Honeywell Continues to Support Robotics

Written by: developer

 Honeywell has provided additional funding for the Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute (SFDI) in Colorado Springs, Colo. The donation provides robots and support funds for the SFDI Mars Yard laboratory, a simulated Martian terrain where students learn a wide variety of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) principles.

Honeywell provided funding in 2010 to purchase the initial fleet of LEGO® NXT and MINDSTORMS® remote control and programmable robots for use in the Mars Yard, which opened last May and has been used extensively by students at the adjacent Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy (JSAA). Last school year, the Mars Yard and the Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience were available exclusively to JSAA students. This year, schools from throughout Colorado Springs School District 11 (D-11) are participating and, after that, the Mars Yard and Honeywell Mars Robotic Experience will be open to other school districts along the Colorado Front Range and around the world.

In addition, teachers enrolled in the Space Foundation's Space Across the Curriculum course "Space Technologies in the Classroom" used the facilities to learn how to incorporate space themes and concepts into the classroom to improve student STEM proficiency.

"Honeywell was our first partner in what, at the time, seemed like an impossible project," said Space Foundation Vice President - Education Iain Probert. "It's fantastic that they have decided to continue supporting the Mars Yard now that the dream has become a reality."

The Mars Yard, similar to training facilities at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is the only such facility in the world that is open to schools and teachers. Students -- primarily in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades -- use the Honeywell-provided robots for maneuvers similar to those performed by real scientists operating rovers exploring the Martian surface, including searching for water beneath the surface.

"It's exciting to see how engaged these young people are as they learn complex math, science, research, information technology and social interaction skills," said Mark Clark, satellite control network contract systems engineering division manager for Honeywell in Colorado Springs. "Honeywell is working with the Space Foundation to build the technical and engineering workforce of tomorrow."

About Honeywell
Honeywell's contribution is part of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's community outreach and giving initiative. Honeywell Hometown Solutions focuses the company's giving and community involvement in five areas: science and math education, housing and shelter, family safety and security, habitat and conservation and humanitarian relief.

Supporting Space Foundation STEM Education
To inquire about supporting Space Foundation education programs, contact Margo Hatton, manager development and education partnerships, at 719.576.8000 or [email protected].


This article is part of Space Watch: October 2011 (Volume: 10, Issue: 10).