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May 23, 2012
RELEASE JE12-008
NASA and Houston School Partner to Engage Future Explorers

HOUSTON – NASA's Johnson Space Center has partnered with the Houston Independent School District's Booker T. Washington High School to inspire the next generation of explorers through hands-on science and engineering projects.

The partnership will enable students in the school's engineering magnet program to work on NASA projects associated with the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Directorate through the High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware, or HUNCH, program.

Through the program, students will have the opportunity to learn about and study realistic problems related to NASA's spaceflight and research programs and to create hardware prototypes, simulated space hardware, research results or other solutions for NASA's review and use. Students are currently developing a high-altitude suborbital rocket that will fly a NASA-provided micro-camera. The project will help NASA demonstrate the first steps for economical exploration-focused observation missions above the majority of Earth's atmosphere. They also are working on an interface compatible with Robonaut 2 for a surface reflectance spectrometer as part of the Moon Mars Analog Mission Activities program. The spectrometer will help provide mineralogical content of rock samples.

"Working with the Booker T. Washington High School for Engineering Professions gives JSC and ARES the opportunity to help guide the development and test of prototype equipment the students have built for our science instruments. Having the next generation of engineers and scientists with real build experience gives us a very positive outlook for the future," said Eileen K. Stansbery, Director of the ARES Directorate at Johnson.

Washington High School educates a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Through NASA, magnet program students will be able to access a variety of tools and raw materials, and gain insight into the kinds of projects and pressures that career engineers and scientists may face.

HUNCH is an instructional partnership between NASA, high schools and intermediate/middle schools which benefits both NASA and students. NASA receives cost- effective hardware and soft goods that are fabricated by the students. The students receive hands-on experiences and, in some cases, NASA certification in the development of training hardware for the International Space Station crew members or ground support personnel.

For more information on HUNCH or other NASA education programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/education

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Rachel Kraft
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111

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