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NASA Opens 2011 School Science Competitions

NASA has opened two national science competitions, one for students in grades 5 through 9 and one for students in high school. Both competitions challenge students to tackle microgravity through hands-on science projects.

For high school students, the "Dropping In a Microgravity Environment" (DIME) challenge asks teams of students (with an adult advisor) to develop experiments focused on microgravity. Experiments will be carried out in a NASA 2.2-second microgravity drop tower facility. For middle schoolers, the "What If No Gravity?" (WING) challenge also calls on teams of students (and an adult mentor) to develop microgravity experiments, but, for the younger students, the experiments can be less complex.

NASA will accept proposals until Nov. 1. Proposals will be judged by a team of NASA scientists and engineers. Four "Tier I" winners in the DIME competition will be invited to DIME Drop Days at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland in March, where they will construct and carry out their experiments. Four "Tier II" designs will also be selected to be carried out by NASA staff. For the WING competition, NASA will select up to 10 proposals, which will be carried out by NASA staff at the drop facility.

Further information about the competition, including eligibility requirements and necessary forms, can be found on the Glenn Research Center's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is edtorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).