Fay School students aim high in NASA competition

A group of Fay School 6th grade students was among 60 winning teams whose science-based proposals landed them $1,500 each from NASA to bring their ideas to life. Raymond R. (Concord), Ellie K. (Southborough), Ella Z. (Wellesley), and Taehee K. (Southborough) took part in the NASA Future Engineers TechRise Student Challenge, led by Grace Crowell, Fay’s sixth grade science teacher and the students’ project mentor.

The proposal, “Measuring temperature, pressure and humidity,” outlined an experiment to determine how living organisms could survive in space. The plan calls for designing a machine to measure temperature, pressure and humidity in space that will fit in a 4”x 4”x 8” box. Environmental sensors and data capturers will be used to record air quality and temperature, among other data points.

The information will be gathered during a high-altitude balloon flight scheduled for this summer at the site of either Aerostar in Sioux Falls, SD or World View in Tucson, AZ. During the launch, balloons will ascend to an altitude of approximately 70,000 feet, where they will float for at least four hours. During flight, they will be exposed to the unique thermal and atmospheric environment of the stratosphere, providing conditions for student experiments that cannot be replicated in ground-based tests.

In preparation for the big balloon launch, the Fay team will meet weekly throughout the spring with mentors from the NASA TechRise engineering team regarding the design, development, and build of their experiment. The students will complete their design in Fay’s new Center for Creativity & Design, a 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art space that is the hub of the school’s Creativity and Design Program.