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Rocks, rockets and robotics


June 03, 2010

Summer science camp students must save civilization from a giant asteroid

WHAT:
“Cosmic Collision: Rock Stars to the Rescue!”

The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp
Hosted by Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

For the second consecutive year, ASU is one of 30 universities in the United States selected by veteran astronaut Bernard Harris to host a two-week summer camp that challenges 48 fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade students from Arizona schools to expand their horizons in engineering and science.

Participating students are from schools in Phoenix, Oracle, Glendale, Kayenta, Scottsdale, Surprise, Laveen, Tolleson, Chinle, Tempe, Window Rock, Goodyear, Mesa, San Luis, El Mirage, Chandler, Tuba City and Ganado.

WHEN:
June 6 to 18, 2010

WHERE:
Arizona State University, Tempe campus

WHY:
The camp’s goal is help students develop skills in critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. It’s part of ASU’s expanding efforts to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among young students, and to educate them about career opportunities in these fields, to help keep the nation at the leading edge of innovation in the future.

The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp program is the largest of its kind in the nation, offering a two-week, free-of-charge experience. Participating students are recommended by their teachers based on leadership skills and aptitude in science and mathematics.

Students wrote essays with their camp applications, explaining why they should be selected to participate. They also had to demonstrate financial need.

CAMP THEME:
The curriculum for the camp has been developed in partnership with ASU’s Mars Space Flight Facility. Students will confront a cosmic problem:  “How can we protect all life on Earth from the catastrophic collision of a massive asteroid? If we can’t stop the impact, how will we find and establish a new home on another world in our solar system?”

To survive the “cosmic collision,” campers will explore solutions through the study of sustainability, energy, water resources and robotics. Campers must act as “rock stars” by exhibiting a strong understanding of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts involved in rocketry and robotics in the effort to protect life on Earth.

Students will learn how to effectively use data from NASA’s Mars exploration missions to target a potential landing site for a mission to establish a new colony. 

VISUALS:
Science campers will engage in a variety of hands-on activities, including capturing images of the surface of Mars by using the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera developed at ASU. The camera is one of the devices mounted on NASA’s Mars Odyssey Spacecraft. Students will calculate the mass and volume of the solar system and determine if a planet or moon is capable of sustaining life.

By applying Newtonian laws of physics, students also will build and launch a rocket with the help of ASU’s Daedalus Aeronautics student rocketry club.   Rocket building will take place from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. June 9. The rocket launching will be from 9 to 11 a.m. June 11.

Students will build robots beginning at 1 p.m. June 11 and June 14, and at 9 a.m. June 15. A robotics programming and testing session will start at 9 a.m. June 16, with a Robot Challenge event that same day beginning at 1 p.m.

Veteran astronaut Bernard Harris visits the camp June 14.

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Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
http://engineering.asu.edu/
The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University serve more than 4,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students, providing skills and knowledge for shaping careers marked by innovation and societal impact. Ranked nationally in the top 10 percent among engineering schools rated by US News & World Report magazine, the school engages in use-inspired research in a multidisciplinary setting for the benefit of individuals, society and the environment. The school's 200-plus faculty members teach and pursue research in areas of electrical, chemical, mechanical, aerospace, civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, as well as bioengineering, energy engineering, computer science and engineering, informatics, decision systems, and construction management. The schools of engineering also work in partnership with the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and faculty work collaboratively with the Biodesign Institute at ASU, the School of Sustainability and the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Bernard Harris
Bernard Harris is the founder of the Harris Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports math and science education, and crime prevention programs for America’s youth. Harris is the first African American to walk in space. He was a crew member on Space Shuttle Columbia mission in 1992 and on a Space Shuttle Discovery mission in 1995. Harris has logged 438 hours and traveled more than 7.2 million miles in space.

The Harris Foundation
www.theharrisfoundation.org 
Founded in 1998, The Harris Foundation is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas, whose overall mission is to invest in the community through innovative education, health and wealth programs. The foundation supports programs that empower individuals and their communities, in particular minorities and economically and/or socially disadvantaged, to develop and pursue their dreams. The Education Mission of the Harris Foundation is to enable youth to develop and achieve their full potential through the support of social, recreational, and educational programs. The Harris Foundation believes that students can be prepared now for the careers of the future through structured education programs and the use of positive role models.  More than 10,000 K-12 students participate and benefit from THF programs annually.

ExxonMobil Foundation
www.exxonmobil.com/community
ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States.  The Foundation and the Corporation engage in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, health and science in the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations.  In the United States, ExxonMobil supports initiatives to improve math and science education at the K-12 and higher education levels.  Globally, ExxonMobil provides funding to improve basic education, promote women as catalysts for development, and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing countries.  In 2009, together with its employees and retirees, Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $235 million in contributions worldwide, of which more than $112 million was dedicated to education. 

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SOURCE:
Patricia Smith, patricia.f.smith.1@asu.edu
Coordinator, K12 Outreach
Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering
(480)965-5837

MEDIA CONTACT:
Joe Kullman, joe.kullman@asu.edu
(480) 965-8122 direct line
(480) 773-1364 mobile
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona  USA
http://engineering.asu.edu/