Saturday, July 28, 2012

ISAS 2012 Academy 2: Final Day

Today the second Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars of 2012 came to a close as students, parents, mentors and honored guests attended a VIP luncheon in a meeting room of Yanke Family Research Park. In order to prepare this morning for the luncheon, the students practiced their presentations and filled out surveys which would better the program for future years. The students were found themselves caught among different emotions as the day progressed: excitement to see family, anxiety to speak publicly, and a nagging disappointment to leave behind so many new friends so soon.

 As observers of the students throughout the week, it was amazing to watch a group of high-schoolers from across an entire state gel so quickly and design an original mission to Mars, all while experiencing countless different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) opportunities. What these students have achieved in the past week is astounding. Idaho is truly fortunate to be one of only five states to take part in the High School Aerospace Scholars program. The state is also exceptionally lucky to have such amazing students within its borders. With students like these earning these experiences, Idaho has a bright future indeed.
Students sharing their projects previous to the lunch with parents. 
 Later in the day, the students left the BSU Micron Engineering Building one last time, wearing their respective team colors and chatting excitedly to one another. When the luncheon began, students mingled with parents and met the relatives of their new friends as well as special guests. The luncheon opened with an address by ISAS director Peter Kavouras and the reading of a letter from Governor Butch Otter addressed to the ISAS program.

After hearing what the governor wished to say to the students, all those in attendance ate delicious pasta and chicken with all sorts of sides. The ballroom filled with the sounds of clinking silverware, conversation, and music as a commemorative video of the 2012 Academy played on a screen in the background. Once the meal was completed, each team stepped up to the stage in order to present their respective components of the mission accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. The parents listened carefully and in some amazement. Here in front of them were their high school children, the same children who were dropped off at Boise State University one week ago, presenting revolutionary ideas as professionals. To witness such an event, parents could not help but feel proud as their children displayed a striking maturity and air of success, uncommon in the typical high school student. 

The luncheon continued with addresses by Superintendent Tom Tuna and Dr. Tony Roark and Micron's Cory Morasch. All emphasized just how important this program has been to the students, and the positive impact it has had on all of their lives. Mr. Morasch's address left the students hollering a boisterous ‘hoorah’ as they answered his many impromptu questions concerning what the program has done for the students. 

Superintendent Luna speaking to the students. 

The luncheon came to a close with the presentation of diplomas and prepared speeches by a few of the students who were adamant in sharing their experiences with all those present. Some even brought tears to his, and the audience's eyes. 
The students received diplomas for their completion of the program. 

On behalf of the Department of Education and the entire State of Idaho, we would like to congratulate ISAS 2012 Academy, and which everyone an amazing summer. Good luck to all of the scholars this season and we know you will all be able to achieve the dreams you were able to dream this week!

-Jaime Guevera, Heidi Hughes-

Friday, July 27, 2012

ISAS 2012 Academy 2: Day 6

The computer lab was packed with ISAS students today. They were sprawled out on the floor, cutting and gluing paper to tri-fold boards. Others were on the edges of their chairs, reading last minute research online, and others had powerpoint pulled up on their screens adding and writing slides, all for tomorrow's final presentation. These presentations, occurring tomorrow, is a demonstration of how much they have learned through out the week. Each team will be presenting their aspect of the mission to Mars.  

The teams hurried around, discussing technical information with one another, debating different rocket designs and the best methods to cut costs. With Mars practically in their crosshairs, the students began to rush back and forth, attempting to create the best attempt possible for this Mars mission. However, despite the Mars mission being an important component; it has not been the focus of this Academy. The best thing these students can take from this Academy is an opportunity to become immersed within many different scientific fields and witness the real-world applications of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers. The Mars mission allows the students to experiment with the necessary combination of the many different scientific, economic, and political processes required to instigate a realistic scientific endeavor.

This morning, the students were able to see a presentation from Boise State University’s own Microgravity University Team. The students were fascinated with the stories from the Microgravity Team about their rides and experiments in the Zero G plane, affectionately known as the “Vomit Comet”. The Microgravity Team is held in high prestige at Boise State. Acclaimed Idaho astronaut Barbra Morgan said about them late last year, “Our students continue to shine for Boise State as this program helps the university evolve as a metropolitan research university of distinction.” This presentation helped lead into a conversation about their upcoming senior year and nearing college experiences.

Students got to hear about various clubs like the Microgravity Team
Pat Pyke, director of Boise State's STEM (Science, Technology,Engineering, Mathematics) Station gave a presentation about choosing and preparing for college. “You've made it to ISAS”, one said, “now what's next?” However, with the best-of-the-best students that attended ISAS, the basics didn't need to be covered. They all nodded when standardized tests and grade point average were mentioned. After all, many conversations between students this week have focused on their college plans. Regardless, there was still more than enough information that could be garnered from the discussion.

Being some of the few students that seem to readily admit to loving math and science so passionately that they would give up a week of their summer to come enjoy it, not to mention take an extra class their previous semester in high school, along with various other summer work, it was helpful to have a college discussion for once, primarily focused on entering a STEM career. “How do you prepare for a future that hasn't even been invented yet?'' Pat ask the students. “What things didn't exist when you were kids?” They listed iPhones, lasers, and touch screens, amongst others. “Now imagine what's still going to happen your lifetime”. It was one of many affirmations the students have received this week that did declare to them that they can do anything: from working at NASA Ames, to being a Micron chemist, and even beyond.

After a couple hours of project work, students were greeted by student support coordinator, Leandra Aburusa for a tour of the Boise State College of Engineering. Each group split up to see different aspects. These included: The Meteorology lab, the System Integration Lab, a chance to ride a segway, the Microscopy lab, the Materials lab among others. In each lab both undergraduate and graduate students showed what they were working on and explained the purpose of the lab. 

Students got to tour many of the labs at Boise State and see actual students doing research

The students were  then able to go to elective-like classes taught by professionals in each of their respective fields. The students, prior to this week, were able to rate their preferences of classes. The first class option was robotics taught by Discovery Center Idaho Woody Sobey. There was chemistry class. A biology class was taught in the science building. There was also a class on rivers and streams and one in computer systems. Everyone then headed to dinner, followed by even more work on their projects.

Students were seen giving it their all at finishing their missions

The night ended with doing a dress rehearsal for tomorrow's presentations. After six days of back-to-back activities, the students are all sure to fall asleep quickly.

These blogs will continue to be uploaded daily, once the students have completed their final activities each night. A more "live" version of the days' events are being uploaded onto the ISAS Summer Academy Facebook group and page, as well as to Twitter at #ISAS_Academy. Tomorrow will be the students' last day of the program. All of the staff at ISAS wish them good luck and are proud of all the work they have done.

--Jaime Guevara, Heidi Hughes--

ISAS 2012 Academy 2: Day 5

After returning from NASA Ames Research Center, the students were able to rest for a little while before continuing to visit more places. With a quick and early breakfast, the students piled into a coach which took them to Micron Technology for a day of exploration around a worldwide manufacturer of electronic goods. For those who do not know, Micron specializes in creating revolutionary memory units for computers and other devices. As the students were led into the factory, they were brought into a small conference room. While in the room, the students were shown a slide show and video detailing the products and applications of the memory units manufactured by Micron. 

The engineers and scientists taught the students about the application of STEM here on Earth

Following the introductory videos, the students were taken to the new addition to the research and development fabrication area. Here the students were shown how Micron, and other companies like it, stay a step ahead of their competition by implementing various scientific and mathematical  methods not just for reducing costs but even to something as rudimentary as the building itself. The students were able to view the new fabrication rooms and were asked to try and put into perspective what Micron was trying to achieve here, by being able to look at the loading robots and even the gas pipes the students were humbled by the thought that something already big was small in comparison to the end goal: put the knowledge from the R&D fab into an actual production line five to ten times bigger. 

When the students were done touring the brand new building on Micron's campus, they were taken to the older main building and separated into groups in order to tour the various analysis labs that Micron has on its Boise campus. These labs showcased a wide range of analytical processes that Micron employs such as chemical analysis and even electron spectroscopy. The students were able to see that in order to even make a huge company focused on memory chips and processors work, all sorts of different fields such as math, science, and even public relations are necessary.

This "small" rocket put into perspective the actual power that NASA style thrusters output

Upon completing the visit to Micron, the students were taken to Simplot Fields in order to witness a rocket being launched. After spending a good portion of the day inside Micron, the students were visibly refreshed by the sunlight and fresh air. The students hiked across the grass of the field,ready to watch the rocket. The stand was set up and the students waited for pressing of the button that would launch the miniature shuttle. Then it happened. A student chosen from the group pressed the big red button and the rocket launched. It zoomed to the sky leaving students shielding their eyes and following the screaming rocket as it ascended higher and higher. Upon reaching its zenith, the rocket plummeted back towards the crowd of students until its parachute deployed. The students erupted in cheers as the rocket slowly floated back down and landed only a few hundred feet away. The students then loaded back into the bus, happy to be back into the air conditioning, and headed back to Boise State. They spent the following two hours working even harder on their projects. Then dinner followed.  

Astronaut Wendy Lawrence was very pleased to educate the students and answer whatever questions they had about the effects of space travel on the human body

At the end of the academic day, Wendy A. Lawrence, former NASA astronaut, did an interactive discussion with the students. Coming prepared with a PowerPoint, and her more than ample knowledge of space travel and how to approach a trip to Mars. After giving a brief history of her experiences, she dived directly into the topic. The main focus of the night was several different areas that she warned students to take account of when planning their trips to Mars. These problems are ones that have been impacting astronauts on the International Space Station. Those issues included: radiation, bone density loss, solar flares and vision loss. After addressing these concerns, she turned it over to the students to ask questions. 

The students were finally able to let off some steam and relax with a good few rounds of bowling and billiards in the Student Union Building. For the first time all session the students were given extra time to just play around, relax and have some scheduled free time to socialize and have a blast.

These blogs will continue to be uploaded daily, once the students have completed their final activities each night. A more "live" version of the days' events are being uploaded onto the ISAS Summer Academy Facebook group and page, as well as to Twitter at #ISAS_Academy. The students are eager to continue work on their missions as they prepare for the last day of work on their mission and presentations.
--Heidi Hughes and Jaime Guevara--

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ISAS 2012 Academy 2: Day 4

Dana Backman stood at the front of the auditorium waiting to give his presentation. The scholars filed in and found their seat. This was their activity of the day after breakfast at the hotel and a walk to Ames. Backman is not only a NASA astronomer, but is also in charge of education and outreach for the stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy (SOFIA). SOFIA is NASA's 747 Boeing, purchased used, from American Airlines. SOFIA is fitted with a 17-ton, 100 inch diameter infrared telescope. Its purpose is to study star and planet formation, organic compounds in space, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, atmospheres, ring and moons in the outer solar system, comets and near earth asteroids and much more. SOFIA's observatory is operational between 39,000 feet and 45,000 feet, barely above the average height of a commercial airline. Through out his presentation, students asked handfuls of questions. 

The teams were then able to split up in their normal combinations--green with white and red with blue--to see the Mars Wind Tunnel and the Psychoanalytical Lab. The wind tunnel group began by meeting up with another NASA scientist who explained the concept of this smaller wind tunnel. This wind tunnel is located inside of the Tower Test Chamber. When testing a model vehicle of something that would be used on Mars, the model would be placed in the wind tunnel, with various kinds of dust, then the pressure in the Tower Test Chamber would be set to that of Mars, and the wind chamber would start, blowing the dust. This experiment allows the scientists and engineers to see how Mars' atmospheric pressure mixed with the dust would impact, and possibly harm, the equipment if really used on the planet. Students were able to look through the wind tunnel and see what kind of special dust mixture is regularly used. 

At the psychoanalytical lab, the students were given a thorough rundown on the tests astronauts have to pass in order to be cleared for launch and after landing

Over in the Psychoanalytical Lab students got to hear about a NASA developed treatment, now licensed to another company on how to help astronauts who struggle with a different kind of motion sickness. Motion sickness in space, while exhibited the same way, is worse and slightly different than that demonstrated on people here on Earth. The students were able to hear about a form of treatment that almost always helped alleviate this issue, not only in astronauts experiencing motion sickness, but in people with severe inner ear problems, anxiety, and other problems of the sort where controlling one's symptoms is helpful. "The point of this treatment," the research psychologist, Dr. William B. Toscano said, "isn't to get rid of the problem. We don't know how to do that yet. It's to help suppress the symptoms". The students watched a movie showing some of the treatments and were able to ask a few questions. 

With half of their day completed, it was now time for a burrito lunch in Mega Bites, the Ames cafeteria, and a last time to purchase from the gift shop before heading out to the next venue.

Students were given a chance to take a big group picture before entering the 80 x 120 windtunnel

Brian Day was the next speaker. Lecturing in the same auditorium the students were in this morning for Dana Backman's time, the students now got to hear about the moon and the current scientific understandings of it, as well as its dichotomy to what was once understood. Within his time, he discussed the origins of the moon. Other things discussed included the moon's water content and newly discovered atmosphere. This served to probably give the students some insight as to a possible use of the moon as a sort of "checkpoint" for future Mars missions, if they so chose.

The next even today was one of the highest anticipated events of the trip. The students were taken to the breath-taking 80x120 wind tunnel. This wind tunnel, the largest in the world, is 80 feet high by 120 feet wide and it has been where NASA has tested many objects such as: shuttle parachutes, shuttle models, and even an F-18 Blue Angels jet. The students also found out that many of the chutes tested in the wind tunnel were also dropped over their own state of Idaho during further testing. The students were also allowed to go into the wind tunnel as well as witness how the wind tunnel functioned both by itself and with the attached 40x80 wind tunnel.  Students and staff then had group photos taken professionally and got the choice between either taking some time to relax and play volleyball, or go see a robotics demonstration. 

Truly a breathtaking sight, the 80x120 wind tunnel has been the site for much aerospace testing

The final event at Ames was a way to remember the past two days. Students lined up in front of a 1/3 scale model space shuttle for photos. In all of their team colors it was quite a site to behold. 

It was then time for a sack lunch and off to the airport. The students will be back to Boise State late tonight. They have one layover in Seattle first, though. Security checks through the San Jose airport went smoothly, and regardless of a delayed flight to Seattle, students will only be back a little bit late. 

These blogs will continue to be uploaded daily, once the students have completed their final activities each night. A more "live" version of the days' events are being uploaded onto the ISAS Summer Academy Facebook group and page, as well as to Twitter at #ISAS_Academy. The students are eager to continue exploring Ames Research Center and have another busy day ahead of them.

-- Heidi Hughes, Jaime Guevara -- 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ISAS 2012 Academy 2: Day 3

NASA Ames would probably be described by most as the opposite of an amusement park. The buildings' drab facades look nothing like the bursts of color seen across Lagoon and Silver Wood. There are no bustling tourists packing around stuffed bags of souvenirs. The two gift stores on the large campus are small and the merchandise is limited. Regardless of all that, few would ever guess the giddy excitement bursting from the students on the flight to California were on a trip to a research center, not Disney Land or Six Flags, but as the plane touched down in San Jose this morning, the scholars were overflowing with questions and excitement about what was to come. 
Students began their day by waiting for their flight to San Jose, California

After dropping off luggage at the hotel, it was time for the visitors center, lunch at NASA Ames's cafeteria, and finally the beginning of touring. The first thing on the schedule was the 20G Centrifuge. As students walked into the same building that houses the centrifuge, its whirring and spinning could be heard through the wall. The students crowded around the windows that displayed the contraption. As it whipped in circles they gazed in. NASA Ames's centrifuge was designed to go up to 20G's, however no human has ever gone that fast. The average recorded speed for a human payload is 12.5G's. NASA is sure to make sure that it's not forgotten humans aren't the only thing that has stood the centrifuge's spin, though. Other payloads include plants, animals, cells, hardware and flight systems. Then the centrifuge slowed. It's spinning came to a gradual halt. The students were then able to enter the room and climb onto it. Time soon ended, though and it was time to move to the next exhibit.

The students were met in the lobby of The Simulation Lab by an intern. She explained it's the building that houses all of the vertical motion simulators. These devices are designed to mimic what it would be like to fly a space shuttle, helicopter, or similar aircrafts. They consist of the cab, or the main portion that holds the cockpit. It has a computer monitor that is designed to look like the windshield. Programmers make this monitor show highly realistic representations of what it would look like to actually fly the aircraft. The cab is placed on a series of hydrolic actuators. These are used to move the cab around so that the pilot training in the VMS is tricked into thinking she is actually flying. 
The teams were able to see the centrifuge where astronauts get put to the test before launch
NASA scientist, David Blake, claims when he first started at Ames he knew almost nothing about space. Indeed, his degrees include a Bachelors of Science in biology and several Bachelors, Masters, and PhD's in Geology, however no one would know the difference after the Director's Colloquium he presented to NASA employees, interns and ISAS students today. It was especially convenient for the students who are working on their mission to Mars that the entirety of his lecture was focused on the instruments on the Mars Science Laboratory. The Idaho group was able to arrive early and ask Doctor Blake questions. He was blown away by the advance level of questions these high school juniors were asking him.

The next activity was really was like Disney Land for many of the students. Earlier in the day they saw the vertical motion simulators, this time they were able to see the Boeing 747 simulator. It is set up nearly exactly the same as the VMS, except this one is around eleven feet off the ground, and is active. Many students were able to drive the airplane. Students tensed their legs, because the programming on the monitor seemed so realistic. The motion of the cab was even off, yet it still felt like flying a real airplane. 

This flight simulator made the students allowed the students to exactly what pilots feel everyday
The activity after that for many was similar to walking in the same steps as their favorite celebrity. The scholars were able to go to the Fluids Dynamic Lab. This lab is where Ames's smaller wind tunnels are. These are the same wind tunnels that are consistently being used by the popular Discovery channel television show, Myth Busters. There they test how different items are impacted by wind currents. It demonstrates the aerodynamics of the items. There was also the water version. Items are placed in a tunnel that is similar to a wind tunnel but instead used water instead of air.
After this long day, it was then time for dinner. Students chowed down on lasagna and chicken. After they finished, all the tables were cleared and the chairs were moved in set up for the NASA scientist questions and answer session. A panel of four scientists and one educator gathered to let the students ask whatever questions they would like. Questions ranged from pure curiosities on space and science to specific applications of their Mars project.

It was finally time to head back to the hotel. Students slumped in the lobby couches, exhausted, as they waited to receive their room key. After short debriefs by all the groups, all the students headed to their rooms to crash for the night.

These blogs will continue to be uploaded daily, once the students have completed their final activities each night. A more "live" version of the days' events are being uploaded onto the ISAS Summer Academy Facebook group and page, as well as to Twitter at #ISAS_Academy. The students have established themselves as mission control and are now ready for the trip to Ames Research Center.

- Heidi Hughes, Jaime Guevara -  


The most successful year in Idaho Lottery history has translated into the most successful financial dividends for its citizens.

This morning, the Idaho Lottery Commission presented the largest dividend ever returned to the People of Idaho, a $41.5 million check, to Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter during a ceremony in front of the Capitol Annex in Boise.

“The Lottery is exceeding expectations and delivering on its commitment to help support Idaho public schools,” Governor Otter said. “I know the folks at the Idaho Lottery take their stewardship responsibilities very seriously. Their devotion to integrity helps ensure the Lottery pays off – for all of us.”

“No year in Idaho Lottery history has equaled the success we experienced in Fiscal Year 2012. We launched the most successful Idaho-only draw game in a decade, experienced a world record jackpot run, and made improvements to Idaho’s oldest draw game. Today, Idaho public schools and the state’s permanent facilities reap the benefits from the Idaho Lottery’s watershed year,” said Idaho Lottery Director, Jeff Anderson. “I would like to extend our gratitude to our statewide retailer network, our vendor partners, and everyone who plays the Lottery. Our accomplishments would not have been possible without your continued support.”

This year’s annual dividend was reached on the strength of record sales by the Idaho Lottery and its network of 1150 statewide retailers. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Idaho Lottery sold $175.8 million in products, an increase of 19.5% over the previous year. At more than $28 million over last year’s record tying sales figure, in terms of dollars this year’s increase is the single largest in the Idaho Lottery’s history.

This is the ninth consecutive year for a record for an Idaho Lottery dividend, and in the past ten years, the annual dividend has more than doubled going from $20.5 million in 2003 to today’s mark of $41.5 million.

Both the Department of Education School Building Fund and the Department of Administration’s Permanent Building Fund receive equal amounts of $17 million. The Department of Education’s Bond Levy Equalization Fund received its largest contribution in a single year of $7.5 million. This amount is greater than the three previous years’ combined contributions of $6.5 million.

“On behalf of Idaho’s public schools, thank you to all the Idahoans who contribute each and every year to our kids’ education through the Idaho Lottery,” said Nick Smith, Deputy Superintendent at the Idaho State Department of Education. “At the State Department of Education, we work hard every day to ensure every student graduates from high school and goes on to postsecondary education or the workforce without the need for remediation. Your contributions help us in these efforts.”

Deputy Superintendent Nick Smith accepts the $17 million dividend check for Idaho's public schools.
The Idaho Lottery’s annual dividend presentation took place in front of the Capitol Annex Building, the former Ada County Courthouse that is currently undergoing safety and infrastructure renovation for future use as the Idaho Supreme Court’s Law Library and the University of Idaho’s Law Learning Center. The renovation is being completed by the Department of Administration using funds provided by the Idaho Lottery to the Permanent Building Fund.

“The annual dividend provided by the Idaho Lottery to the Permanent Building Fund allows for the continued renovation, restoration, and preservation of Idaho’s treasured public buildings,” said Teresa Luna, Director of the Idaho Department of Administration.

The Department of Administration has already completed infrastructure improvements to the building that include providing the facility with the same chilled water service as the rest of the Capitol Mall buildings and adding geothermal heat. To complete the project, the remaining interior will be demolished and rebuilt, including improvements to the HVAC systems, electrical systems and elevator. When the restoration is complete, the building’s new tenants will be able to personalize their spaces and take residency.

“We would like to thank the permanent building fund for its commitment over the past several years to the renovation of the Old Ada County Courthouse – we look forward to its completion,” said Duane Nellis, University of Idaho President. “The University of Idaho is anxious to deliver new and needed legal education offerings from this historic building in the Treasure Valley.  We would also like to thank the legislature for its appropriations over the past several years and to the Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council for recognizing the needs of this facility.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

ISAS 2012 Academy 2: Day 2

Six forty-five couldn't come soon enough for the excited group of forty students. Regardless, the students came groggily from their dorms. and slouched on the lobby couches in Keiser Hall waiting to go to breakfast at the Boise River Cafe. However, after filling up on waffles, bacon and sausage, eggs and a cornucopia of other food, the students were ready to trek through campus to the Boise State Engineering Building anxious to listen to aerospace engineer, Jason Budinoff, from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Jason and the students discussed what responsibilities would be expected from the four teams. These groups (Red, Green, Blue, and White) split up the Mars mission into several separate areas: Mission Integration, Getting There, Living There, and Working There. After hearing the upcoming week's requirements, the students became more intrigued and lively, especially after Mr. Budinoff included stories about his experience with NASA.

After Jason Budinoff's presentation, each team worked to come up with their own demands and compile them into a plan of action

The guidelines for the students' mission were purposefully vague: go to the Poles (on Mars), stay for 30 days, and come back. Jason Budinoff challenged the students to debate the question, “How do we change this vague idea into a full-blown mission?” After discussion, the students split up into teams to debate further the goals of their teams and to develop the mission outline into a detailed mission plan. They then grouped back together, and presented their research to the entire Academy. They also had the opportunity to share their findings with Jason Budinoff where he was able to critique their work.

After a couple hours of planning and preparation, students were greeted by the voice of, Senior Advisor, Office of Administrator at NASA Headquarters Alan Ladwig, broadcast over speakers on a long distance conference call. Mr. Ladwig has served both under the Obama and Clinton Administrations. He is the Chief Operating Officer at Zero Gravity Corporation and a manager for Space Systems at WBB Consulting.  Within his allotted hour he was able to pull in the economic portions of NASA, the history and how government set-up impacts how NASA runs. He then delved into what NASA has been working on and the scientific and engineering aspects. 
The students then got a break for lunch followed by Superintendent if Public Education, Tom Luna. He began by talkng about the signifiance of ISAS, and how it's a new frontier program that Idaho is helping pave the way. His main topic, however, was "why programs like [ISAS]?". "We have the obligation to make sure every student in Idaho has the opportunity to reach their full potential", Superintendent Luna said. He continued his interaction with the students by talking about his life long intrigue with space. He focused on the importance of gaining knowledge. "Intellectual capacity is the currency of the twenty-first century", Luna said, "...We're all committed to making sure this program continues...Take advantage of what you are learning and use it...You are in for one heck of a ride".  Soon to follow students were able to ask questions. "With the students come first program is that going the same way it was a year ago? Has much changed?", one student asked. Another asked, "Do you know where [The State Department of Education is] looking at taking online classes in the future?" and another asked "...What was your inspiration for Students Come First". It was quite a contrast from the general personal questions last academy's students were most intrigued by.

Superintendent Tom Luna was willing to answer any questions the students had

To follow was BSU's Dean of College Engineering Amy Moll and from the College of Arts and Sciences, Kristine Barney. It was an informal opportunity for students to ask questions about college. Molls and Barney's first key topic was about finding the right school for the individual, along with finding the right major.  "Don't limit your focus to a major...think about what you want to do" Kristine Barney said.  Students were then encouraged to ask questions. Many questions were themed on what it's like to be a BSU student and how difficult it may potentially be to attend BSU and then transfer to another college, if needed."What kind of engineering programs do you have here at Boise State" one student asked. "What kind of careers can you go into with a math degree?" another students inquired. Many questions were also themed on succeeding in school. Amy Moll encouraged students to sit in the front row, be engaged and go to office hours. She encouraged students to make an impact on their professors and make sure they know the student's name, because those are the students that will be remembered and get the internships. For the students looking into the science and math field, they were told to do as much research during their late high school years and all through college that they could.  

The students were then able to watch the archived teleconference the students from the first ISAS Academy had with BSU graduate, Boise native, and NASA electric engineer, Dan Isla. Isla has been working as an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab ever since graduating Boise State in 2009. Students sat in awe watching the video NASA put out a few weeks ago entitled Seven Minutes of Terror, showing the Mars rover mission he is helping work on called Curiosity and the seven minutes of no communication between it and NASA as Curiosity lands on Martian soil for the first time.  

Then a presentation about rockets by Corey Morasch, engineer from Micron, gave the students a new perspective as to how critical the propulsion systems would have to be and how just a slight mistake can be fatal to any missionHe and the students also discussed what it took to make a rocket fly straight while watching videos of larger rockets that Corey Morasch and the club he's involved in, Tripoli Idaho, have previously shot off. The students sat on the edge of their chairs in the lecture hall as they watched the videos of the rockets shooting up from the desert and then spiraling down around 13,000 feet to the ground. One rocket video showed the launch of one of Corey and Tripoli Idaho's rockets that went higher than 100,000 feet. "If a couple of amateurs can launch rockets that go that high", Corey said, "then you guys can do anything".

He was complimented by Jennifer Christiano from Ponderosa Aero Club, who came to speak on the history of aviation, and the impact of the American spirit. Students then got another hour to work on their mission to Mars projects.

Students began to work on their robots; a break from their missions and presentations

As the evening started and the day began to end, the students were also visited by Woody Sobey from the Discovery Center of Idaho. He educated the students about what is and is not a robot and how to create an autonomous system. Being such a complicated system, Woody let the students know that they were about to cram a week’s worth of material into about a three hour time slot. The students immediately rolled up their sleeves and dived into working on the robots. Many different students took charge and displayed impressive leadership skills when organizing the robots. They all impressively worked hard to make their robots listen to different programs and follow a rigid set of instructions
By the end of, today, day two, the students have already gelled as a functioning mission control. They are even beginning to express how well the teams have been coming together.

However, with the day winding down, the students are beginning to prepare themselves for the exciting trip to NASA Ames Research Center during day three and four of the ISAS Summer Academy. These blogs will continue to be uploaded daily, once the students have completed their final activities each night. A more "live" version of the days' events are being uploaded onto the ISAS Summer Academy Facebook group and page, as well as to Twitter at #ISAS_Academy. The students have established themselves as mission control and are now ready for the trip to Ames Research Center.

--Heidi Hughes, Jaime Guevara--