Cape Canaveral, FL, USA –– KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) is leading a new initiative aimed at challenging high school students and educators to design and manufacture components of ground and aerial robots that would potentially be used for Mars exploration missions. Funded by a $1.25 million NASA grant for Innovative Mars Exploration Education and Technology (IMEET), the three-year program will take the form of summer camps and professional development workshops at KSCVC and partner locations throughout the country.
“Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is at the center of developing educational programs to inspire students’ innovation in the fields of science and space exploration,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “Bringing this first of its kind program to our campus is a big part of the progress being made here as we work toward developing the knowledge and technology that will make Mars exploration possible.”
The project will be led by Delaware North, which operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA, and Integrated Product Lifecycle Engineering (IPLE) Laboratory at Georgia Tech and with partners including South Florida Science Center & Aquarium in West Palm Beach, Florida; Coca Cola Space Science Center in Columbus, Georgia; Museum of Aviation Education Center in Warner Robins, Georgia; and the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut. These partners will provide curriculum and workshop development, implementation and project evaluation at geographically diverse, collaborative team locations.
The STEM engagement project will bring students and educators from all over the country together, in particular focusing on engaging historically under-represented groups by leveraging pre-existing relationships with partner organizations, which include the NASA Space Grant Consortia. The IMEET team will collaborate with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) to implement this project-based curriculum in more than 13 SREB member states across the nation. Expansion of the program will generate a large set of quantitative and qualitative data for broader dissemination of the ideas and knowledge in the STEM community.