July 20, 2019, marked the 50th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 on the surface of the moon.
To celebrate Neil Armstrong’s “one small step” and prepare students for “giant leap for mankind,” Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) presented the Apollo Student Challenge (ASC). The nationwide event provided an opportunity for middle and high school students to celebrate the landing through the hands-on application of current technology so that students might eventually participate in the development of new technologies to study Earth and beyond.
New Mexico Space Grant Consortium supported student teams from New Mexico. The middle school and high school teams gathered at New Mexico State University to build a replica of an Apollo Lunar Module that flew and landed onto a high resolution map of the actual Apollo11 landing site by a drone. Once landed, the students placed a Lunar Rover at their landing site and applied on-the-spot programming changes to deliver their team built payload.
By participating in the ASC, students increased their awareness of remote sensing of our Earth and places beyond. Moreover, the instrumentation and programming required to deliver payloads to remote locations applied science and engineering driving technological innovation.