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03-007
For Release: January 30, 2003

Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office
216/433-2406
katherine.martin@nasa.gov


Microgravity Experimenter Teams Selected

Behavior of various phenomena in the absence of gravity is the focus of successful proposals from four high school teams recently selected by NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, to participate in the Dropping In a Microgravity Environment (DIME) Program.

Microgravity investigations will be conducted in Magnetic Force by a team from Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Sonoluminescence (sound and light) by the Gettysburg Area High School in Gettysburg, Pa., in Buoyancy by Troy Athens High School in Troy, Mich., and in Crystal Formation of Supercooled Water by a team from Cleveland Heights High School, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

DIME is a project-oriented educational program consisting of scientific investigations and design challenges that last one full school year for the selected teams. The program links students directly to NASA's diverse and exciting missions of research and discovery. Teams that entered the DIME competition developed a hypothesis that could be tested through experiments and then prepared a scientific research proposal based on their hypothesis.

"DIME provides the opportunity for high school age students to progress through the experimental process from conception to final report just as NASA researchers do in their work," said Richard DeLombard, aerospace engineer at Glenn and project manager for the DIME Program. "We look forward to working with the student teams when they test their experiments at NASA."

After designing, building and testing their experiments in one-g (Earth's gravity), the teams will visit Glenn from April 29 through May 1 for DIME Drop Days. During this time, they operate their experiment in the 2.2 Second Drop Tower, participate in microgravity workshops and tour some of the major Glenn facilities. In addition, the students' operations in the Drop Tower will be webcast so that many other students can benefit from the experience.

For the first two pilot years, the competition entertained proposals only from Glenn's six state region. This year, teams based in all fifty states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico were eligible to enter. Glenn evaluators did not know the location or identity of the sixteen proposals received in order to promote fair and impartial evaluation of the scientific content of the teams' proposals.

More information about the DIME competition can be found at:

http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/DIME.html

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