Monday, July 8, 2013

ISAS 2013 Academy 1: Day 2

Students have begun putting together the specific aspects of their mission early the second day. They had a lot of ideas and there was a lot of talking and communication between the teams. It became apparent to some of the students that they needed mission guidelines, luckily Jason Budinoff of the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center came in with just that.

Jason Budinoff assists the teams in planning their mission to Mars. 

The teams were given the Mars landing site, mission timeline and approximate number of crew.  They were also given specific objectives to be completed during the mission such as materials from the planet of the Mars needed to be brought back to Earth to study. Mr. Budinoff was also able to draw out of the teams' statements specifying missing pieces of information they may have needed from other teams to continue with their portion of the planning.  And what they in turn, as a team, were planning to contribute to the mission. This leads to the mission planning becoming a collaborative effort in which the mission develops as the teams realize how changes in the logistics and itinerary overlap and affect each team.

Teams talk to each other and begin to see their mission evolve.

After three hours of mission planning the students were taken on a tour of Boise State University's College of Engineering. They visited different labs to learn about different instruments and research projects. Instruments such as the Personal Monitoring Unit in the System Integration Lab that combines the skills of
Computer Programming and Electrical Engineering to determine air quality. They also visited the Magnetic Shape Alloy Lab where they learned a little bit about changing atomic structures with energy such as heat. The students were able to learn about Micro Propulsion which, while the thrust would not be able to lift anything here on earth, in space these little thrusters would be easily able to orient spacecraft to where they needed to be. Students were also able to view a Scanning Electron Microscope and ride a Segway.

Students rode the segway around the courtyard.

After lunch the students were greeted by Dr. Amy Moll, Dean of the College of Engineering and Dr. Tony Roark, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who talked about degree programs and student life at Boise State University. They also met service-dog-in-training Jelly who definitely made the students smile a few times during the presentation.

Dr. Amy Moll and Dr. Tony Roark meet with ISAS students. 

Next were the rockets. Students entered the room and were surprised to see a seventeen foot tall rocket standing in the corner. Corey Morasch and J.C. Worthen of the Tripoli Idaho Rocketry club brought in a few rockets and explained the launch stages. Students seemed to really enjoy this presentation.

Corey Morasch and J.C. Worthen give students a run down of rocket launches. 

Dr. Henry Charlier came in and introduced the topic of poster presentations. Students may well remember Dr. Charlier as one of the most engaging and insightful speakers.  They learned about the importance of outlining their presentation, minimizing text and using pictures, as well as avoiding distracting backgrounds. The students were encouraged to draw their audience in with their own enthusiasm for their project.  Posters will be a part of the final presentation on Saturday and we hope to see you there.

Dr. Henry Charlier give students tips on how to create an engaging  poster presentation. 

The final event of the day was a three hour session on robotics with Woody Sobey of the Discovery Center of Idaho. The students needed to build and program their robots. Their objectives were to get it to move, run a certain length and make a square. Then students added LED lights and programmed the robot to blink these lights. Next the robot needed to make a sound and then the sounds were programmed into a song. The songs that were played varied from a simple scale to Mary Had A Little Lamb. The next challenge was to add a light sensor and to program in a thermin which would allow a tone to vary based on how much light was on the sensor. And finally the different teams challenged each other's robots in a sumo match.

Students working with robots take a picture with Barbara Morgan.

These ISAS students are working very hard and have accomplished much this second day of the academy. They are incredible students who enjoy working together and learning new things. Tomorrow will  be another jammed packed day as we will be taking an early flight to visit the NASA Ames Research Center in California. Be sure to check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for more photos and updates. #isas


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