Summary of DIME 2001
The Dropping In a Microgravity Environment (DIME) high-school team competition conducted Drop Days on April 25-27, 2001 at the NASA Glenn Research Center 2.2-Second Drop Tower facility. The two participating high-school student teams brought their experiments to GRC and operated them in the drop tower just as regular NASA and academic researchers accomplish their research goals.
high-school students from Sycamore High School in Cincinnati
designed and built a combustion chamber to burn a sample of
cotton T-shirt to investigate how clothing burns in a microgravity
environment. The flame shape and spread was observed during
the burn which was initiated before the drop. The four young
ladies on this team were friends at high school, one wants
to work for NASA in mission control, one wants to work in
the aerospace industry, and one wants to be an astronaut.
Their advisor has been busy in microgravity for years having
arranged for a demonstrator drop tower to be built at their
high-school students from the Columbus area formed the other
team as their project in the Center Of Science & Industry
(COSI) Academy, a program run by COSI to offer additional
educational opportunities for Columbus-area students. Their
fluid experiment involved interaction of gas bubbles from
a carbonated beverage with soybeans immersed in the fluid.
The up and down motion of the soybeans was observed before,
during, and after the microgravity conditions of the drop.
The four young men on this team come from different schools,
with three of them being home schooled. Despite not knowing
each other before, they worked well as a cohesive team in
the various tasks necessary for operating their experiment.
teams' experiments operated successfully in the drop tower.
There were surprises in the operation and the results for
both teams. Each team made modifications to their experiment
over the course of four drops that each team accomplished.
During the DIME Drop Days, the students also participated
in microgravity workshops, a GRC facility tour, and a SCUBA
demonstration at their hotel pool. The SCUBA demonstration
was arranged as a simulation of astronaut neutral buoyancy
facility training for spaceflight EVA. Underwater, the two
student teams separately constructed a PVC-pipe octagon which
simulated a space station hatch opening. Each team member
then swam through the opening without knocking it apart to
accomplish the goals set by the SCUBA instructors.
Drop Days activities in the drop tower were web-cast by
GRC Imaging Technology Center personnel and equipment so
that the sponsoring schools and the students' parents could
observe the activities of the teams in real time. During
the web cast, the students were interviewed and explained
their team, their experiment, and their future career goals.
The video results for their experiments were also shown.
DIME is a school-year-long activity where a team is formed
to develop an experiment concept and write a proposal for
accomplishing the experiment. GRC microgravity scientists
and engineers select the top five proposals for those teams
to further develop and build their experiment. The experiments
are then sent to GRC for operation in the drop tower. DIME
provides travel funds for four student team members and an
advisor to visit GRC for the three-day Drop Days and operate
their experiment. The 2001 DIME was a pilot year for Ohio-based
schools and for the 2001-2002 school year, teams based in
GRC's six state outreach area (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan,
Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) will be eligible to participate.
the DIME WWW page this summer for updates for DIME 2002.
page maintained by
Richard DeLombard, NASA Glenn Research Center.
Last Updated on November 14, 2001