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Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-0836)

Rob Gutro/Mike Bettwy
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/286-4044)

May 27, 2004
RELEASE : 04-172
Students Compete In An Odyssey To Solve NASA-Sponsored Problem
Students from around the world will participate in the Odyssey of the Mind 25th World Finals at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., May 29 - June 1.

NASA's Office of Earth Science provided a grant to develop one of the long-term challenges for this year's competition. The challenge, "Strategy Sphere," requires teams to design two devices that will propel balls through a circular hoop. Teams will also create a device to retrieve the balls after they are launched. All aspects of the problem solution will be integrated into a theme about how a change in the Earth's surface, affects the atmosphere.

NASA expects to inspire nearly two million students, parents, teachers, and coaches around the world through its sponsorship of Odyssey of the Mind problems by encouraging interest and learning about Earth system science.

"Odyssey of the Mind is a natural partnership with NASA's Office of Earth Science, whose goal is to understand and protect our home planet," said Dr. Michael King, Earth Observing System Senior Project Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Exploration of scientific principles and creative solutions through sound engineering is valuable training and exciting to students the world over. NASA's interest in developing a deeper understanding and awareness of Earth's complex processes and man's impact on his or her environment is enabled by teaching the world's students to think 'outside the box' and solve complex problems about the environment," he added.

NASA supported Odyssey's preliminary competitions by posting Earth science information on a special Web site. Web links were provided to assist students in developing solutions to problems facing the Earth.

The Odyssey of the Mind program was founded in 1978. It is an international educational program promoting team effort and creative problem solving for students from kindergarten through college. Thousands of teams from the U.S. and other countries participate in the program. Teams participating in the finals advanced from local, state, regional and country competitions.

NASA's Earth Science Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System Science to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.

For images and information about Odyssey of the Mind on the Internet, visit:

To access the Odyssey of the Mind official Web site on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA's Odyssey of the Mind Strategy Sphere challenge, on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA, Education, Earth Science and other agency programs on the Internet, visit:


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