The Beating the Odds Foundation partnered with NASA for its annual event Monday, May 20, 2019 at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. This year’s research challenge was called the Apollo 11 Mission Research Challenge.
The research challenge focused on the ever memorable and historic Apollo 11 first man moon landing mission. This challenge, of epic proportions, has become a significant 50-year milestone in space exploration as NASA prepares for future challenges in deep space. Students traveled to Greenbelt, MD from Pennsylvania and California to tour the workspaces at Goddard and to present before NASA personnel and approximately 130 students and teachers. Student teams presented their research using the QBOL™ Blueprint for Success as a guide for indicating how NASA achieved Apollo 11 Mission success. The Apollo 11 Research Challenge was of dual importance. NASA and the student research teams share one important dynamic in common, to achieve success in the face of known and unknown challenges.
Dr. Noah Petro, Project Scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or LRO mission, was the keynote speaker for the event. Dr. Petro spoke to the students not only about his position as a research scientist at Goddard, but how he got there. He told the students that when he was their age, his dad took him to Goddard for a visit. His father was an engineer who worked on the Apollo program. The early influence to science started his interest to space science. Dr. Petro was born in Harrisburg, PA, but grew up in NY. Exposure to science in 9th grade really kick started his interest in earth science and geology. Dr. Petro said that 3 of his high school teachers really peaked his interest because these teachers showed him that once you got to the end of a chapter that what was learned had application outside the classroom. Dr. Petro emphasized to the students that everything he does at NASA is not done alone but rather in teams. It took 400,000 people working together on Apollo to land a human on the moon. Dr. Petro said as a geologist he has to work together and communicate daily with engineers, artists, mathematicians, and physicists. Dr. Petro said in the face of challenges find teachers, mentors, guidance counselors, people who will point you in the right direction and give you advice. Dr. Petro then took some questions from the students, before the student presentations.
Participating schools included: Altoona Area High School (Altoona, PA), Bellwood-Antis Middle School 9Bellwood, PA), Great Valley High School (Melvern, PA), Hollidaysburg Area Jr. High School (Hollidaysburg, PA), Learn4Life San Diego and Palmdale, CA), and Scott Middle School (Coatesville, PA).
In 2013, the Beating the Odds Foundation teamed up with NASA to offer a STEM research challenge and end-year event at NASA Headquarters and/or Goddard Space Flight Center for students and teachers. This collaboration allows students to participate in a student research challenge that focuses on personal, academic, and career success while studying different NASA missions.