NASA Exploration Design Challenge

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Become part of space history

What: NASA learning challenge for K-12 students
Information: For details, see the Exploration Design Challenge website
Deadline: The deadline to register students for the virtual crew is March 14, 2014.

In March, NASA launched an exciting new partnership with Lockheed Martin to engage students in America’s next phase of human space exploration. The Exploration Design Challenge (EDC) invites students from kindergarten through 12th grade to learn more about one of the biggest challenges NASA faces before sending humans beyond low-Earth orbit: space radiation. Through a series of age-appropriate activities, participants will learn about radiation and its effects on humans and hardware destined for asteroids, Mars or other deep space locations. Orion is the vehicle for these space destinations and will make its maiden test flight in 2014.

The youngest explorers (K-4) will complete NASA education activities related to radiation. Upon completion, a teacher or other adult may submit the students’ names to be flown on the 2014 Orion flight as honorary virtual crewmembers.

Those same opportunities are open to students in grades 5-8, but they also will design and develop a radiation shield prototype. Instructions, guidebooks and related content are provided on the EDC website.

High school participants have an even greater challenge – and opportunity! In addition to the activities listed above, teams of students will design a radiation shield prototype that meets established criteria and constraints. Teams will submit their designs, and the top five designs selected will be tested in a virtual radiation simulator. The winning team will travel to Florida for Orion’s launch and have its design flown aboard the spacecraft!

This is an exciting, hands-on way to get students inspired and interested in what NASA does now and the grand plans ahead! All the details for the EDC and information on how to participate are on NASA’s website.

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