Hawaii students test lunar project at Kennedy Space Center

Hawaii students test lunar project at Kennedy Space Center
(Image: Iolani School)
(Image: Iolani School)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Students from two Hawaii schools will conduct tests on their lunar project with NASA scientists at the Kennedy Space Center.

The team from Kealakehe High School is already in Florida. The group from Iolani School will depart for a one-week trip on March 19.

"It's super neat. We get to go to NASA and test with them so that's a really big deal to us and we're really excited and grateful," said Rafael Lee, a senior at Iolani.

NASA developed an Electrodynamic Dust Shield to repel scratchy planetary dust that collects on space gear. The technology has only been tested on Earth and in low gravity flights.

"I think what drew me is just the aspect of space and exploration, creating a project that actually has the potential to be on the moon," said Lee.

Iolani School and Kealakehe High School each created a frame for the shield and a lander mock-up. The students ran experiments at a site atop Mauna Kea last year.

"We took before and after shots, and used different variables like sun lighting, different angles that we placed the EDS in until we found the most optimal way that we would like it to be set up on the lander that actually goes on the moon," Lee said.

They've been busy fine-tuning their creations. The Iolani team also started working on a device to kick up dust when the spacecraft lands on the moon's surface

"There's no giant cloud of dust all around and above the spacecraft necessarily, so it's possible that this vehicle will land and there won't be any dust actually on our experiment," said Iolani School teacher Gilson Killhour.

The students are excited that their experiment is one step closer to possibly landing on the moon one day.

"I hope they continue to realize their dreams, ultimately, is the whole purpose of it," said Killhour.

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