Summer 2011 |
Two MCC students took their physics and robotics knowledge to space this spring in
a competition designed to build and test a robotic space rover.
Jacky Chan and Noah Sutton, both of Omaha, were among 80 students from community
colleges across the country selected to travel to a NASA center as NASA National
Community College Aerospace Scholars. The National Community College Aerospace
Scholars program encourages students to pursue careers in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Chan and Sutton were the only students from Nebraska selected as scholars.
Participants were selected based on completion of web-based assignments during the
Sutton visited NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., while Chan
visited the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The students established teams and formed
fictitious companies pursuing Mars exploration. Each team shaped a company
infrastructure to develop and design a prototype rover.
"[The program] was an opportunity to gain some unique insight into space
exploration and what obstacles are currently causing problems in space travel," Sutton
said. His team won the Pasadena competition with a rover that completed all its
objectives, including retrieving rock samples in difficult terrain.
Sutton graduated from MCC in May with an Associate in Science in Pre-Physics. He
plans to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha to pursue a bachelor's degree in
physics and eventually pursue a research career. Chan is pursuing an associate degree
in information technology at MCC to build upon his computer science skills.