NASA is asking students to submit experiment ideas


While many students dream of someday working for NASA as a scientist, some middle and high school students may get the chance to achieve that goal much sooner than later.

NASA is hosting its third TechRise Student challenge for students in grades 6 through 12 who attend U.S. public, private or charter schools. This competition calls for students to focus on “payload design and the suborbital flight test process,” according to NASA. The goal of the program is to inspire kids to develop an interest in space exploration, coding, electronics and other scientific topics.

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The NASA TechRise Challenge wants teams of at least four students (no maximum number limit for team members) to develop a science or technology experiment for one of two test flight vehicles:

  • A high-altitude balloon that will fly for about four hours at a 70,000-foot altitude. At this height, the balloon will experience different parts of Earth’s atmosphere, including high-altitude radiation and perspective views of the planet.
  • A rocket-powered lander that will fly 80 feet in the air for about 120 seconds over a test field designed to look like the Moon’s surface.

The student teams will go through a design process and write a proposal outlining their experiments. Specific guidelines for this experiment must be outlined using NASA’s proposal template that replicates the scientific method.

Proposal entries are due on Oct. 20, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. PDT and must be submitted online via the contest website, where you can get all the details on submitting an experiment for the competition.

At the end of this proposal process, 60 teams will have the chance to work with NASA experts to build and execute their test flight experiments. Each team will win $1,500 to develop their idea, a 3-D flight box the experiment must go into, technical support from NASA’s Future Engineers advisors and an assigned spot on a NASA-sponsored flight in 2024.

Watch the official NASA TechRise Student Challenge video to see the kind of test flights students will engage with and details about the competition.

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Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World. Visit Scripps News to see more of Marie's work.

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