Mission to Mars aims to inspire STEM students

STEM students inspired by Mission to Mars

New Albany, IN - LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Purdue Polytechnic Institute gave more than 25 high school students the chance to operate their own missions to Mars in a free one-day summer event.

It was a trial and error project where each team built a Mars rover to navigate the surface of the planet and collect soil samples. Little did they know, NASA mission control had some curve balls for them to adapt to. The winning team gets a prize.

The Purdue: Mission to Mars is a NASA-modeled simulation program that is supposed to show students studying in STEM fields what the practical use is for all that they learn in school.

"We wanted to do this as a way to connect the dots between what students theoretically know about and what they can experience through project-based learning," Purdue Polytechnic Institute director Andrew Takami said.

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"(I like) how it comes together and the end result has always been amazing for me," Sean Stiles, a recent high school graduate and participant in the event, said. "I've never done anything before like this, so it's my first college experience."

The one-day program is free for the Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors because of a grant from the Indiana Department of Education and the Prosser Career Education Center.

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