Students reach for the stars

Mt. Juliet High School math and science students were able to interact with a former astronaut and NASA representatives Friday afternoon and then showed off a few of their unique science projects. The Mt. Juliet school was one of 13 visited by officials from NASA's Marshall Space Flig...
Feb 22, 2013
 Photo: Laurie Everett • Mt. Juliet News

Don Krupp, who works with NASA's Space Launch System, discusses ways to improve projects Friday with Mt. Juliet High School students.

 

Mt. Juliet High School math and science students were able to interact with a former astronaut and NASA representatives Friday afternoon and then showed off a few of their unique science projects.

The Mt. Juliet school was one of 13 visited by officials from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. to instruct Middle Tennessee students about the Space Launch System, the nation's next heavy-lift vehicle that will take astronauts farther into space than ever before. 

Mt. Juliet High School math and science students were able to interact with a former astronaut and NASA representatives Friday afternoon and then showed off a few of their unique science projects.

The Mt. Juliet school was one of 13 visited by officials from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. to instruct Middle Tennessee students about the Space Launch System, the nation's next heavy-lift vehicle that will take astronauts farther into space than ever before.

NASA teamed up with host Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville via Skype for students to ask former astronaut Roger Crouch questions. They also quizzed Todd May via Skype. He is the SLS program manager. NASA systems engineer Mallory Johnston was also in on the exchange, as well as SLS element green test run manager John Rector.

The students queried the long-distance team with questions such as: What will the astronauts be looking for in or on the asteroids and the other near earth objects?; How will a 3D printer be used in the system?; and How would you create artificial gravity in orbit?

Don Krupp, who will be involved with SLS, was at the school. He will help re-engineer the launch vehicle SLS and work out how lunar landings will take place.

"We came here to interact with the students about SLS," he said. "We want them to get excited about space, math and science."

SLS will test launch in 2017, said Krupp. It will weigh 70 metric tons and have 8.4 million pounds of thrust and 154,000 pounds of payload. It will be an American supply line to the International Space Station, as well as provide travel for crews to forge a route to further space frontiers.

"We want to engage students, especially female students, to go into the math fields of education," said Krupp.
Math department head David Haines had his students demonstrate projects to the NASA representatives. Haynes presides over the school's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program. STEM is a state-sponsored program that integrates these four disciplines into schools to promote real-world experience in the fields.

One project used small, three-dimensional cars made out of paper and dowels.

Krupp watched the demonstration and said he was impressed. He gave students tips to make them go faster. Another project was a moon buggy made by the school's science and math students, and there was a catapult launch students created on a rapid prototyping machine.

"This is our future," said principal Mel Brown. "The future is unknown and has endless possibilities for these students. These types of collaborations open the door for students everywhere."

Brown said hands-on projects and opportunities to talk with professionals in the science fields get the students away for their desks and "an equation of a piece of paper."

"We were excited this could happen for the students," he said.

 

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