OSIRIS-REx is zooming towards the asteroid Bennu. It's on a mission to collect a sample of asteroid "dirt" and send it back to Earth. Scientists hope to uncover the building blocks of life in the solar system. The spacecraft launched last summer, so what's it up to these days? International STEM Education Collaboration!
This unique collaborative Initiative in Brazil is the result of a partnership between the Kennedy Space Center International Academy, The Michaelis Foundation for Global Education and the Brazil Florida Chamber of Commerce.
Students ages 9 to 14 are attending classes with instructors trained in the United States on the key concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Four selected educational institutions in Brazil are hosting this STEM hands on practical and theoretical robotics and programming course.
For the first time in the country of Brazil, the course is based on NASA's OSIRIS-Rex mission, which sent a spacecraft into space to monitor and collect samples from the surface of the asteroid BENNU.
The "Asteroid Mission" program will be taught in the cities of Americana, Limeira, Ribeirao Preto and Sorocaba.
In addition to general asteroid science, students are learning about NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. The University of Arizona leads the mission. In September 2016, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched on its seven-year journey. This groundbreaking mission will grab a sample from a primitive carbonaceous asteroid and bring it back to Earth for analysis. That sample will be a scientific time capsule from 4.5 billion years ago!
The program provides theoretical classes on introduction to robotics, science and technology. The Mission 1 is taught by Vinícius Fantuche, a mechanical engineer and mission specialist at "The Asteroid Mission", which will present the NASA mission in detail. The practical classes are being held this week at the FACENS University Lab, and in the following weeks at the other selected partner schools under the coordination of Mr. José Carlos Filho, Program's country manager in Brazil. "We will divide the students into teams and each will have a (rover) robot. The mission will be to schedule it according to the activities defined in the day. We also have a real replica of the surface of an asteroid".
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta is the mission's principal investigator at the University of Arizona. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is building the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program.
The Brazil-Florida Chamber of Commerce, BFCC, is a not-for-profit organization. BFCC has emerged as one of the most dynamic bilateral business catalysts in the nation in recent years.
For more information about the program, visit TheAsteroidMission.com
Credit: Cibele Santiago - Brazil Florida Chamber of Commerce