Maine students invited to help NASA

In March, NASA launched an exciting new partnership with Lockheed Martin to engage students across the nation in America’s next phase of human space exploration. The Exploration Design Challenge (EDC) is now inviting Maine students from kindergarten through 12th grade to learn more about one of the biggest challenges NASA faces before sending humans beyond low-Earth orbit: space radiation. Through a series of age-appropriate activities, participants will learn about radiation and its effects on humans and hardware destined for asteroids, Mars or other deep space locations. Orion is the vehicle for these space destinations and will make its maiden test flight in 2014.

Maine students, teachers and schools have long participated in NASA projects, and the EDC is yet another great opportunity for them to engage in exciting real-life problem solving with consequences that could be out of this world.

“The Maine Space Grant Consortium encourages all K-12 students and teachers to capitalize on this opportunity to learn about space travel and to gain knowledge of and experience in how mathematics, physics, engineering and science are applied by NASA and Lockheed Martin to protect our astronauts,” said Maine Space Grant Consortium Executive Director Terry Shehata, Ph.D. “This opportunity will also demonstrate what NASA is all about and how important its work is to all of us when at work, home, play or rest.”

Added NE Regional Coordinator for Space Day Sharon Eggleston, “Come join the NASA team and help the future space vehicle Orion and its crew safely traverse the universe. What better way for students of all ages to learn about radiation and its effects on humans and hardware destined for deep space than to participate in challenging hands-on activities that could, quite possibly, help solve real-world problems for NASA.”

The youngest explorers (K-4) will complete NASA education activities related to radiation. Upon completion, a teacher or other adult may submit the students’ names to be flown on the 2014 Orion flight as honorary virtual crew members.

Those same opportunities are open to students in grades 5-8, but they also will design and develop a radiation shield prototype. Instructions, guidebooks and related content are provided on the EDC website.

High school participants have an even greater challenge – and opportunity. In addition to the activities listed above, teams of students will design a radiation shield prototype that meets established criteria and constraints. Teams will submit their designs, and the top five designs selected will be tested in a virtual radiation simulator. The winning team will travel to Florida for Orion’s launch and have its design flown aboard the spacecraft.

This is an exciting, hands-on way to get students inspired and interested in what NASA does now and the grand plans ahead! For more information, visit

One thought on “Maine students invited to help NASA

  1. We would like our middle school sons to get involved. Cameron is going into 6th grade at Blue Hill Consolidated. We also have twins going into 5th grade. Thanks.

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