Industrial and Technical Education Collaborative

Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technology and Rocklin High School Partner to Support NASA Lunabotics Competition

On November 7, 2012, student teams at Rocklin High Schoolís Engineering Support Technology program presented trophy design concepts to an engineer at Kennedy Space Centerís NASA program and the coordinator of the NASA Lunabotics competition. This is the fourth year that the EST program has designed trophies for the Lunabotics competition (http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/centers/kennedy/technology/lunabotics.html), but the first time that teams consulted with an engineer in the design process.
Teams presented using Skype; all students could hear and see the NASA representatives via a larger projection system. Teams introduced themselves, described their design and how it would work, and had to justify why they included specific mechanical components. The EST teacher took quick notes for each team to include in the redesign process.
Students were challenged with questions such as:

  • How big is this? (e.g. NASA doesnít have the capacity to launch it into space if it is as big as a car)
  • Why did you use spiked wheels vs. tracks?
  • If you use hydraulics, the fluid will boil in the sun and freeze in the dark.
  • Where do you have cameras mounted?
  • How will this design collect and move mined material?

Following the review process, teams were tasked with using SolidWorks to design trophy components. Designs will be prototyped on the RHS 3D printer, and finalists will be produced on the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) 3D printer and sent to NASA for painting and mounting.
This is an easily replicable model that can be used to engage industry experts in technical education courses! For more information, contact Dan Frank, dfrank@rocklin.k12.ca.us