MSMA: First All-Female Team to Participate in NASA Hunch Program
Michelle H. Daino
Dr. Florence Gold from NASA and Professor Stephen Tse from Rutgers University Engineering Department, visited with students who participate in NASA Hunch teams after school on Monday, October 2.
Mount Saint Mary Academy is participating in the NASA Hunch program for the first time this year, and is the first all-female team to ever compete in the program.
Dr. Dorothea Kominos, Science Department Chairperson, has been working with science teacher, Patrizia Davis, who has been a practicing engineer and understands the requirements for the program’s challenges.
Dr. Gold first addressed the students working on the culinary challenge. She spoke about the effects of microgravity on the smell and tastes of astronauts and thus they want to prepare a savory breakfast item for the astronauts. The students learned that it costs a tremendous amount of money per pound to send food up to the ISS and that is why the food is dehydrated, so it is lighter. Dr. Gold also showed examples of some food items including shrimp cocktail and cereal. She shared a great deal of information regarding NASA’s food lab, which will analyze our recipe and if chosen, process it for space.
The design and prototype team is working on a badge-holder multitool. They need to keep a signed engineering notebook with their ideas and sketches. The badge holder must meet several NASA requirements for size and weight. The team is planning to 3D print a prototype for this challenge.