College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Young innovators bring creations to life in NASA Goddard Spinoff Challenge

Which of NASA’s space-venturing creations would you like to see used on Earth? Are there ways to reinvent spacecraft technologies that could improve the lives of humans? Students across the country joined forces to answer these questions and ultimately design a virtual environment for showcasing ideas in the NASA Goddard OPTIMUS PRIME InWorld Spinoff Challenge.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Va., hosted the final round of the InWorld Challenge April 30.

This year, the challenge had two components. The OPTIMUS PRIME Video Challenge asked elementary through high school students to produce a video highlighting their technology spinoff creations. The InWorld Challenge required sixth through 12th graders to use ideas generated by the Video Challenge to build a 3-D computer version of their designs.

“The challenge gets kids excited,” OPTIMUS PRIME InWorld Program Manager Sharon Bowers said. “It lets kids understand that there is a process in engineering. It also asks students to think how they can explain ideas and thoughts to others by creating 3-D models.”

This was the first year the OPTIMUS PRIME Video Challenge and the InWorld Challenge came together. NASA’s Innovative Technology Partnership Office brought in the Video Challenge, while the National Institute of Aerospace backed the InWorld Challenge. The James Webb Space Telescope mission was instrumental in designing the InWorld component.

Judges announced winners of the OPTIMUS PRIME Video Challenge in April. During the InWorld Challenge phase of the competition, college engineering students mentored the teams of younger students and supplied technical information. “It was a great experience,” said Zachary Cooper, Team 4 leader and Iowa State University aerospace engineering student.

For the original Space Daily post, click here.