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NASA Invites Students to a Weightless Challenge

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 by for Extra Credit, Juniors, NASA, Seniors, Sophomores.

View down the shaft of the 2.2 Second Drop Tower at the Glenn Research Center

Dropping In a Microgravity Environment (DIME) is a weightless science competition open to high school students across the United States and Puerto Rico. Teams may be formed from any type of organization or club, such as a science class, or a group of friends. Each team must have an adult advisor, such as a teacher, parent or technical consultant. Experiment proposals are due November 1.

A panel of NASA scientists and engineers will evaluate and select the top-ranked proposals by December 1. The winning teams then will design and build the experiments that will be conducted in the 2.2 Second Drop Tower at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. When an experiment is dropped into the 79-foot tower, it experiences weightlessness, or microgravity, for 2.2 seconds. Researchers from around the world use this tower to study the effects of microgravity on physical phenomena such as combustion and fluid dynamics, and to develop new technology for future space missions.

The top four DIME teams will receive an all-expenses-paid trip in March to conduct their experiments, review the results with NASA personnel and tour Glenn’s facilities. All DIME participants visiting NASA must be U.S. citizens.

Four additional DIME teams will be selected to build their experiments and ship them to Glenn to be drop-tested by NASA. These experiments and the resulting data will be returned to the teams so they can prepare reports about their findings.