Future Engineers, an award-winning online education platform that issues national innovation challenges for K-12 students, has launched the Two for the Crew Challenge, a challenge that tasks students to create a model intended to be 3D printed by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). The challenge is to combine the function of two objects that astronauts use on the ISS into one. Students will learn about the advantages of in-space manufacturing, including customization, which means that astronauts can print what they need, when they need it, and can make very specific parts for the unique environment of the ISS.
“Designing 3D prints for space isn’t limited to how we currently use or perceive traditional tools and equipment,” said Deanne Bell, founder of Future Engineers. “I‘m excited to see how students innovate new hardware that is more efficient and above all addresses astronauts’ needs.”
Two for the Crew is the sixth in a series of space innovation challenges developed by Future Engineers with the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) Foundation and with technical assistance provided by NASA. Participants will explore concepts of mass and volume, while learning engineering and 3D design skills. Submissions from K-12 students in the United States will be accepted beginning today through December 19, 2017 at http://www.futureengineers.org/twoforthecrew
“This challenge was inspired by thinking through the unique issues faced in space exploration and confined spaces,” said Bell. “We want to continue to inspire students to see engineering as a creative career of real-world problem solving.”
Winners will be announced on March 14, 2018. The winner of the teen challenge will have his/her design 3D printed on the ISS, using Made In Space’s advanced manufacturing facilities. Additionally, winners from both the junior (ages 5-12) and teen (ages 12-19) age divisions will receive a trip to Washington D.C. for a VIP experience to learn about space exploration.
MakerBot will also donate a Replicator Mini+ 3D printer to the school, library or education organization of the top four finalists in each age category in recognition of their accomplishment.
The Two for the Crew challenge is free for student participation and the challenge site provides educational resources including a suite of brainstorming categories to educate students about ISS crew tools and to get students started with creating their designs.
The site also provides links to free Autodesk 3D design software. Autodesk is a technology partner of the challenge.
Previous Future Engineers challenges have called upon students to design 3D models of space tools, medical hardware, and sustainable food solutions. For more information on the Future Engineers 3D Space Challenges, follow Future Engineers on Twitter @k12futuree (#Two4Crew) or like them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/K12futureengineers/