Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Community college scholars to design rovers

JPL Pasadena - Community college students will have the chance to design robotic rovers in cooperation with NASA. Ninety-two students from schools in 24 states have been selected to travel to a NASA center, including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA., to develop rovers through the National Community College Aerospace Scholars program. The initiative provides hands-on opportunities to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Students will visit either JPL from May 1 to 3, or NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston from May 9 to 11. The teams will establish fictional companies pursuing Mars exploration. Each team will develop, design and build a prototype rover, then use their prototypes to navigate a course, collect rocks and water and return to a home base.

"I am so proud of the Community College Aerospace Scholars program," said Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for education. "Community colleges offer NASA a great pool of STEM talent critical to our scientific and exploration initiatives. They also serve a large portion of our nation's minority students. Engaging these underserved and underrepresented learners in STEM initiatives helps NASA build a more inclusive and diverse workforce for the future."
 
Participants were selected based on completion of interactive web-based assignments throughout the school year. The on-site experience this spring includes a tour of NASA facilities and briefings from agency scientists and engineers.

The program is based on the Texas Aerospace Scholars program, originally created in partnership with NASA and the Texas educational community. Aerospace Scholars programs are designed to encourage students to enter careers in science and engineering and ultimately join the nation's technical workforce.

For a complete list of the student participants, their states and the community colleges they represent, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/nccas. For more information about NASA's education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education

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