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Too young to be an astronaut? Join the Orion mission anyway


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June 10, 2014

School-aged children can join participants from around the world to celebrate Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 by taking the Exploration Design Challenge and having their names flown aboard as virtual crew members. The deadline to submit student names for the virtual crew is June 30.
 
The challenge invites students from Kindergarten through 12th grade to research and design solutions to help protect astronauts from space radiation during Orion's long-duration deep-space missions to an asteroid and Mars.
 
Students will study the effects of radiation on astronauts and analyze different materials that simulate space radiation shielding. After completing activities guided by educators, parents, college students or volunteers, the young scientists will recommend materials that best block harmful radiation.
 
The Exploration Design Challenge was launched in March through a partnership between NASA and Lockheed Martin Corp., in collaboration with the National Institute of Aerospace. The challenge brings cutting-edge learning to educators and students using standards-based activities, as well as print and video resources and technical guidance to help them learn how to solve difficult problems associated with human space exploration.
 
All students who complete the challenge will be assigned to Orion’s virtual crew and have their names flown on its first mission into deep space. Get your students to take the challenge, and tell your friends and neighbors! The virtual crew will be the only crew flying on Orion's inaugural mission. Sign up now!
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An artist's impression of the first Orion spacecraft in orbit attached to a Delta IV Upper Stage during Exploration Flight Test-1. Ceramic tiles, similar to those used on the space shuttle, protect the back shell sides of the capsule. Image Credit: NASA
An artist's impression of the first Orion spacecraft in orbit attached to a Delta IV Upper Stage during Exploration Flight Test-1. Ceramic tiles, similar to those used on the space shuttle, protect the back shell sides of the capsule. Image Credit: NASA