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Victoria Steiner                                                                                               Sept. 1, 2004    

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-0176

E-mail: Victoria.L.Steiner@nasa.gov              


RELEASE: 04-82AR

NASA INVITES STUDENTS TO EXPERIENCE REAL-WORLD SCIENCE

NASA scientists continue to inspire the next generation of explorers, as they invite high-school students to participate in a new nationwide science contest. The Hyper-G contest begins today and closes October 8, 2004.

Teams of students will compete for the opportunity to conduct their own research using one of the agency's state-of-the-art, ground-based, hypergravity facilities, the International Space Station Test Bed Centrifuge at NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, Calif.

Hypergravity is levels of gravity above 1g, or greater than Earth's gravity.

"NASA researchers conduct hypergravity experiments on centrifuges to understand how gravity causes changes in humans and other living organisms," said Jeff Smith,

Assistant Chief of Gravitational Biology Research and lead project scientist at ARC. "Understanding how a particular species changes in hypergravity makes it much easier to predict and understand how it will change in space or on another planet," Smith added.

Each student team begins the contest process with a letter of intent stating their idea for a scientific experiment. In the fall, the young explorers will provide a proposal describing the details of the team's research. NASA engineers and scientists will be available to advise students throughout the proposal development process and to provide feedback to teams after proposals are submitted.

The selected team and adult advisor will visit ARC to conduct their experiment and tour facilities. During their visit, students will have a unique opportunity to experience the real world application of science and engineering. Teachers will have the opportunity to guide their students through the scientific process, while learning about current hands-on methods in biology, physics and mathematics as they relate to NASA's Exploration Biology research.

"Experience is the best teacher and the best means of influencing thoughts toward a lifetime career in science and engineering," said Bonnie Dalton, ARC Deputy Director of Astrobiology and Space Research. "By participating in this competition students will gain experience that is only available to research scientists and engineers working within the field of space biology," she said.

For more information about the competition, call 650-604-1387, or visit:

http://lifesci.arc.nasa.gov

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