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High-school Student Teams in a National NASA Microgravity Science CompetitionThe Dropping In a Microgravity Environment or DIME competition for high-school-aged student teams has completed the first year for nationwide eligibility after two regional pilot years. With the expanded geographic participation and increased complexity of experiments, new lessons were learned by the DIME staff. A team participating in DIME will research the field of microgravity, develop a hypothesis, and prepare a proposal for an experiment to be conducted in a NASA microgravity drop tower. A team of NASA scientists and engineers will select the top proposals and then the selected teams will design and build their experiment apparatus. When completed, team representatives will visit NASA Glenn in Cleveland, Ohio to operate their experiment in the 2.2 Second Drop Tower and participate in workshops and center tours. NASA participates in a wide variety of educational activities including competitive events. There are competitive events sponsored by NASA (e.g. NASA Student Involvement Program) and student teams mentored by NASA centers (e.g. For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics Competition). This participation by NASA in these public forums serves to bring the excitement of aerospace science to students and educators.Researchers from academic institutions, NASA, and industry utilize the 2.2 Second Drop Tower at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio for microgravity research. The researcher may be able to complete the suite of experiments in the drop tower but many experiments are precursor experiments for spaceflight experiments. The short turnaround time for an experiment's operations (45 minutes) and ready access to experiment carriers makes the facility amenable for use in a student program. The pilot year for DIME was conducted during the 2000-2001 school year with invitations sent out to Ohio- based schools and organizations. A second pilot year was conducted during the 2001-2002 school year for teams in the six-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The third year for DIME was conducted during the 2002-2003 school year for teams from the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. An annual national DIME program is planned for the foreseeable future. Presented in this paper will be a description of DIME, an overview of the planning and execution of such a program, results from the first three years, and lessons learned from the first national competition.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
DeLombard, Richard
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Hodanbosi, Carol
(National Center for Microgravity Research on Fluids and Combustion Cleveland, OH, United States)
Stocker, Dennis
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
September 15, 2003
Subject Category
Space Processing
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2004-1315
Meeting Information
AIAA Aerospace Sciences Conference and Exhibit(Reno, NV)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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