Tuesday, May 5, 2015

CASIS & BSA Partnership: Chicagoland Space Station National Design Challenge Proposals Due May 29, 2015!

The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory is a one-of-a-kind research platform that is now available for student research via the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). CASIS has developed a pilot program titled, Space Station National Design Challenge, which is a research competition, that facilitates authentic student research and experiment design with selected experiments being flown to the space station.

CASIS and the BSA Pathways to Adventure Council will launch the Space Station National Design Challenge student research competition in Chicago this spring (applications are due on May 29th) in an effort to spark interest and innovation in young men and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This incredible opportunity is the result of a newly formed partnership between the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS); and local Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and Exploring programs.

We are raising funds for our 3 Ground Teams to purchase ground-based NanoLabs, LEDs, temperature sensors, cameras, and additional hardware components. The Ground Teams have been selected by CASIS to participate in the Space Station Design Challenge to engage and energize students about STEM through an authentic learning experience that leverages the International Space Station. You can find out more about the initiative and click on the Make a Donation button here: 

While the partnership is new, the BSA has a historic connection to the space program. In fact, 11 of the 12 astronauts who walked on the moon were Scouts. Additionally, former astronaut and CASIS President and Executive Director Gregory H. Johnson is a proud Eagle Scout. See video of Gregory H. Johnson talking about the new partnership initiative and his experience as a Eagle Scout:

The U.S. National Lab’s microgravity environment offers researchers the exclusive opportunity to conduct experiments in a setting free from the effects of gravity present on Earth. Since systems act differently in this microgravity environment, researchers are able to gather valuable insight that can help advance their work on Earth.

Space Station National Design Challenge participants will work in teams of 10-20 young men and women to conceptualize and execute their experiments, which must fit into miniature labs about half the size of a shoebox. Along with aspiring engineers and scientists, teams will include members with interests in graphic arts, drafting, moviemaking, programming and many other fields. CASIS and its industry partners will facilitate technical workshops and provide support to each team.

CASIS will then select the winning experiments.

"Inspiring the next generation of explorers is at the heart of the CASIS mission," said CASIS Director of Operations and Education Ken Shields. "This partnership exemplifies a concerted effort by both organizations to engage and energize students about STEM through an authentic learning experience that leverages the International Space Station.”

To learn more about the contest, including upcoming information sessions and how to submit a proposal by May 29th, please visit: http://www.iss-casis.org/Opportunities/Solicitations/RFANationalDesignChallenge2015.aspx

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