High school students present prototypes to NASA experts for engineering challenge

The organization “High schools United with NASA to Create Hardware” (HUNCH) conducted the preliminary design review of a NASA Hunch Design & Prototyping challenge at Space Center Houston Nov. 13.

What is the challenge?

Area high school students have spent the school year researching and engineering prototypes that could help advance space exploration.

The students examine and attempt to solve some challenging aspects of space exploration by designing prototypes such as lunar sample collection tools, zero-gravity mouse food dispensers, compact washing machines, and Martian rover wheels.

Participants examined details such as the velocity at which a capsule enters the atmosphere, the difficultly astronauts have when using bulky EVA gloves, and the location where soil is dispersed as a tire moves across the terrain.

Participants even monitor NASA engineering developments throughout the year to ensure their prototypes are innovative and ahead of existing products.

The prototypes are created from a variety of materials. One team 3-D printed their entire lunar supply pod while another team used sheet steel to develop an ideal rover wheel. Another group used copper wire to increase the functionality of space tools.

During the preliminary design review on Nov. 13, students shared their projects with guests and NASA experts. This review process provides a platform where the students can present their ideas and get valuable insight from NASA experts ahead of the critical design review set to take place in February.

What is HUNCH?

The HUNCH mission is to empower and inspire students through a project-based learning program where high school students learn 21st century skills and have the opportunity to launch their careers through the participation in the design and fabrication of real world valued products for NASA.

Space Center Houston regularly hosts HUNCH events. Click here to learn more about previous HUNCH challenges at Space Center Houston.