NASA aeronautics researchers will judge the 2010/2011 Real World Design Challenge and provide technical advice and guidance to high school students participating in the aviation-themed contest.
Contest organizers hope the students will be inspired by their involvement to pursue careers in science, engineering, math and technology.
NASA is one of almost three dozen academic, corporate and government partners supporting Real World Design Challenge. Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics research, helped kick off the national contest at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 20.
"In the first century of flight, NASA made countless contributions to aviation by improving performance, efficiency and safety. Just as we needed the brightest minds for all those contributions, we need the brightest minds now and in the future to develop, operate and improve our future air transportation system," Shin told students, educators and dignitaries gathered at the kickoff event.
"As the United States enters the second century of flight, NASA Aeronautics will maintain its commitment not only to excellence in research, but also to investment in education to prepare, inspire, excite, encourage and nurture the young minds of today who will be the engine of innovation of tomorrow," Shin added.
Teams of three to seven high school students from at least 29 states and the District of Columbia will compete to design a more fuel-efficient airplane. They will use professional engineering software to design an airliner wing that is more efficient yet allows the use of lighter weight materials and structure than conventional wings.
Teams must register by Nov. 19 and submit solutions by Jan. 31, 2011. The winning team from each state will advance to the national finals in Washington, D.C. in April. For more information or to register a team, visit the Real World Challenge Web site.
NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate