Daily Archives: June 28, 2011

NASA Kids’ Club Games and Activities

Have you visited the NASA Kids’ Club recently? Games and activities have been added just in time for summer!

Check out the new “Why Do We Explore?” storybook. Kids can read this animated online story about exploration or have it read aloud to them as they follow along.

Children can let their creativity shine with the “Color NASA” activity. This interactive coloring book features pictures of plants, birds and animals that live on NASA centers across the U.S.

Are your kids hungry for a new game to play? The “Space Lunch” game helps them learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits as they hunt for matching food groups.

Looking for a fun hands-on activity for a summer afternoon? Check out the “Let’s Fly Away” activity. Children can interact online with an aircraft-covered dodecahedron. Or, print out the activity pages to learn about 12 different aircraft and build their own 3-D dodecahedron!

Ever wonder how much you’d weigh on other planets and moons? Play the “Astro-Matic 3000” game to find out!

Do you know a child who likes puzzles? Check out the “Put It Together” game to solve puzzles of NASA images. Choose from four different levels of difficulty.

For these fun activities and more, visit http://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub

2011 SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge – Registration Deadline Sept 5, 2011

NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory are offering high school students the opportunity to design experiments that will be tested in space.

The 2011 Zero Robotics challenge is a continuation and expansion of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education program using bowling ball-sized spherical satellites aboard the International Space Station.

The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites that make up SPHERES fly in formation inside the station’s cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment. Test results support satellite servicing, vehicle assembly and spacecraft that fly in formation.

The SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge requires high school student teams to write their own algorithm to fly the satellites in the station. Teams must register before Sept. 5, 2011, at http://zerorobotics.mit.edu/

Entries will be evaluated using simulations. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., will host a ground test 2D competition in October. Two elimination rounds in the 3D online simulation will be held in November. The top 27 teams will have their code sent to the station, where an astronaut will program the SPHERES satellites to run their tests.

The Zero Robotics challenge, facilitated by MIT, continues the STEM focus of the SPHERES program. The 2011 challenge expands on a pilot program performed in 2009 and 2010. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to high school students, Zero Robotics is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students will have the opportunity to push their limits and develop skills in STEM. This program builds critical engineering skills for students such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, team work and presentation skills.

MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory developed SPHERES in 2006 to provide DARPA, NASA and other researchers with a long-term test bed for validating technologies critical to the operation of future satellites, docking missions and satellite autonomous maneuvers. The satellites provide opportunities to test a wide range of hardware and software at an affordable cost.

For additional information about NASA and MIT’s Zero Robotics program, visit http://go.nasa.gov/zero-robotics

For additional information about DARPA, visit http://www.darpa.mil

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