Monday, July 14, 2014

ISAS Academy One: Day 2

Academy students started putting together the more specific aspects of the missions early on the second day.  Jason Budinoff of the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center came in with mission guidelines or parameters. He gave the students their main landing site and eight specific research sites they need to collect core samples from. The students were told that they would have to bring all the samples with them back to Earth. The teams split up and brainstormed their needs, both needs they’d have to come up with themselves and needs from the other team, as well as what they would contribute as a team. Teams then collaborated and compromised on the aspects of their mission. This activity will help the mission planning to become a cooperative effort in which the mission will develop as each team realizes how changes in the logistics and itinerary overlap and affect the other teams.
Jason Budinoff of NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center giving the teams there mission goal and parameters.

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 that are on campus. Students visited the Materials Science & Engineering lab and they also visited the Scanning Electron Microscope. 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 visit the New Product Development Lab, see the products of their 3D printing and learn about how those Boise State University students are doing business for real clients and gaining valuable experience. The system integration lab was where they learned about embedded systems and electrical engineering. Students also had the opportunity to ride a Segway in the courtyard.
Students had the opportunity to ride the Boise State College of Engineering's segway.
After lunch the students  were greeted by Dr. Amy Molly, Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Tony Roark, Dean of the College of Arts and Science and Dr. Richard Osguthrope, Dean of the College of Education. These three deans talked about different programs and opportunities at Boise State University. They also gave students advice about college and student life in general. Students asked these three professionals questions about college and careers after.

Next we learned about rockets. Rob and Olly, two recent graduates in mechanical (Rob) and electrical (Olly) engineering, brought in their senior project, a model rocket that was just shy of 13 feet long and 8 inches in diameter. We also had the opportunity to watch a video of a model rocket launching up into the stratosphere. Students seemed to really enjoy this presentation and will get an up close look at the rocket launch on Thursday.

Showing off their senior project, recent graduates, Rob and Olly talk to the students about rockets.

We then learned about the proper way to design a scientific poster from Jordan Nobler. He also discussed tips for presenting and keeping your audience captivated. For Saturday’s presentation, each team will have to put together their own poster to present their discoveries and plan for their portion of the Mars mission.

After dinner and more team time, the final event of the day was a three hour session on robotics with Woody Sobey of the Discovery Center of Idaho. The students had programed these robots through basic maneuvers for there semester class, but today they needed to build and program their robots. Their objectives were to get it to move, go approximately a meter and make a square. Then students added LED lights and programmed these lights to blink. Next the robots were programmed to make a sound and then the sounds were arranged into song. The songs that were played varied from a simple scale to Mary Had A Little Lamb to the Mario Brothers theme song. The next challenge was to add a light sensor and to program in a theremin 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. The robots were programmed to drive around a black circular field, turn around when they saw the white line border and hopefully in the process push their opponent's robot out of the ring.

After building, programing and testing, students hope their robots stay inside the ring.
These ISAS students are working very hard and have accomplished much this the 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. #ISASAcademy

--Camille Eddy (ISAS 2012 alumna) and
Holly Palmer (ISAS 2013 alumna)
ISAS Social Media Mentors

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