NASA Student Involvement Program Winners Honored

May 13, 2002

Is there usable water on Mars? How does the space environment affect earthworms? What is the affect of El Niño on whale shark migration? Students nationwide tackled these and many other questions in response to the NASA Student Involvement Program (NSIP) research competition.

Thirty-five high school students and fifteen teachers from around the country won an all-expense paid trip to the Stennis Space Center, in Gulfport, Mississippi, for national recognition by the NASA Student Involvement Program. Students presented their winning projects at the NSIP Symposium on Monday, May 6.

The Symposium featured presentations of winning high school entries in each of the following competition areas: Design a Mission to Mars; Watching Earth Change; and Science and Technology Journalism. Students at the Symposium had the opportunity to discuss issues raised by each of the winning teams with NASA scientists and engineers.

NSIP promotes critical and creative thinking in the areas of science, mathematics, geography, and technology. Over 3,450 students in elementary, junior high, and high school competed in science, technology, and journalism projects, in a total of six competition categories for grades K-12:

  • K- 1, 2- 4: My Planet, Earth ("Explore planet Earth in your backyard")
  • K- 1, 2- 4, 5-8, 9-12: Science and Tech. Journalism ("Tell NASA’s stories of discovery.")
  • 5-8, 9-12: Aerospace Tech. Engineering Challenges ("Design, build, test an aerospace structure.")
  • 5-8, 9-12: Watching Earth Change ("Investigate our planet using satellite data and images.")
  • 5-8, 9-12: Design a Mission to Mars ("Design a mission to explore the Red Planet.")
  • 9-12: Space Flight Opportunities ("Design, build, and send an experiment to space.")

First place high school winners traveled to Stennis Space Center for the NSIP National Symposium and Awards Ceremony, May 5 - May 8. In addition to presenting their research projects, students participated in workshops, and received a behind the scenes tour of the Space Center.

National middle school winners will attend Space Camp, in Huntsville, AL. This year’s National middle school winners include four teams of students: A team of Native American students from Tuba City, AZ, who won the Watching Earth Change competition with their research on the Earth history of Tuba City. Decatur, Alabama students won in the Design a Mission to Mars competition with their research on searching for water on Mars. Students from Silver Spring Maryland won the Science and Technology Journalism competition for their magazine article on preparing food in space. Finally, a team from Northport, New York, were national middle school winners in NSIP’s newest competition, the Aerospace Technology Engineering Challenge.

Next year, NSIP’s Science and Technology Journalism competition will feature the Centennial of Flight, a national celebration of the Wright brothersÂ’ legacy. More information about the NASA Student Involvement Program, and a complete list of NSIP winners and their projects can be found at,