Student Teams Prepare to "Drop" at NASA Glenn
They've been working all school year in classrooms, labs and basements and will now get the chance to test their work at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland. Four student teams arrive at Glenn next week to watch their experiments perform in weightlessness conditions.
NASA Glenn will conduct DIME (Dropping In a Microgravity Environment) Drop Days for the fifth straight year on April 19-21. The teams and their experiments which have been selected to participate this year are:
- Tualatin High School, Tualatin, Ore.
Creating an Isolated Droplet in Zero Gravity
- Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook, Ill.
Interactions in Microgravity Conditions
- Columbus High School, Columbus, Ga.
Microgravity Effects on Newly Discovered Light-Reactive Film
- Troy Athens High School, Troy, Mich.
The Drag Force in Microgravity
DIME is a NASA science competition sponsored by Glenn for high school student teams. The project-oriented educational program consists of testing students' hypotheses with investigations and design challenges throughout one school year. DIME links students directly to NASA's diverse and exciting missions of research, exploration and discovery of new concepts.
Early in the school year, student teams throughout the country developed a hypothesis that could be tested through experimentation and prepared a proposal for how to complete the testing. Four teams were then selected to proceed to design and build their experiments.
NASA provides travel funds for four students and an adult advisor from each selected team to come to Glenn for the 3-day DIME Drop Days. During this time, the student teams see how their experiment performs in a reduced-gravity environment in Glenn's 2.2 Second Drop Tower under the guidance of NASA Glenn scientists and engineers.
"The scientific process the students go through is similar to the processes NASA researchers use," said Richard DeLombard, DIME creator and coordinator as well as electrical engineer in the Human Health & Performance Systems Project Office. "The students experience first hand what NASA researchers do in their work."
In addition to the drop tower experience, the student teams visiting Glenn will participate in a SCUBA orientation on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. Each student team must construct a large device similar to an International Space Station hatch while underwater. After construction, each team member must successfully swim through it. The purpose of the activity is to parallel the training that astronauts experience at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
While at Glenn, the teams will also tour several of the Center's major facilities and reduced-gravity laboratories, and participate in workshops. The teams will also analyze their experiment's data with their Glenn mentor.
A webcast of the drop tower activities will offer students in classrooms everywhere an opportunity to observe each student teams' experiment drop. Observers will also have the ability to e-mail questions to the Glenn scientists and participating team members. The program is open to student teams that may be comprised of groups such as science classes, clubs or scout troops. To be eligible for participation in this annual event, a team must develop an experiment concept, prepare a proposal and submit the proposal to Glenn by November 1. Teams are judged on the following criteria: scientific objectives, creativity and originality. A panel of Glenn exploration researchers, scientists and engineers evaluate the proposals.
More information about the DIME program, including instructions to access the webcast, can be found on the Internet at: http://exploration.grc.nasa.gov/DIME.html
Note to Editors: News Directors: Media representatives are invited to the 2.2 Second Drop Tower for the team DIME Drops on either Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. for the initial session drops or Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the science competition. News media planning on covering the event should call Katherine Martin or the Media Relations Office, 216-433-2901, in advance, in order to be cleared through security.
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