WASHINGTON - NASA and the Challenger Center for Space Education have partnered to engage students in ongoing activities for one of NASA's concepts for astronaut housing on the moon through a contest to name a habitat in Antarctica. NASA currently is conducting a test of a lightweight, durable, inflatable habitat on the cold, harsh landscape of the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station.
The Challenger Center is organizing and conducting the "Name that Habitat" competition for students in sixth through tenth grades from Oct 21 to Nov. 20, 2008. The Challenger Center will recruit subject matter experts to serve as judges for the contest and will provide prizes and other items for the winner and participants. The winning name will be selected later this year and announced by scientists in Antarctica in January 2009. Student, teachers and the public will be able to follow the progress of inflatable habitat activities throughout the project.
The habitat was funded through NASA's Innovative Partnership Program's Seed Fund initiative, with in-kind resource contributions by the National Science Foundation and ILC Dover of Frederica, Del., the manufacturer of the structure. An inflatable habitat is one of several concepts being considered for astronaut housing on the moon.
The structure looks something like an inflatable backyard bounce house for children, but it is far more sophisticated. It is insulated, heated and is pressurized, and has power. It offers 384 square feet of living space and has, at its highest point, an 8-foot ceiling. During the test period, sensors will allow engineers to monitor the habitat's performance.
The contest helps NASA fulfill its mission to promote an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The Challenger Center is an international, nonprofit educational organization founded in 1986 by the families of the astronauts lost during the last flight of the space shuttle Challenger. The goal of the organization is to foster student interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
For more information about entering the Name that Habitat contest, visit:
The inflatable habitat is being developed under NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program. For more information about the program, visit:
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