St. Thomas Academy team invited to NASA Langley Research Center for the Wearable Equipment for Averting Radiation Challenge


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A team from St. Thomas Academy has been invited to NASA Langley Research Center in August to share student-designed, wearable, radiation countermeasures with NASA engineers and scientists. The team was one of just five high school teams in the country invited to NASA Langley, where they will share their designs, learn about the engineering process, participate in STEM engagement activities, and tour NASA Langley Research Center. NASA is funding all the teams’ travel (housing, transportation, and food) costs.

Through a competitive process, teams of students and educators submitted design proposals for wearable anti-radiation garments via video for evaluation by NASA scientists and engineers who design these technologies in their work. Developing radiation countermeasures are an important step as the United States returns astronauts to the moon by 2024 and continue onto Mars.

This engineering challenge has taught the team about deep space exploration while designing wearable gear to help astronauts decrease their radiation exposure and increase flight time. The students also received direct insight from NASA through webinars and online information sessions with NASA subject matter experts on deep space travel, radiation and the design process.

The team includes Wil Applebaum ’21 of Mendota Heights, Will Hoppe ’21 of St. Paul, Daniel Staelgraeve ’21 of St. Paul and Jenna Westlake ’20 of Lakeville

Faculty advisers are Mark Westlake, director of the St. Thomas Academy Innovation Center, and Caroline Little, science teacher at Visitation School

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