January 13, 2009

NASA Antarctic Habitat: Winning Name Announced

NASA and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education have selected the winner of the Antarctic habitat naming contest. The name "Resolution" took top honors in the "Name that Habitat" competition. The winning name was submitted by 9th grade students at Holy Cross High School in Delran, N.J.

The exploration vessel Resolution was the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle in January 1773 and was under the command of Captain James Cook. Holy Cross students said the new habitat represents an advance in technology, much as Cook's ship did. The students also pointed out that the word "resolution" aptly describes America's intent to explore space.

The contest, which began in the fall of 2008, gave students in the sixth through tenth grades the opportunity to submit entries to name an inflatable habitat designed to serve as a trailblazer for new construction methods on Earth and other worlds. NASA unveiled the inflatable habitat in November 2007. It is scheduled to be disassembled and returned to the United States later this month.

The development and deployment of the habitat was funded through NASA's Innovative Partnership Program's Seed Fund initiative, with in-kind resource contributions by the National Science Foundation and ILC Dover of Frederica, Del., the manufacturer of the structure.

The "Name that Habitat" contest was conducted through a Space Act Agreement between NASA and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. It continues NASA's tradition of investing in the nation's education programs and is directly tied to the agency's education goal of engaging Americans in NASA's mission. NASA is committed to building strategic partnerships and links between science, technology, engineering and mathematics education providers. Through hands-on, interactive educational activities, NASA is engaging students, educators, families, the public and agency stakeholders to increase Americans' science and technology literacy.

The Challenger Center for Space Science Education is an international, nonprofit educational organization founded in 1986 by the families of the astronauts lost during the final flight of the space shuttle Challenger. The goal of the organization is to foster student interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Image 1: A joint project among NASA, the National Space Foundation and ILC Dover continues at the McMurdo Complex in Antarctica. Personnel with ILC Dover, the company that manufactured the prototype inflatable habitat, work to fasten it down in the harsh environment. NASA and NSF are using Antarctica's frigid and isolated landscape to test a new architecture for astronaut housing on the moon.

Image 2: NASA, the National Science Foundation and ILC Dover unveiled an Antarctic-bound inflatable habitat on Nov. 14, at ILC's facility in Frederica, Del. This medium wide view shows the interior of the habitat and NASA photo 102621 shows the exterior. The structure, being developed under NASA's Innovative Partnership Program, will be put through its paces as a component of the McMurdo Station in Antarctica from January 2008 through February 2009. Using reports from explorers braving this harsh environment and data collected from habitat sensors, designers will evaluate the concept of using inflatable structures to support future explorers on the moon or Mars.


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