Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ISAS Academy One: Day 3

The ISAS students got out of bed very early this morning to catch a 7:30 am flight to San Jose, California. From there they traveled to the location of the NASA Ames Research Center. This is where the students will be able to tour many of the testing facilities and scientific labs that have played a large role in bringing us the technology and scientific exploration known to us today. This is also one of the best opportunity in the academy to gain information in regards to their mission planning with many chances to speak with NASA professionals.

The ISAS Academy students at the NASA Ames Research Center.

Students were able to tour the bioengineering lab with Brad Bebout. This lab is experimenting with growing algae in space. Students learned that photosynthetic microbes contribute more to the 21% oxygen in our air than plants. And that in the sun this process produces oxygen but at night it produces hydrogen. Students were able to get a glimpse behind the reasoning and methodology of NASA experiments.

Students looking at algae being cultivated for studies under circumstances similar to those on Mars.

The Vertical Motion Simulator has the benefit of testing many different flight scenarios, such as Space Shuttles, Fighter Jets, Moon Landers and 747s. Guided by Lisa Grant the students learned that this particular simulator not only gave pilots and astronauts all of the buttons and view screens of the actual vehicle, but it can also simulate the motion of anything that moves,  depth perception,and even microgravity. This simulator is the only one in the world of its kind and another little know fact is that former astronaut Barbara Morgan, current professor at Boise State University, trained in these simulators.

Students got to visit and sit in simulators replicating cockpits similar to this one.

The students received the honor of sitting in on a special NASA Ames talk called Skimming the Lunar Surface for Science: The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)  Mission presented by Brian Lewis. Students sat among an audience of other NASA professionals and the talk was taped for NASA TV. LADEE’s mission was to characterize the properties of the atmosphere of the moon and Brian Lewis, who grew up in Blackfoot, Idaho and attended the University of Idaho, is a system engineer and was the spacecraft manager of the LADEE project.
A model of the early version of LADEE accompanied Brian Lewis during his symposium.

NASA Ames Research Center is home to the 80 by 120 wind tunnel, the largest wind tunnel in the world. Bill Warmbrodt presented the students with a very fascinating presentation on this scientific apparatus. Students appreciated his approach of engaging them with questions and amusing stories. This wind tunnel uses the amount of electricity that it would take to power a city of 225,000 people and can produce wind at 115 miles per hour. It uses hydro-electricity that comes from dams in Big Creek of Nevada and the Snake River of Idaho.

Inside the world's largest wind tunnel, Bill Warmbrodt points out to ISAS students some of it's features.

Here is a vertical Panoramic of the wind tunnel.

The final event of the day was a great time for the teams to take advantage of the fact they were on the site of a NASA center walking among elite scientists, engineers and other professionals. A panel of experts, including Pascal Lee, Matthew Reyes, Jake Forsberg, Greg Swanson, and Chris McKay, brought over a sixty minute question and answer session to the students. Questions were asked such as, "What is the best way to get a 12 person crew from the orbit of Mars to the surface of Mars with their equipment?" “What would be the benefit of bringing core samples of Mars back to Earth and how far would we need to drill for these samples?”  And, "What type of ground support would we need, in terms of personnel for our missions to Mars?" To find out about the answers to these questions and to find out what decisions the teams made on the specific details of their missions, be sure to join us for the banquet on Saturday where the teams will present their final reports.
This panel of NASA scientists answered any and all questions the students threw at them

Students asked questions about aspects of their Mission to Mars.

Throughout the day these students attract the attention of different NASA professionals working at the research center. Students are often stopped on the street and asked what state they are from and what program they are participating in. Please take some time to visit the ISAS Facebook and Twitter page for more pictures and updates. #ISASacademy

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

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting the activities and pictures so that we parents can know what fun stuff our kids are doing.