Smoky Mountains STEM Collaborative Hosts 2022 NASA International Space Apps Challenge
The Smoky Mountains STEM Collaborative (SMSC), in partnership with the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), hosted this year's NASA International Space Apps Challenge in Rosman, NC from October 1-2, 2022. The SMSC saw seven teams at PARI, a record high number since the local collaborative began participating in 2019, working on projects such as Turning STEM into STEAM, Track the Space Station in 3D, and more. Planet Hoppers (Stone Doppke, Stefanie Lee Eckard, Jackson Monteith, Nick Pierce, Mathias Tate Saunooke, LaKota Joe Smith) won The Local People’s Choice Award for its project “Take Flight: Making the Most of NASA’s Airborne Data,” and the Global Nomination went to Operation LV-426 (Caleb Crisp, Novy Dare, Elijah Kirchhoff, Kris Parsons, Will Stevenson, Brian Youker) for its approach to the challenge “Exploring Venus Together".
Five of the six Operation LV-426 members are students of Matt Cass, Southwestern Community College Physics Instructor and SMSC Principal Investigator, and the team’s project has been automatically entered into the next round, competing with other teams all over the world. The top ~40 projects across all challenges will become Global Finalists and advance to Executive Judging on Nov. 15. The Global Finalists will then be evaluated by executive judges from NASA and other Space Agency partners. Ten winners will be selected to receive Global Awards on December 8th, 2022. “I could not be prouder of the teams representing western North Carolina on a global stage in this exciting activity. Our region’s presence in the Space Apps Hackathon has grown substantially under the support of Randi Neff, our Project Coordinator, and the staff at PARI. I can’t wait to see what next year brings,” said Matt Cass.
The SMSC project is supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX16AB87A and is part of NASA's Science Activation Portfolio. Learn more about SMSC: https://science.nasa.gov/science-activation-team/smsc