administrator, Charles Bolden (left), Marillyn Hewson, President/CEO of Lockheed Martin (right), and astronaut Rex Walheim (back) stand with Team ARES, from the Governors School for Science and Technology in Hampton, Va. , winners of the Exploration Design Challenge high school competition. Credit: NASA

(Phys.org) —After a year-long competition among high school teams across the country, evaluators from NASA, Lockheed Martin and the National Institute of Aerospace have selected Team ARES, from the Governor's School for Science and Technology in Hampton, Va., as the winner of the high school portion of the Exploration Design Challenge (EDC).

The announcement Friday came during a ceremony held at the opening of the 2014 USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington. Team ARES was chosen from a group of five finalist teams announced in March.

The EDC was developed to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by inviting them to help tackle one of the most significant dangers of human space flight—radiation exposure.

"This is a great day for Team ARES – you have done a remarkable job," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who helped announce the winning team. He continued, "I really want to congratulate all of our finalists. You are outstanding examples of the power of American innovation. Your passion for discovery and the creative ideas you have brought forward have made us think and have helped us take a fresh look at a very challenging problem on our path to Mars."

Team ARES now will work with the NASA and Lockheed Martin spacecraft integration team to have the product of their experimental design approved for spaceflight. Once the equipment is approved, engineers will install it onto Orion's crew module. Later this year, when Orion launches into orbit during Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), Lockheed Martin will host Team ARES at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch their experiment launch into space.

During the EFT-1, Orion will fly through the Van Allen Belt, a dense radiation field that surrounds the Earth in a protective shell of electrically charged ions. Understanding and mitigating radiation exposure during Orion's flight test can help scientists develop protective solutions before the first crewed mission. After EFT-1, the students will receive data indicating how well their design protected a dosimeter, an instrument used for measuring radiation exposure.

Speaking at the U.S.A Science and Engineering Festival, Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson said, "The Exploration Design Challenge has already reached 127,000 students worldwide – engaging them in real-world engineering challenges and igniting their imaginations about the endless possibilities of space discovery."

Students around the world in grades K-12 still can be part of Orion's first flight by completing an online radiation shielding activity. Students who complete the activity by June 30 will have their names flown as virtual crew members aboard Orion.

Explore further: NASA's Orion spacecraft powers through first integrated system testing

More information: www.nasa.gov/education/edc

Related Stories

NASA's Orion spacecraft comes to life

October 29, 2013

(Phys.org) —NASA's first-ever deep space craft, Orion, has been powered on for the first time, marking a major milestone in the final year of preparations for flight.

Image: Readying Orion for flight

June 26, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The NASA team at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has completed the final weld on the first space-bound Orion capsule. The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) Orion will be shipped to the Kennedy Space ...

Orion Crew capsule targeted for 2014 leap to high orbit

March 21, 2012

NASA is on course to make the highest leap in human spaceflight in nearly 4 decades when an unmanned Orion crew capsule blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a high stakes, high altitude test flight in early 2014.

Recommended for you

Mars rover Opportunity on walkabout near rim

June 23, 2017

NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is examining rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater for signs that they may have been either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind.

CHESS mission will check out the space between stars

June 23, 2017

Deep in space between distant stars, space is not empty. Instead, there drifts vast clouds of neutral atoms and molecules, as well as charged plasma particles called the interstellar medium—that may, over millions of years, ...

Dutch astronomers discover recipe to make cosmic glycerol

June 23, 2017

A team of laboratory astrophysicists from Leiden University (the Netherlands) managed to make glycerol under conditions comparable to those in dark interstellar clouds. They allowed carbon monoxide ice to react with hydrogen ...

Scientists uncover origins of the Sun's swirling spicules

June 22, 2017

At any given moment, as many as 10 million wild jets of solar material burst from the sun's surface. They erupt as fast as 60 miles per second, and can reach lengths of 6,000 miles before collapsing. These are spicules, and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.