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Modeling and Simulation Contest Win Means ODU Engineering Students Will Meet with NASA Hubble Telescope Engineers

A team of Old Dominion University students recently won a NASA contest, sponsored by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA). And for their prize, they'll have the opportunity to interact with NASA scientists as they do high-tech repair work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

The ODU students teamed up with high schoolers from Grassfield High School Technology Academy in Chesapeake to win the first-ever Virtual Exploration Sustainability Challenge (VESC), a modeling and simulation contest.

This year's contest, which was co-sponsored by NASA Langley Research Center and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., was based on a real engineering challenge: how to maintain and upgrade the orbiting Hubble Telescope.

Students attempted to build a working model of the Hubble and develop an efficient Extra Vehicular Activity or space walk, to be tested using the same program. Through interactions within a three-dimensional virtual world, teams collaborated with each other, mentors and NIA researchers to create these models.

"Success in the 21st century requires self-directed learning and VESC '09 is a textbook example of this," said Thomas Pinelli, deputy manager of the initiative at NASA Langley.

"It requires participants to responsibly manage and evaluate their learning, to collaborate with others, to develop multiple strategies to achieve goals and to transfer conceptual knowledge to new situations."

This article was posted on: May 8, 2009

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