Creative Inquiry

Project Spotlights

To an Asteroid, and Beyond!

Your task, should you choose to acc ept it, is to design a mission to an asteroid. Sound like an old episode of Mission Impossible? Not quite. This time, it's NASA, Clemson University and other members of the NASA Human Health and Performance Center that are challenging students in the sixth through eighth grades to dream of going where no one has gone before.

The contest is open to teams of one to four students who will submit a slide show presentation to NASA that outlines their plans for sending a human crew on a trip to an asteroid.

The goal of the contest, according to Clemson psychology professor Benjamin R. Stephens, is to engage more students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and to stimulate students by providing an opportunity for them to explore and discover.

"Asking kids to create a presentation for NASA is a very cool challenge," Stephens said. "That creative process can enhance their interest in science and technology, setting the stage for their next steps toward STEM topics in higher education."

Although winners of this Asteroid Contest will not receive prizes or monetary awards, select winners of the challenge who have displayed exemplary workmanship and creativity, will have the opportunity to have their presentations highlighted on the NASA website.

Amanda Carter, a student on the team noted, "Working on this Creative Inquiry team has been such a great opportunity for me. It's not like any sort of typical group project - your opinions and input really matter. I've been able to gain a lot of research, technical, and leadership experience I might not have developed outside of this team. You don't get to work on these sorts of things in your typically college classes, and that's what I really love about this Creative Inquiry."

Creative Inquiry students at Clemson working with Stephens are involved in designing the challenge and creating the website.

They are promoting the competition regionally, judging the submissions and evaluating the impact/effectiveness of the challenge.

By: Nancy Spitler (Decipher Issue 1, Fall 2012)