JPL 2 – “Gravity Games”

Class developed and conducted by Tony Yao

After the success of our first joint-venture project with NASA/JPL, we followed that up the next summer with JPL 2: Gravity Games.  This talented class consisted of 16 high school students who were up to the challenge of designing more advanced lifestyle and recreational products for Mars’ first inhabitants.

In designing for Mars, we had to consider that the gravity of Mars is only 1/3 that of earth.  It meant humans could do things there on Mars; such as jump and throw things farther than they could on earth.

As usual, we had a show string budget.  Each student had to do 50 pages of concept design, individually build a physical model, and jointly, as a group, build a group presentation.  All of this completed in 10 weeks.

Since we had so much success with the previous NASA/JPL project, we were asked to transplant the ENTIRE presentation from Art Center to JPL in Pasadena for a 3 week exhibition.  We loaded up the U-Haul and made the trek in a 26 ft. truck (which was the size of a school bus).  I personally drove the manual transmission truck my self, which was one of the scariest things I had ever done while transporting our precious cargo.  Once there, we were fortunate enough to be given the VIP tour of NASA/JPL & had a chance to interact with their employees & staff.  It was the chance of a lifetime to be involved working with NASA & JPL for a 2nd round.