Ground control to UW campus — Seeking campus-savvy volunteers for lunar mission

Have you, too, heard the call of space and wondered how you can respond? NASA’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP), headed by Washington NASA Space Grant and based out of Johnson Hall, invites you to join us on our next mission — to the moon.

Black and white image showing 5 pairs of feet standing on a map of the lunar surface.

On Friday, July 19, 2019, teams of middle- and high-school students from around Washington state will convene on the UW campus in Seattle for NESSP’s Apollo Next Giant Leap Student (ANGLeS) Challenge. The ANGLeS Challenge is a national challenge celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by giving students the chance to recreate the moon landing using drones and robots, focusing on making it accessible for underrepresented and underserved communities. The July 19 event at the UW is the final event for teams in Washington state, who have worked throughout the spring on honing their skills in flying drones to deliver their lunar module to the moon, programming their robot to traverse the lunar landscape, and working together as a team to overcome mission challenges. The team who achieves the highest score at the UW event will win a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they’ll join other top teams from across the country and participate in a showcase of the Challenge.

How can you help? NESSP is looking for volunteers from the UW community to assist us as mission support staff. Enthusiasm for space is helpful, as is an enjoyment of working with young STEM explorers — but really, the most important qualification you can bring is simply your knowledge of the UW campus. Teams will be arriving from all across Washington state, and with ANGLeS Challenge events happening at several campus locations all day long we could use your help in keeping everything running smoothly and teams pointed in the right direction as they move between buildings.

We have volunteer shifts in two hours and four hours. If you’d like to sign up, please complete this Google Form (sign-in is required). If you have questions, please contact our volunteer coordinator: Mary Denmon — maryd1@uw.edu. All volunteers will receive a small “thank you” gift commemorating the event.

Deadline to sign up

Sign-up will close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17.

It takes a team to send a mission to the moon. We hope you’ll join our team as we support these students in taking their next giant leap.

ANGLeS Challenge event details

Friday, July 19

  • 8:30 a.m. — Opening ceremony
  • 9:15 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Teams run challenge
  • 6 p.m. — Closing ceremony

Locations

It’s time to post your team’s mission patch!

There are two important deadlines coming in the next week for the ANGLeS Challenge.

April 15 — Deadline for organizations to register. All teams must be associated with an organization, so it’s crucial that the organization registers by the end of the day on Monday, April 15. There’s no penalty for registering and then not participating in the Challenge! We encourage all organizations who think they may be interested to register now and make your decision later so that you don’t miss the registration window.

April 19 — Every NASA mission has a mission patch that illustrates the goal and spirit of the project, where the project originates from, and which institutions are participating. Each team is encouraged to create and submit a Mission Patch. We encourage teams to get creative and design a mission patch that represents themselves, their community, and their mission in the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge.

Please post your Mission Patches to the social media with the hashtags #ApolloNextGiantLeap and #Apollo50, then submit the link to us using the form linked below. Note, you will need your team number (e.g. WA999A) to submit the form, so please have that ready. You can find that number in your registration confirmation email.

https://forms.gle/B7z1i38KWr7CiiCK9

For inspiration, here are some examples of NASA mission patches from over the years. NASA’s description of the Apollo 11 patch states:

The American eagle, symbolic of the United States, was about to land on the Moon. In its talons, an olive branch indicated the crew “came in peace for all mankind.” The Earth, the place from which the crew came and would return safely in order to fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the nation, rested on a field of black, representing the vast unknown of space

ANGLeS Challenge registration extended to April 15!

Have you been thinking about registering for the ANGLeS Challenge, but been worried you won’t have time?

We’re pleased to give you a little more time — the ANGLeS Challenge registration deadline for organizations is now April 15! Read all the details on our registration page to be sure your organization and team(s) have been properly registered. Registration is necessary in order to receive the NASA certificate and, most importantly, to have a chance at one of the grand prize trips to a NASA center!

(There are no penalties for registering now and choosing later to not run the Challenge. If you’re interested, it’s better to register now to be sure your organization/team is signed up, then decide later if you’ll run the Challenge or not.)

Once you’ve registered, check out the resources and supplies pages to make sure you have everything your team needs for the Challenge. And don’t forget the timeline page to make sure all the important deadlines are on your calendar.

See you on the launch pad!

#ApolloNextGiantLeap

Black and white image showing 5 pairs of feet standing on a map of the lunar surface.

Picture yourself on the moon, taking that “one small step” onto the surface.

A side image showing Bobak "Mohawk guy" Ferdowsi's hair during the Mars Curiosity landing.

Or picture yourself in the control room as the next rover is setting down on Mars.

Back in the 1960s, NASA’s Apollo program landed the first humans on the moon.  In the 1970s, NASA sent the Viking probes to Mars. In the 1980s, the Space Shuttle program took astronauts into space on a regular basis and for longer and longer missions.

And now, NASA is looking to the not-too-distant future when humans will step onto the moon again — and when they’ll take that long, giant leap onto Mars.

These University of Washington students demonstrate the challenge involving a lunar lander (left, orange) a Lego Mindstorms robot (center) and rock samples (right).

Now it’s your turn.

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and to prepare for the next giant leap, NASA’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) invites students to enter the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge — the ANGLeS Challenge. Open to students in grades 5-12 across the United States and territories, the event challenges student teams to recreate the Apollo 11 moon landing using a drone and a LEGO Mindstorms robot.

Organizations will run the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge locally to select a team to advance to the nearest regional challenge hub. The top team at each regional challenge hub will earn the grand prize of a trip to a NASA center!

Who can participate?

The ANGLeS Challenge is open to all students in the United States and territories who are in grades 5-12. We encourage everyone to give the challenge a try!

Registration opens February 1, 2019.

What are the prizes?

The top team from each regional challenge hub will receive a trip to Johnson Space Center in August 2019.

The top team from each state, Washington D.C., and territories will receive official recognition, even if your area doesn’t have a regional challenge hub.

What’s the challenge?

Each team will build a replica of the lunar module and use a remote-controlled drone to land it on an 8-by-10-foot map of the moon’s surface. Students will modify and program a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot to then explore the lunar surface and bring back a rock sample.

High school students will also use the drone to retrieve the team’s lunar module and bring it back to the starting line.

Full details of all stages of the challenge will be in the manual, to be available on February 1, 2019.

Where are the regional challenge hubs?

Washington state

What’s the timeline?

February 1 — Registration opens! Register your team and start getting ready for the challenge.

April, May, & June — Practice your drone and robotics skills.

July 15–20 — Regional hubs will hold their final challenges.


UW-based group launches national challenge to recreate first moon landing — with drones and Lego robots

A Lego Mindstorms robot, with a plastic astronaut strapped to the front, approaches the lunar lander. Student teams will program the robot to explore the moon's surface.

A Lego Mindstorms robot, with a plastic astronaut strapped to the front, approaches the lunar lander. Student teams will program the robot to explore the moon’s surface. Dennis Wise/University of Washington

By Hannah Hickey
UW News

On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission landed the first two people on the surface of the moon. NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first steps and famously proclaimed: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

This July will mark the 50th anniversary of that landmark event. The University of Washington’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline is calling on the next generation of astronauts and aeronautical engineers to recreate the historic event using modern technology.

A flying drone carries a lunar lander above a map of the moon's surface. The landing spot is the actual site of the Apollo 11 landing. Other craters that teams will explore are circled in red.

A flying drone carries a lunar lander above a map of the moon’s surface. The landing spot is the actual site of the Apollo 11 landing. Other craters that teams will explore are circled in red. Dennis Wise/University of Washington

At a kickoff event Jan. 30 in Kent, Washington, the organizers will officially open the Apollo 50 Next Giant Leap Student Challenge, known for short as the ANGLeS Challenge, in collaboration with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

“This is a truly interdisciplinary challenge, involving computer programming, robotics, remote sensing and design,” said Robert Winglee, director of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline and a UW professor of Earth and space sciences. “We’re calling it the ‘next giant leap.’”

Teams of students from fifth to 12th grades are invited to participate. Each team will build a replica of the lunar lander and use a remote-controlled drone to land it on an 8-by-10-foot map of the moon’s surface. Students will modify and program a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot to then explore the lunar surface and bring back a rock sample.

High school students will also use the drone to retrieve the team’s lunar module and bring it back to the starting line.

As in a real-life expedition, teams will also create a mission patch, design uniforms, do event outreach and leave a “culturally significant artifact” on the lunar surface.

Organizers emphasize that it’s a challenge, not a contest. Teams will be judged on multiple criteria and can earn various prizes. No experience is required; registration opens Feb. 1.

These University of Washington students demonstrate the challenge involving a lunar lander (left, orange) a Lego Mindstorms robot (center) and rock samples (right).

These University of Washington students demonstrate the challenge involving a lunar lander (left, orange) a Lego Mindstorms robot (center) and rock samples (right). Dennis Wise/University of Washington

The challenge has no entry fee. A $500 kit contains subsidized equipment including the drone and Lego Mindstorms parts, and loaner equipment will be available to schools that qualify. Accommodation at the UW campus will be covered for teams at schools with more than 50 percent subsidized lunches. The organizers will also help all teams with fundraising, and can provide drone and robotics training on request.

“An important aspect of the project is to provide access to NASA science and technology for many of the underserved and underrepresented communities across the U.S.,” Winglee said.

Teams must include one adult to act as the coach, and a five-member “flight crew” all under the age of 18 who will be on the challenge field to pilot the drone, operate the robot, identify rock samples and guide the pilot. Other members of the mixed-grade teams will help with building equipment, designing logos and other off-the-field tasks.

The Northwest challenge will be held in July in Seattle and is open to teams from schools or recognized informal education programs in Washington. Twelve other NASA regional hubs will also host events the week of July 15-20. The winning team from each location will win a trip in early August to visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The initial sponsors of the national challenge are drone maker Force1, NASA, the Museum of Flight, Pacific Science Center and the City of Kent. Organizers are seeking more event sponsors, and volunteers to help advise teams and host the challenges.

The UW-based Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline consortium was created in 2016 with a $10 million cooperative agreement that established a “NASA hub” in the Pacific Northwest. The group conducts teacher trainings, especially in underrepresented communities; its past events include a NASA Pow Wow in Ellensburg and a NASA Fiesta in Seattle.

“Smaller-scale, related STEM efforts in recent years have shown that student participants have increasing interest and skill in doing STEM activities,” Winglee said. “The Apollo effort seeks to expand this effort on a national scale.”

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More information is at https://nwessp.org/apollo50/. The challenge email is apollo50@uw.edu

Members of the media can contact communications officer Chris Wallish at 206-221-7743 or cwallish@uw.edu.


Originally posted at UW News.

NASA Fiesta in Seattle — Monday, July 9, 2018

As part of a unique NASA weeklong science education training for teachers and educators, the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) will co-host the NASA Fiesta de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (Science and Technology Festival) at El Centro de la Raza in Seattle on Monday, July 9, 2018.

This family friendly event is free and open to the public.

The Fiesta will honor the spirit of joy and gathering through music, food and language, while offering the chance for those young and old to engage in fun activities to learn science through hands-on activities. This event offers an opportunity for the public to come together, meet with NASA scientists, meet old friends and make new ones, while celebrating culture, heritage, science and technology.

The NASA Fiesta de la Ciencia y la Tecnología is presented with the support of NESSP, El Centro de la Raza, outreach groups from different departments at University of Washington, and other members of the Latinx community planning to attend.

When

Monday, July 9, 2018
6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Where

El Centro de la Raza
2524 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Flyers

English
Español

NASA Pow Wow in Ellensburg — Wednesday, June 27, 2018

As part of a special weeklong NASA science education training program for teachers and educators, the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) will co-host the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Inter-Tribal Pow Wow at Central Washington University on Wednesday, June 27, starting at 5 p.m.

The Pow Wow is a family friendly event that is free and open to the public.  Prior to the Pow Wow, there will be rocket launches, drone demonstrations, archery competitions and photography exhibits running Wednesday afternoon, 1-5 p.m. There will also be a payload building station for children, with the contents launched in a high altitude balloon at 8:15 a.m. on June 28.

The event is being presented with support and representation from the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Wanapum, Spokane Tribe and other tribes planning to attend.

The NASA Inter-Tribal Pow Wow will honor the traditions of the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest through song, dance, food and games, while offering the chance for those young and old to engage in fun activities to learn science in a culturally relevant way.

A pow wow—derived from the Narragansett word powwaw meaning “spiritual leader”—has historically been a gathering of North America’s Native people. More modern pow wows have become a cultural celebration for Native American and First Nations people to meet, dance, sing, socialize and honor their cultures.

This event offers an opportunity for the public to come together, meet with NASA scientists, meet old friends and make new ones, while celebrating culture and heritage.