Students gather at UAHuntsville to compete for design of landing vehicle on Saturn moon

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Nov. 30, 2011) - How many high school students get a chance to design a landing vehicle that will conceptually float on the lakes of Saturn's moon Titan? The answer is 200.

Students from across North Alabama will be on the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville today to compete in the development of a scientific payload for a mission to Titan.

The students will be participating in a competition that brings together multi-disciplinary teams of engineering students to design, fabricate, and test a scientific payload to be integrated onto a UAHuntsville-designed spacecraft for a NASA mission-of-interest.

In this case, students are expected to confront the challenge of designing a lander that will float on the surface of Titan, one of Saturn's moons. Titan's surface is populated with lakes that contain methane and ethane. Also, the surface temperature of Titan is 90 degrees Kelvin, or almost minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Officials said the event, sponsored by NASA's Discovery/New Frontiers program, provides hands-on, real-world experience similar to careers at Redstone Arsenal.

Among the high schools taking part in the IPT program this fall are Grissom, Lee, Bob Jones, Guntersville, Decatur, Austin, Hartselle, Holly Pond and Vinemont. A similar competition is planned in the spring 2012 semester involving a Mercury lander.

The teams will gather today at the University Center Exhibit Hall from 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information,
contact Ray Garner