Class at Armstrong High School Puts Students in Touch with NASA Scientists
You could say a new class at Armstrong High School is out of this world – literally.
The class combines aerospace and bioengineering and is part of NASA’s HUNCH program. Armstrong is one of seven schools in Minnesota that offer it.
Students communicate with NASA scientists and engineers every month, sometimes in person.
“It’s just a really cool opportunity to speak with people in that field. I mean you don’t see NASA people walking down the street every day,” said Armstrong senior Sophia Satterfield.
Working in teams, students brainstorm, design and build equipment for the space program.
“Some day we’re going to have to grow our own food in space, how are we going to do that? And these students are going to help us find the answer to that,” said Glenn Johnson with NASA’s HUNCH program.
Satterfield and her partners are working on the live protein problem, building an apparatus to get live insects to space.
“It’s creating a box essentially for insects to live in for 30 days in space that is completely self-functioning, that doesn’t need any human interaction,” Satterfield said.
A lot of these projects aim to keep astronauts comfortable. Emi Ramirez and his team are designing a lunar habitat chair.
“It needs to be low flammability, cleanable. Adjustable height is our biggest concern,” said Ramirez.
Science and engineering is often two steps forward, one step back and there’s no guarantee any of these projects will be on a NASA flight. But just that possibility is exciting to students.
“I think some would say ‘it’s frustrating’ but I enjoy that,” said Satterfield. “I think it’s a cool way to rethink about things and then also with there are problems you didn’t think about and solutions and it can really be that make or break moment with it.”