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    2012 NASA Space Settlement Design Contest
    Design a space settlement! Space settlements are permanent communities in orbit, as opposed to being on the moon or other planets. Designing a space settlement involves physics, mathematics, space science, environmental science and many other disciplines.
    The NASA Space Settlement Design Contest is for 11-18-year-old students from anywhere in the world. Individuals or teams may enter. Grades 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12 are judged separately, except for the grand prize. All participants will receive a certificate.
    Submissions must be received by March 15, 2012.
    For more information about the NASA Space Settlement Design Contest, visit http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/Contest/.
    If you have any questions about the contest, please e-mail Al Globus at aglobus@mail.arc.nasa.gov.
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    2011 SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge

    NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory are offering high school students the opportunity to design experiments that will be tested in space.

    The 2011 Zero Robotics challenge is a continuation and expansion of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education program using bowling ball-sized spherical satellites aboard the International Space Station.

    The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites that make up SPHERES fly in formation inside the station’s cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment. Test results support satellite servicing, vehicle assembly and spacecraft that fly in formation.

    The SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge requires high school student teams to write their own algorithm to fly the satellites in the station. Teams must register before Sept. 5, 2011, at http://zerorobotics.mit.edu/.

    Entries will be evaluated using simulations. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., will host a ground test 2D competition in October. Two elimination rounds in the 3D online simulation will be held in November. The top 27 teams will have their code sent to the station, where an astronaut will program the SPHERES satellites to run their tests.

    The Zero Robotics challenge, facilitated by MIT, continues the STEM focus of the SPHERES program. The 2011 challenge expands on a pilot program performed in 2009 and 2010. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to high school students, Zero Robotics is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students will have the opportunity to push their limits and develop skills in STEM. This program builds critical engineering skills for students such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, team work and presentation skills.

    MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory developed SPHERES in 2006 to provide DARPA, NASA and other researchers with a long-term test bed for validating technologies critical to the operation of future satellites, docking missions and satellite autonomous maneuvers. The satellites provide opportunities to test a wide range of hardware and software at an affordable cost.

    For additional information about NASA and MIT’s Zero Robotics program, visit http://go.nasa.gov/zero-robotics.

    For additional information about DARPA, visit http://www.darpa.mil.

    Please e-mail any questions about this opportunity to Jason Crusan at Jason.Crusan@nasa.gov.

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    Earth Science Week Contests Announced for 2011

    Take part in the following contests to celebrate Earth Science Week. This year’s celebration takes place Oct. 9-15, 2011.

    Earth Science Week 2011 Photography Contest — Open to All Ages

    http://www.earthsciweek.org/contests/photography/index.html

    The American Geological Institute is sponsoring a photography contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2011. Photographs should focus on the topic “A World of Change in My Community.” The contest is open to any resident of the United States. Participants should submit pictures that show how their areas are influenced by environmental changes. Entries may be submitted electronically or by mail. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Entries are due Oct. 14, 2011.

    Earth Science Week 2011 Visual Arts Contest — Open to Students in Grades K-5

    http://www.earthsciweek.org/contests/visualarts/index.html

    The American Geological Institute is sponsoring a visual arts contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2011. Artwork should focus on the topic “Picturing Our Ever-Changing Earth.” The contest is open to students in grades K-5 who are residents of the United States. Participants should submit an original two-dimensional visual arts project that shows ways in which Earth’s air, water, land and living things change over time. Entries are due Oct. 14, 2011, and must be submitted by mail.

    Earth Science Week 2011 Essay Contest — Open to Students in Grades 6-9

    http://www.earthsciweek.org/contests/essay/index.html

    The American Geological Institute is sponsoring an essay contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2011. Essays should focus on the theme “How Change Shapes Our Planet.” The contest is open to students in grades 6-9 who are residents of the United States. Participants should submit an original essay no more than 300 words in length, typed and formatted to fit on one page. Entries may be submitted electronically or by mail. The deadline for submitting entries is Oct. 14, 2011.

    If you have any questions about any of these contests, please e-mail the Earth Science Week staff at info@earthsciweek.org.

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    2011 DIME and WING Competitions

    NASA announces two opportunities for students to design and build an experiment to be conducted in a NASA research drop tower. The Dropping In a Microgravity Environment, or DIME, competition is for students in grades 9-12. Students in grades 5-8 are encouraged to participate in the “What If No Gravity?”, or WING, competition.

    Four teams in the high school DIME competition will be invited to visit NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and operate their experiments in the drop tower. Four additional teams will send their experiments to Glenn for the drop tower staff to operate them.

    The winning WING teams will have their experiments operated in the same drop tower by the NASA drop tower staff.

    Proposals for both competitions are due on Nov. 1, 2011. Competition selections will be on Dec. 1, 2011, and drop tower operations will be conducted in March 2012.

    The DIME & WING competitions are funded by NASA’s Teaching From Space project.

    For more information about this opportunity, visit http://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/DIME.html.

    If you have questions about this opportunity, please e-mail your inquiries to the DIME team at dime@lists.nasa.gov.

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    2012 NASA Space Settlement Design Contest

    Design a space settlement! Space settlements are permanent communities in orbit, as opposed to being on the moon or other planets. Designing a space settlement involves physics, mathematics, space science, environmental science and many other disciplines.

    The NASA Space Settlement Design Contest is for 11-18-year-old students from anywhere in the world. Individuals or teams may enter. Grades 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12 are judged separately, except for the grand prize. All participants will receive a certificate.

    Submissions must be received by March 15, 2012.

    For more information about the NASA Space Settlement Design Contest, visit http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/Contest/.

    If you have any questions about the contest, please e-mail Al Globus at aglobus@mail.arc.nasa.gov.

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