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NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Student Awards Ceremony
image of NASA Optimus Prime AwardOptimus Prime 'Transformer' Trophy award presented to students of the winning videos.
image of CullenPeter Cullen, voice of Optimus Prime, speaks to the students at the Optimus Prime awards.
On April 12, 2011, students were presented the NASA OPTIMUS PRIME trophy during a special awards ceremony at the U.S. Space Foundation (USSF) National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, CO. The students were recognized for producing short videos about their favorite technology published in NASA's Spinoff publication. Kevin Cook, USSF Director of Space Awareness commented, "The Space Foundation is proud to continue our longstanding partnership with NASA at this 27th National Space Symposium and are happy to support the Optimus Prime Challenge which, like the Space Technology Hall of Fame, highlights the benefits of space technologies here on Earth. This event, like our own Space Awareness and Educational programs, demonstrates the commitment to both NASA and the Space Foundation to our next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers."

The OPTIMUS PRIME Award promotes NASA spinoffs, recognizes innovation through technology transfer and promotes innovative communication of spinoff stories to the public through video. The winning video for third through fifth grades category was based on the 2009 Spinoff story originating from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston "Fabrics Protect Sensitive Skin from UV Rays." It is about how NASA technology used in clothing is helping to protect the wearer's skin against exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. The winner for sixth through eighth grades was based on the 2009 Spinoff story originating from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Star-Mapping Tools Enable Tracking of Endangered Animals." It is about how a star-mapping algorithm used on the Hubble Space Telescope is helping scientists track endangered animals.

NASA collaborated with Hasbro using the correlation between the popular TRANSFORMERS brand, featuring its leader OPTIMUS PRIME, and spinoffs from NASA technologies created for aeronautics and space missions used here on Earth. The goal was to help students understand how NASA technology 'transforms' into things used daily. "This activity correlates well with NASA's goal to inspire the next generation about science and technology. We are encouraged by the contest participants and students we have here today, and are looking forward to the partnership between NASA, the Space Foundation, and Hasbro flourishing in the years to come”, said Nona Cheeks, Technology Partnerships Chief at Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA plans to have the contest again this year, expanding the pool of contestants to ninth through 12th graders with videos about technologies from NASA Spinoff 2010 publication.

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