Making something that flies in space is a big deal.
Some grown-ups work for years to design things that will go into space.
Image above: The winning pennant design will fly on the space shuttle. Credit: NASA
But this summer, NASA will let a student send something into orbit.
NASA, AOL's kids service KOL and Mad Science are holding a contest. It is the NASA Space Pennant Design Challenge. It is for students who are 6 to 12 years old. Students designed flags called pennants. The pennants are about the STS-118 space shuttle mission. They may also be about the Vision for Space Exploration. The winning design will fly on the space shuttle.
The STS-118 shuttle flight will be a special mission. It will be the first flight of a teacher who has become a fully trained astronaut. This Educator Astronaut's name is Barbara Morgan. The STS-118 crew will help build the space station.
The Vision for Space Exploration is an idea that has to do with people doing more to explore space. Through the Vision, astronauts will visit the moon. They will then travel to Mars and beyond.
Students did more than design a pennant. They learned about their subject. They used what they learned in their design. Then, they wrote an essay. The essays tell how the pennants show what the students learned.
By designing pennants, students learned about spaceflight. They found out about the science NASA uses. And they learned more about why exploring space is important.
Pennant designs were sent in between March 15 and April 10, 2007. Judges picked two designs from each of three age groups. Those groups are for ages 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12. One winner was chosen by people who voted online for their favorite design.
The top winner will get to go to Florida to see the STS-118 shuttle launch. A parent or guardian will go with the winning student. The winner's design will fly on the shuttle.
The six finalists will each get a signed picture of the STS-118 crew. The winning designs will be used in a NASA game. NASA will visit the finalists' schools. Their schools will also get NASA materials. They will be given seeds that were flown in space on STS-118. All students who send in designs will receive certificates.
Today's students will be the people who make NASA's future happen. That is why NASA is helping students learn. NASA wants to get students excited about things like science and math. That way, those students will want to become the scientists, engineers and astronauts of the future.
David Hitt/NASA Educational Technology Services