NASA to test Bucks students' engineering project
HOLLAND, Pa. - January 30, 2012 (WPVI) -- The group of students from Council Rock High School South might have looked like they were just messing around in the hall.
But the remote controlled toy they were playing with was the inspiration for a robotics project that's about to be tested at NASA' s Johnson Space Center.
The project is one of only seven nationwide selected for NASA's Microgravity Experience Program. Forty students and five teachers, who call themselves the Rock Rovers, worked through the Thanksgiving and winter breaks to design and create the device.
"The challenge was to build a remotely operated vehicle that we could maneuver in zero gravity," said junior Dan Eddowes. "And one of the biggest challenges we had was the amount of time. We had about two months to do this entire thing."
The students also had to raise money to fund the project.
"A lot of us went out and talked to local businesses to see if we could get them sponsoring," said freshman Dorothy Vosik. "A lot of them were very kind with their donations."
What they created was a cube that can be moved and turned when a remote controlled device sends shots of compressed air to its different valves. The students say if a camera were attached, a device like this could be used in space to check for damage on the outside of a spacecraft.
The prototype has already been sent to Houston, where it will be tested in NASA's Reduced Gravity aircraft next week.
"It was a pretty bold idea," said teacher Jerry Fetter. "A lot of people in the engineering profession said it would be quite an accomplishment if we were able to carry it out. And we have."
The students won't actually be able to travel to Houston next week to try out their creation, but the teachers will be doing that. They will be Skyping and sending the kids messages from NASA to let them know how well their vehicle performed during the tests.
pennsylvania, school, bucks county, nasa, local/state, amy buckman
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