Current School Activities
The School of Aerospace Engineering has several programs in place currently that would be used in the Outreach Plan to transmit the competition experience to others. The School hosts a weekly series of talks where students and members of the faculty share recent research results and other developments. This forum will be used to inform the faculty and students of lessons learned from the NASA competition.
The School has also worked in the past with the local television news, as well as a national newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, to report accomplishments by students, such as the successful flights of our undergraduate flight experiment team on Acoustic Shaping under the NASA Microgravity Student Flight Opportunities program. Additionally, the experience and knowledge gained from this competition could be incorporated into the School’s curriculum, enabling a long-term means of transferring this information. The school’s "AE Flyer" newsletter reached alumni all over the nation.
Participation with CEISMC
The team will build on the outreach programs from last year’s NMB competition and work with Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). CEISMC’s main focus is outreach to the K-12 education community, specifically targeting teachers, students, parents and community leaders. One of our primary focuses with CEISMC will be the development of a "traveling roadshow" for elementary, middle and high school students about Mars missions and the development of space.
Today’s schoolchildren are not only tomorrow’s taxpayers, they are tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, farmers, and scientists. Getting them excited about the development of space, including missions to Mars, is important. Most people believe that only scientists and engineers have a place in exploring and developing space. In a fully developed space-based economy, however, there is a need for every occupation. Who will build the space tourist hotels? Who will grow the food for those hotels? Who will maintain the law in space? Who will help mend the broken arm of a space construction worker? If they feel that they, regardless of their future occupation, have a possibility of having a space-related career or of living in space, they are more likely to become excited about and support NASA and other programs related to space exploration.
Georgia Tech’s NMB team will work with CEISMC and Georgia schoolteachers to develop programs for extended focus on Mars exploration, getting to Mars, and the problems faced by both private businesses and government with developing a space-based economy. We plan to develop a tie-in with CEISMC’s existing GIFT program, where selected teachers intern in Georgia Tech laboratories and develop related programs for their own classrooms. The team will work with CEISMC and education majors from Georgia State University to develop lesson plans on Mars missions and the development of space that fit the Quality Core Curriculum, thus enabling easier incorporation into existing school curriculums. The team will travel to Georgia schools, not just metropolitan Atlanta schools, thus reaching a much wider range of students, many of whom might never have thought about getting personally involved in the space program.
By reaching a wide variety of students and working with education experts to prepare lessons and presentations, the team will be able to present the Mars mission and development of industry and business in space in such a way that interests and excites all students. Students that are interested in many different fields of employment, not just science and engineering, can see how they might play a part in the development of space. For instance, students interested in medicine could grow up to be doctors in space, or develop new space-grown medicines. Students interested in law could get involved in space property laws.
Teacher and Parent Involvement
Georgia Tech’s NMB team will work with teachers to develop take-home assignments that would tie in to the in-school presentations and lessons on Mars and space exploration and development. These take-home assignments would promote parent involvement, re-exposing the adults to the wonder and excitement of space and traveling to Mars and other planets.
The team will also develop longer presentations given on Tech campus to Advanced Placement chemistry and calculus classes, students who are about to head off to college and chose their career paths. These students are sufficiently mature to provide meaningful involvement in the space program and to help propagate ideas about the space-based economy.
Web-based Interactive Media for Product Design
The team will also work on developing a simulator puzzle game for children, which would be available either directly to the classrooms or through the website. This program, through a game structure interface, would introduce children to the idea of space construction and the acoustic technology itself. By changing the manufacturing configurations- box size, speaker locations, amplitudes, etc, children would create different sound fields to try to match a pre-determined given shape, such as a wall, sphere or cylinder. As the child becomes more skilled at the game, more complex shapes will be presented. Animations of the "created" shapes being put to use in the orbiting space station or hotel will be used as a reward for successfully matching a shape. The game is another method of promoting a feeling that the children will be able to play a part in the development of space when they grow up.
The GT Reduced Gravity flight test team in Acoustic Shaping is unique in having developed and presented 3 technical papers at the AIAA Professional conferences in 1997-2000. In addition to public school outreach, the NMB team will continue with outreach programs begun in 1999 to the university population and the professional world. Presentations to Georgia Tech Aerospace Engineering classes will be made, which will increase awareness of the NMB program as well as discuss barriers to space development and the rewards of working to overcome those barriers. Similar presentations will be planned for other disciplines, such as Mechanical Engineering. The team will also continue with outreach programs to the professional community, such as last year’s presentation to the Atlanta Engineers’ Society, and discussions with SpaceHab, USRA and TSCC.
NMB Team Website and Web Resources
Another major outreach focus of the Georgia Tech NMB team will be the development and promotion of web based resources, such as the GT NMB team website and the Aerospace Digital Library (ADL). The team website and ADL will help maintain children’s interest, and provide continued learning opportunities after the initial programs at school. The Web forms an important arm of our overall outreach program. The Georgia Tech NASA Means Business team’s website (http://www.ae.gatech.edu/research/windtunnel/nmbhome.html) will build upon the existing team pages from the 1999 NMB competition. In addition to links to the 2000 NMB proposal and 1999 competition presentations, technical papers produced by the ASI team members will be available through the website in PDF form. A feedback forum for comments, suggestions, and criticisms will be added to increase interaction on the website with visitors. Visitors to the website will be able to access the resources of Georgia Tech’s Aerospace Digital Library. The website will be expanded to become the resource for people interested in Mars and space development, through the addition of extensive links, papers, and forums.
Aerospace Digital Library
The Aerospace Digital Library (ADL) is a project with a unique mission, on a scale as grand as NASA's missions: Integrate human knowledge across levels and disciplines by providing a Gateway through Aerospace Engineering. Its beginnings are best seen at: http://www.adl.gatech.edu. Set at the high school level, ADL's Design-Centered Introduction to Aerospace Engineering gives the user a quick perspective of the field, along with the incentive to go through a guided introduction to how a large aircraft is designed, from mission specification to performance analysis and 3-view layout. Along the way, each aerospace discipline is introduced, and linked to higher levels, all the way to professional databases and the research leading edge. The number of professional-level courses being linked through this resource is rising almost on a daily basis as teachers learn about ADL. This resource is very much "in sync" with NASA's priorities: it provides an excellent vehicle to unite Integrated Product Design teams, giving each member a quick overview, and access to in-depth knowledge, in every other discipline.
Over the past year, the ADL resource has expanded substantially. It includes courses ranging from the introductory to the graduate level on space exploration, links to all the NASA centers, and to the space resource utilization community. Under this project, this resource will expand to become the leading information gateway to the space-based economy.
The relevance of ADL to this project comes in many aspects, but one aspect is easily seen: users of ADL already include several middle-schoolers, both in Metro Atlanta, and across the nation, who use it to link to NASA's Technical Reports Server, NACA reports, etc., using the precise, in-depth guidance provided in ADL for solution to their Science Fair problems. As required, Professor Komerath and EAG students assist these users to find their way to solutions: in future, much of this guidance will be automated based on experience.
We suspect that NASA engineers, as well as colleagues in every aspect of engineering, will eventually what these middle-schoolers are picking up so fast: the sheer utility of linking their work to ADL as the engineering work environment of the future. The reviewers of this proposal are specifically invited to contribute links to their own work, and help us develop this resource.