No need to panic, we're not sending kids to the Moon. First, it is way too expensive to raise that kind of cash. Second, we probably couldn't get parents to sign the waivers and permission slips. No, we're talking about students coming up with creative ideas for payloads based on robotic rover missions intended to roam on the surface of the Moon! Unlike sending humans into space, it is easier (but not easy) for private companies and universities to design, build, and launch robots to land on the Moon and do great innovative things. We're working with one of those companies, Astrobotic Technology, which has plans to send a robotic rover to the lunar surface to explore lunar lava tubes late in 2015. Penn State's Lunar Lions and Team JURBAN Google Lunar X Prize teams have also agreed to participate with their missions. Student teams work with us and Astrobotic/Penn State/JURBAN to come up with creative ideas for payloads designed for their Moon spacecraft. Of course, that takes support (yes, funds) to accomplish so we're here to ask for your help to take our pilot program and make it into a fun, easily accessible project (called the Moon Mission Challenge) in which any middle or high school team can participate. Our goal is to make this available to any team, regardless of location or socioeconomic situation.
First, let's give you a guided tour of MMC.
What is the Moon Mission Challenge (MMC)?
We want to inspire students to reach for the stars in whatever they do in life. Innovate Our World created a STEAM (STEM & Arts) challenge that would inspire kids to think innovatively and show them that they can do great things working together as a team. The MMC does just that - it gives middle/high school students an opportunity to come up with an innovative payload idea for planned lunar robotic landers, one of which is planned for flight to the Moon in late 2015.
Before kids can design something for the Moon, they need to know all about the Moon. Our learning partner Immersive-3D has developed a cool Cyber STEM Academy where students can learn what it's like to live and operate on the Moon at their own pace in a game-like environment. Hey, teachers like this too because they don't have to deliver the basics; they can focus on project and team activities, like coming up with some brilliant ideas for a lunar payload.
Working with the engineers at Astrobotic Technology and advisers at Penn State, student teams will design a payload to fit onto one of our partner's Google Lunar X Prize lunar robotic rovers and "sell" their concept to a team of NASA, industry, and academic experts at our Challenge event in April 2014, which will be held with the USA Science and Engineering Festival at the Washington, DC Convention Center. The benefits to the students are wide, ranging from building skills they can use in college and career to exposure to college, industry, and government representatives that can help them down the road.
But first, we need your help doing this.
What We Need & What You Get
To get this ready for prime time for January 2014, much work needs to be done moving existing content over to the cyberacademy, developing new content, and helping out schools financially, especially those that qualify for the final capstone event. Schools pay nothing; it all comes from donations.We're looking for a minimum of a dozen teams but the more money we raise, the more teams we can financially support and the more cool stuff we can add to the interactive learning environment. We are working to include as many socioeconomically disadvantaged teams as possible so your contributions will go to fund those teams first.
Check out our perks! We think the eBooks are great because you can see the product of your contribution. Tours are even better as you can see robots in action! Of course, you can be a star to the kids by sponsoring a school or becoming a Challenge judge. We see all contributors as stars and each of you is very much appreciated.
Become a Superstar of Referral! Get Invited to a Cool Party (Really)!
We're looking for those superstars of donations, you know, those who can shame, I mean get their friends, families, and colleagues to help out. You know who you are, the person who raises beaucoup bucks for causes. We want you to apply your awesome talents to this worthy cause as well. We make it easy to refer other donors, plus we have extra rewards based on the number of donors you refer. Just refer them to our crowdfunding campaign and have them complete the referral form on our site at www.innovateourworld.org/supporters. When they make their Indiegogo contribution, we will link their donation to your referral and you'll receive the following:
• Extra donor gift with your existing reward
• Additional entries into a weekly prize drawing (one entry per referral). Weekly prizes include autographed space books, videos, and more!
Mercury Crew - Become a member of the Crew with just 3 referrals. As you may know, the Mercury capsule carried one astronaut aloft in orbit. Well, squeeze tight because you and 3 (or more) of your friends are now taking this ride together - and we really appreciate it. As a Crew member, you'll get a space-related pack worth at least $50.
Gemini Boosters - with at least 6 referrals, you become one of our awesome boosters. You bring the power to get the MMC released from the bonds of Earth's gravity (or something like that). You are outspoken, passionate, and energetic - just what we need to raise money for students. For this level, you'll get a space-related pack worth at least $75.
Apollo Aces - WOW, you're the cat's meow! You've gotten 10 or more people to contribute and we're very grateful. For your extraordinary effort, you'll get a space-related pack worth at least $100!
It just gets better! The top three referrers (by amount donated) will receive a special reward to be announced during the campaign. Oh, and one more perk.
All Crew, Boosters, and Aces referrers be invited to our Donor Dinner next year at the Engineer's Club in Baltimore, MD. If you can't make it, designate someone to attend for you. You'll receive special recognition plus some neat swag. Plus the Engineer's Club is a fantastic historic venue with old world charm. We're looking forward to meeting you!
Why This is Important
Students need inspiration to do great things. They also need to see the practical skills required for the workplace. MMC is the only middle/high school challenge connecting kids to industry experts and an actual mission to the Moon! Moon Mission Challenge winners will receive prize money they can use for their education plus an opportunity to enter the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation (SoI) Awards challenge. SoI gives student winners funds for taking their great idea to further heights.
MMC is a great extracurricular for students to put on their college resumes so they can get into the college that's right for them and get that great start.
Here's a recommendation from Kaan Balimtas, who was a member of one of our pilot program schools in 2011:
"Joining the mission was one of the most useful experiences I had during high school because it enabled me to gain hands-on experience with large scale projects. The same communication and analytical skill-set is vital whether it is planning the design and feasibility of a payload or finding the right investor and financing deal that fits a company's growth plan. This type of immersion tremendously helps with career-readiness and, I found, can be applied to a wide range of careers including science, engineering, consulting, and investment banking."
Join Us on Facebook and Spread the Word
Look up Innovate Our World and Moon Mission Challenge on Facebook and "Like" us to get updates. We appreciate any way you can spread the word about MMC and Innovate Our World. You can also join our mailing list on our site, www.innovateourworld.org.