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The CELERE Design Challenge is a joint educational program of NASA and Portland State University (PSU), enabling students in grades 8-12 to participate in microgravity research on capillary action, similar to that conducted on the International Space Station (ISS).  Every team will create their own experiment using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) (optionally with the help of mentors).  CELERE uses two-dimensional (2D) CAD software called DraftSight.  Very short experiment proposals, each mostly consisting of a single 2D drawing, are submitted.  The experiment hardware is manufactured by PSU using the submitted drawings and a computer-controlled laser cutter.  Each experiment is conducted twice using low-viscosity and quick-reacting silicon oil in PSU’s Dryden Drop Tower, where it will fall 22 meters (73 feet) and experience 2.1 seconds of near weightlessness (microgravity).  The video from each drop is provided to the teams for their analysis and reporting of the results, e.g., appropriate captioning of the video for its posting on a web site.  NASA and/or PSU will aid teams in their interpretation of their results.


The CELERE 2018 Design Challenge is for students in grades 8-12, who may participate as individuals or in teams of any size. Teams may also include younger students as long as there is at least one team member in grades 8-12, where this option can facilitate the participation of informal science clubs, Scouts, etc. The program is limited to students from the United States, but is open to all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Youth are free to get help from adults, for example in creating their CAD drawing.


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Nancy R. Hall, NASA Glenn Research Center
Last Updated on January 27, 2015
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