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D
ropping In a Microgravity Environment


    NASA Drop Tower Competition for High-School-Aged Student Teams

    Dime coin graphic DIME Dime coin graphic


    Summary of DIME 2005

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    The four DIME teams, the NASA mentors, and the NASA DIME staff get to know each other in an ice-breaker game to start DIME Drop Days.
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    Troy Athens High School team from Troy, Michigan meets their NASA mentor, Mr. Scott Numbers, at DIME Drop Days 2005.
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    The first day of DIME Drop Days 2005 was spent in the building where NASA Glenn experiments are prepared for flight on the NASA KC-135 parabolic-flight aircraft.
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    The DIME team from Tualatin High School in Tualatin, Oregon explain their experiment to the other teams.
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    The DIME team from Troy Athens High School in Troy, Michigan explain their experiment to the other teams.
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    The DIME team from Columbus High School in Columbus, Georgia explain their experiment to the other teams.
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    The DIME team from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois explain their experiment to the other teams.
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    The teams walked to the drop tower the first morning to watch a researcher drop a combustion experiment. That operationn began the teams' orientation to the drop tower procedures they would use that afternoon and the next day.
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    The DIME teams, their NASA mentors, and the NASA Glenn DIME staff gather for a photograph in front of the 2.2 Second Drop Tower.
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    The team from Tualatin, Oregon and their NASA mentor relax in front of the drop tower prior to the first drop of their experiment.
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    The Troy Athens High School team from Michigan pose with their NASA mentor in front of the drop tower.
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    The team from Columbus, Georgia and their NASA mentor await their turn to operate their experiment in the drop tower.
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    The team from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois eagerly await their turn in the drop tower.
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    The Columbus High School team proudly show off their experiment after mounting it in the NASA experiment carrier.
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    The Tualatin High School team proudly show off their experiment after mounting it in the NASA experiment carrier.
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    The Troy Athens High School team proudly wait by their experiment while it is being loaded in the drop tower drag shield.
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    The Glenbrook North High School team proudly show off their experiment after mounting it in the NASA experiment carrier.
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    The team from Glenbrook North High School shows their delight after the first drop of their experiment.
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    The Troy Athens High School team prepares their experiment in the drop tower shop to get it ready for its second drop.
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    The Drag Force in Microgravity experiment by the Troy Athens High School team is loaded, primed, and ready to go at the top of the drop tower.
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    Procedures are very important for the drop tower experiments since each drop is a single chance for success. Here, the Troy Athens High School team is pondering their next step.
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    Success! The Troy Athens High School team and their NASA mentor pose with smiles after successful operation of their experiment on its third drop.
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    The Tualatin High School team is preparing their experiment in the NASA experiment carrier prior to its second drop.
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    Last minute adjustments to the camera will help ensure good video data for the Tualatin High School team's experiment. Procedures are vital to ensure all adjustments are made prior to a drop.
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    The Tualatin High School team's experiment is installed and ready to go at the top level of the drop tower.
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    The Tualatin High School team poses for a moment after their second successful drop.
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    The Columbus High School team discusses the adjustments to their complex experiment for its second drop.
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    The Columbus High School team's experiment was a complex combination of electronics and components from a computer hard disk drive.
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    Putting their experiment through a trial run, the Tualatin High School team observe its operation.
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    The Columbus High School team members operate the video recording system in preparation for their second drop.
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    The Glenbrook North High School team prepares the video recording equipment prior to their experiment's third drop.
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    A view of a monitor showing the webcast video during the Glenbrook North High School team's operations just before their experiment was dropped.
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    After the third drop of their experiment, the Glenbrook North High School team reviews the video data with their NASA mentor.
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    A group of students begin their SCUBA lesson orientation with their two instructors (on the right). The students learned to SCUBA dive as astronauts do when training for spaceflight.
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    Success! A student swims at the bottom of the deep end of the pool.
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    Yes, even the teams' advisors get to SCUBA dive also. Here the Glenbrook North High School and the Tualatin High School advisors get ready to dive.
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    After their last drop, the teams worked with their mentors to analyze their data. After their return home, the teams will analyze their data further and prepare a final report.
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    A NASA employee stops in to visit and talk with the teams and ask about their data.
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    The teams then presented their preliminary results to the other teams.
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    A concluding ceremony was held to celebrate the success of the teams' experiments.
    The Dropping In a Microgravity Environment (DIME) high-school team competition conducted DIME Drop Days on April 19 - 21, 2005 at the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) 2.2-Second Drop Tower. The four 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.

    The DIME 2005 selected experiments and their teams were:

      Creating an Isolated Droplet in Zero Gravity
      Advisor: Chris Murray
      Tualatin High School
      Tualatin, Oregon

    • Capillarity:Fluid Interactions in Microgravity Conditions
      Advisor: Lynne Zielinski
      Glenbrook North High School
      Northbrook, Illinois

    • Microgravity effects on Newly Discovered Light-Reactive film
      Advisor: Luther W. Richardson
      Columbus High School
      Columbus, Georgia

    • The Drag Force in Microgravity
      Advisor: Jennifer Gottlieb
      Troy Athens High School
      Troy, Michigan


    All of the teams' experiments were operated in the drop tower. Similar to projects conducted by university and NASA researchers, there were surprises in the operations and results for all teams' experiments. Operational difficulties were experienced in each of the experiments but the teams analyzed the problem and developed corrective actions. Each team made modifications to their experiment and procedures over the course of the drops that each team accomplished.

    The Drop Days activities in the drop tower were web-cast so the sponsoring schools, the students' parents, and other interested people and organizations could observe the activities of the teams in real time. The activities of installing the experiment into the facility drag shield, preparing the facility for the drop, the release of the experiment, and the fall down the drop tower were web-cast. After the drop, the students, their advisor, and the team's NASA mentor examined the video data.

    During the DIME Drop Days, the students also participated in microgravity workshops, a NASA GRC facility tour, and a SCUBA training session at their hotel pool. The SCUBA session was arranged as a simulation of astronaut neutral buoyancy training for spaceflight extra-vehicular activity (EVA). Underwater, each DIME student team constructed a PVC-pipe octagon which simulated a space station hatch opening. The team members then swam through the opening to accomplish the goals set by the SCUBA instructors.

    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 four proposals for those teams to further develop and build their experiment. When completed, the experiments are sent to GRC for operation in the drop tower. NASA provides travel funds for four student team members and one adult advisor from each team to visit GRC for the three-day DIME Drop Days and to operate their experiment. DIME 2005 was the fifth year for DIME and was the third year as a nation-wide program.

    The DIME WWW page is located at this URL:
    http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/DIME.html


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