East Hawaii News

Students to Reach the Moon in Space Act Agreement

January 20, 2015, 12:09 PM HST
* Updated January 25, 8:12 AM
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Hawai’i high school students will have a rare opportunity to experience something few students do: the chance to touch the moon, quite literally.

A non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement has been signed by the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The agreement will formally establish a partnership to jointly work on a Hawai’i high school Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics project, known as STEM, that allows students the opportunity to develop a space experiment and send it to the surface of the Moon.

Under the Space Act Agreement, KSC will mentor the selected Hawai’i students. Since the experiment involves electrodynamic dust shield technology, the students will be consulted on the physics of EDS; the design, development, and construction of mounting and integration hardware, and testing and analysis of a flight experiment configuration.

The design and test data will be provided to KSC, which could benefit KSC research and design efforts in the area of dust mitigation.

A lunar lander mockup spacecraft will be crafted by the students with the help of PISCES, including the installation and mounting of the EDS. PISCES will also provide the students use of the Center’s planetary analogue site on the Big Island, where they will test their equipment before launching it to the Moon.

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EDS technology has yet to have been used on the moon. Dust is a major issue because of the way it interferes with and damages space equipment. KSC developed EDS as a means of removing the dust.

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Officials say that if the Hawai’i high school experiment is successful, it would be the first time in history that a student experiment has been conducted on the surface of the moon.

The target date for the launch of the experiment is the end of 2016.

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