A recent field trip to NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field gave about 35 Merced high school students and their teachers an inside look at some of the leading-edge technology the agency uses, including its hypersonic wind tunnel and the large centrifuge . The tube-shaped funnel that allows engineers to move air over a vehicle as if it were flying. It helps researchers to learn more about how an aircraft will fly. The unique centrifuge, 20-G, capable of producing forces up to 20 times that of terrestrial gravity used for the research during the era of the biosatellite missions such as perceptual and behavioral adaptations to altered gravity. The students met with NASA researchers who spoke with them about all the different ways STEM studies can be applied to their interests. “A lot of younger students don’t think of higher education, and if they do, they limit their ideas about what to do at a university to careers like doctor, lawyer or engineer,” said Petia Gueorguieva, coordinator of the campus’s STEM Resource Center and MACES undergraduate and outreach coordinator. “But the NASA researchers opened their minds to using, for example, an engineering background in biomedical fields, transportation, agriculture, communications, energy and many other areas. The trip organization was, MACES, lead by Mariana Hernandez, Jennifer Lu, NASA coordinator, Michael Oye. Gueorguieva helped organize and participated in the field trip, and said this was just the first of many.

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