Add the Micro to Gravity!
Take the PSA Microgravity Challenge! NASA challenges you to simulate microgravity on Earth.
Engineers at NASA need to test things on Earth that are meant to work in space. On Earth, we feel the effects of Earth's gravity everywhere we go, but on the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts don't feel the effects of Earth's gravity. That's because the ISS and everything on board are falling around Earth, so things float. We call this "mircogravity." How can you test the Personal Satellite Assistant (PSA) on Earth to see if it will move properly in microgravity?
There are already several ways that microgravity-like environments are being created at NASA, but each microgravity environment has flaws. Engineers have to find the best environment for testing specific things. You will learn about some of these existing environments during the challenge.
Right now, NASA engineers are designing the PSA - the astronauts' robot helper on the ISS. Some of you participated in the Robot Design Challenge last year. This time your challenge is to design a way to test the PSA on Earth to make sure that it will work once it is on the ISS where there is microgravity.
During this challenge, teachers and students are encouraged to share ideas, findings, and questions with classrooms around the world and then submit preliminary designs for feedback from our NASA experts. There will also be a chat room where students across the world will be able to share their ideas and receive feedback from their peers. Preliminary designs should include details on how the environment will be created and why. Final designs will include a prototype that illustrates the environment.
What You Need to Do: