|Volume: 01, Issue: 13||09/24/2003|
Get Set for DIME Drop DaysItís not every day that students are allowed the chance to fly to a NASA research center and participate in a NASA microgravity experiment. Thanks to the Dropping In a Microgravity Environment (DIME) program, in which teams design and build a science experiment to be operated in a NASA microgravity drop tower facility, students from around the country will have that opportunity.
Teams interested in competing in the DIME program develop an experiment concept, prepare a proposal for an experiment, and submit the proposal to NASA. A NASA panel evaluates the submitted proposals and selects four teams to continue their experiment development and production.
For these chosen teams, NASA provides an expense-paid trip for four team members and an advisor to attend DIME Drop Days in April at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. During DIME Drop Days, team representatives conduct their experiment in Glennís state-of-the-art 2.2 Second Drop Tower, analyze their data, tour NASA facilities, and participate in workshops.
"In the DIME program, students learn a fundamental lesson for space experimentsómicrogravity; or 'weightlessness,' can be created on the ground by dropping experiments in a free fall," said Richard DeLombard, DIME program creator and coordinator from the Glenn Research Center. "We hope this program will inspire the next generation of astronauts and project scientists by allowing students to perform their experiments in conditions similar to that in the shuttle and International Space Station."
Potential DIME team members must be in grades 9-12. Teams may be composed of science class students, scout troops, or members of an extracurricular organization. Teams must also have an adult advisor to oversee the teamís work.
DIME began in 2001, drawing competitors from the state of Ohio. In 2002, teams were composed of students from Glenn's six-state Great Lakes outreach area. The competition expanded nationwide in 2003, allowing submissions from teams across all 50 states of the U.S., Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.
For more information about the DIME program, visit:
DIME-related information is also available on CD-ROM by e-mailing requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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