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NASA provides a raise to 57 high-flying scholar experiments, together with one from the Seattle space

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NASA launches a Raven Aerostar high-altitude balloon. (NASA Photo / Bill Rodman)

NASA has chosen 57 winning teams — including a team from Interlake High School in Bellevue, Wash.— to receive funding to build and fly experiments focusing on subjects ranging from lunar dust mitigation to inkjet printing in zero gravity.

Interlake’s team will focus on a more down-to-Earth scientific question: how pollution levels are correlated with altitude.

The prizes were awarded through NASA’s first-ever TechRise Student Challenge, which aims to give students in grades 6 through 12 an opportunity for real-world experience in designing and executing autonomously operated experiments. The program, administered by Future Engineers, attracted entries from nearly 600 teams representing 5,000 students nationwide.

“At NASA, we educate and inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said today in a news release. “The TechRise Student Challenge is an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience designing, building, and launching experiments on suborbital vehicles. … I can’t wait to see these incredible experiments come to life.”

The winning teams will each receive a $1,500 grant to build their experiments, plus a NASA-funded spot to fly them next year.

Twenty of the experiments, including Interlake’s, will go on high-altitude balloon trips provided by Raven Aerostar. The other 37 will fly on the New Shepard suborbital spaceship built by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture, or on an UP Aerospace suborbital rocket.

Winning teams will also receive materials for preparing their payloads, expert technical support and access to flight simulation software.

For more information about the experiments and the TechRise Student Challenge, check out the Future Engineers website.

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