NASA Proposal

Carson High Engineering Students Submit NASA Proposal for High-altitude Testing
Posted on 12/07/2023
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As part of the NASA TechRise Student challenge and Future Engineers, Carson High School Engineer students have submitted a proposal to measure muon count and ionizing radiation at varying altitudes.

The Carson City team became curious about the potential for investigating cosmic rays and ionizing radiation in the upper atmosphere from other research done at Georgia State University and the Department of Energy. They plan to evaluate the performance of small muon detectors that use scintillating plastic/silicon photomultipliers as well as the performance of the electronics pocket geiger counters. Once obtained, they will compare their data to other’s experimental values of muon flux at altitude, such as from the University of Northern Colorado.

“This experiment alone will provide many unique opportunities to prepare the students with technical, engineering and scientific skills for their careers,” said Carson High School Engineering Teacher Evelyn Grime. “Already, these students have gained skills in learning how to propose an idea and working effectively as a team.”

There are 10 students involved on the team (3 first-year engineering students and 7 third-year engineering students). Grime said the proposal was driven by Bebe Kiel, an 11-grader at Carson High.

“After attending school only part time due to chronic illnesses her freshman and sophomore year, Kiel is back in school full-time and setting the pace for everyone around her with an amazing attitude,” Grime said.

When Bebe expressed strong interest in the TechRise Challenge, Kirstin Kolstad, Carson High Engineering teacher, created a special study class to support the project.

The NASA TechRise Student Challenge invites teams of sixth to twelfth-grade students to design, build and launch science and technology experiments on a high-altitude balloon flight or a rocket-powered lander during the 2023-2024 school year.

“I am incredibly proud of our high school engineering team for their exceptional dedication and ingenuity," said Andrew Feuling, superintendent for the Carson City School District. “Their relentless pursuit of excellence not only exemplifies the spirit of innovation within our educational community but also serves as a testament to the limitless potential of our students.”

NASA encouraged public, private and charter school students in all U.S. states and territories to form a team, brainstorm an experiment and submit a TechRise proposal on or before Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.

A total of 60 winning teams will be selected, with each receiving $1,500 to build their payloads and be awarded an assigned spot for their experiments on a NASA-sponsored commercial flight. High-Altitude Balloon flight tests will offer approximately four hours of flight time at 70,000 feet and exposure to Earth’s atmosphere, high-altitude radiation and perspective views of the planet. Rocket-Powered Lander flight tests will fly for approximately two minutes at an altitude of 80 feet over a test field designed to look like the Moon’s surface.

Winners will be announced January 23, 2024. From there, winning teams will receive a welcome package and will be able to begin building their experiment. Each team will meet regularly with the TechRise advisory team and learn (or improve) the skills needed to build their experiment. All experiments must be mailed to Future Engineers no later than May 17, 2024. The experiments will launch on their corresponding flight test vehicles in summer 2024.

Photo Cutline:
Left to right back row: Engineering Teacher Evelyn Grime, Ivan Usquiano (12th grade), Evan Silva (12th grade), Pierce Adams (12th grade), Aaron Witt (11th grade), Tyler Burdett (11th grade), Shingo Copeland (11th grade) and Engineering Teacher Kirstin Kolstad. Left to right front row: Ricardo Flores (11th grade), Bebe Kiel (11th grade), Hailey Torres (10th grade) and Kevin Tapia (11th grade).