Monday, July 9, 2012

ISAS 2012 Academy 1 Day 2

Six forty-five seemed to come too early this morning, for many. Albeit a handful of students who got up even earlier to go running, the students came groggily from their dorms and slouched on the lobby couches in Keiser Hall waiting to go to breakfast at the Boise River Cafe. However, after filling up on waffles, bacon and sausage, eggs and a cornucopia of other food, the students trekked through campus to the Boise State Engineering Building excited to listen to aerospace engineer, Jason Budinoff, from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Jason and the students discussed what responsibilities would be expected from the four teams. These groups (Red, Green, Blue, and White) split up the Mars mission into several separate areas: Mission Integration, Getting There, Living There, and Working There. After hearing the upcoming week's requirements, the students became more intrigued and lively, especially after Mr. Budinoff included stories about his experience with NASA.

Students set out to outline their mission by prioritizing their areas and collaborating with the other teams

The guidelines for the students' mission were purposefully vague: go to the Poles (on Mars), stay for 30 days, and come back. Jason Budinoff challenged the students to debate the question, “How do we change this vague idea into a full-blown mission?” After discussion, the students split up into teams to debate further the goals of their teams and to develop the mission outline into a detailed mission plan. They then grouped back together, and presented their research to the entire Academy. They also had the opportunity to share their findings with Jason Budinoff where he was able to critique their work.

After a couple hours of planning and preparation, students were greeted by student support coordinator, Leandra Aburusa for a tour of the Boise State College of Engineering. Each group split up to see four aspects. These included: The C-MEMS lab, the System Integration Lab, a chance to ride a segway, and the Microscopy lab. In each lab both undergraduate and graduate students showed what they were working on and explained the purpose of the lab. 

Dr. Don Plumlee educates the students on ceramic circuits at the CMEMS Lab in Boise State

Everyone took a short lunch break, then the students returned to the engineering building to listen to, and ask questions from Superintendent Luna. Amongst the questions for students were ones such as, “How long have you been superintendent and are you going to run for reelection?” and a “Did you go to college for something science or math related” and "What made you want to live in Idaho?" He was able to explain the importance and strength of the ISAS program to the students as well, and share the significance and rarity of the program..

Following Superintendent Luna, Amy Moll BSU Dean of the College of Engineering and Tony Roark, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Boise State spoke to the students. The students were encouraged to ask questions about different types of degrees & minors offered at the College of Engineering.  Questions asked included, “What do you think is the toughest challenge about college classes?” with a quick retort from Dr. Moll of “Show up for class” and Dr. Roark voting, “time management”. Another student asked what to do if you can't figure out which degree you'd major in if you have multiple subjects you're interested in. Dr. Roark highly encouraged talking to advisors, along with Dr. Moll mentioning that it's important to recognize that certain subjects might go together better than you would anticipate. “There may be more connection than you might think”. “What's your favorite thing about teaching at a university?” another student asked. Both deans quickly agreed on “the students”. A lot of the questions were about getting into BSU research programs, engineering co-ops, and other ISAS themed questions.

Students then split to work in their teams even further in order to meet their deadlines. After working for an hour, the students were then able to listen to a presentation about rockets by Corey Morasch, engineer from Micron. He and the students discussed what it took to make a rocket fly straight while watching videos of larger rockets that Corey Morasch and the club he's involved in, Tripoli Idaho, have previously shot off. The students sat on the edge of their chairs in the lecture hall as they watched the videos of the rockets shooting up from the desert and then spiraling down around 13,000 feet to the ground. One rocket video showed the launch of one of Corey and Tripoli Idaho's rockets that went higher than 100,000 feet. "If a couple of amateurs can launch rockets that go that high", Corey said, "then you guys can do anything". He was complimented by Jennifer Christiano from Ponderosa Aero Club, who came to speak on the history of aviation, and the impact of the American spirit. Students then got another hour to work on their mission to Mars projects.

To get to Mars requires a lot of work, and here the students demonstrate some of their plans on how to achieve their goal.

As the evening started and the day began to end, the students were also visited by Woody Sobey from the Discovery Center of Idaho. He educated the students about what is and is not a robot and how to create an autonomous system. Being such a complicated system, Woody let the students know that they were about to cram a week’s worth of material into about a three hour time slot. The students immediately rolled up their sleeves and dived into working on the robots. Many different students took charge and displayed impressive leadership skills when organizing the robots. They all impressively worked hard to make their robots listen to different programs and follow a rigid set of instructions

By the end of, today, day two, the students have already gelled as a functioning mission control. They are even beginning to express how well the teams have been coming together.

However, with the day winding down, the students are beginning to prepare themselves for the exciting trip to NASA Ames Research Center during day three and four of the ISAS Summer Academy. These blogs will continue to be uploaded daily, once the students have completed their final activities each night. A more "live" version of the days' events are being uploaded onto the ISAS Summer Academy Facebook group and page, as well as to Twitter at #ISAS_Academy. The students have established themselves as mission control and are now ready for the trip to Ames Research Center.

--Heidi Hughes, Jaime Guevara--

1 comment:

  1. Great post!! very informative.
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