Over Coffee® | Stories and Resources from the Intersection of Art and Science | Exploring How to Make STEAM Work For You
NASA SUITS: A Creativity Challenge
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NASA Human Interface Engineer Paromita Mitra knows what exciting results the NASA SUITS Design Challenge can produce.
That’s because, as a student interning with NASA, her research ultimately led to the creation of this innovative educational program.
Currently, the NASA SUITS Design Challenge is gearing up for rhe 2019-2020 school year. Student teams, ages 16 and up, will use augmented reality to create an interface for astronauts. The purpose: to facilitate astronaut communication during tasks which take them outside their main vehicle. For this school year, the NASA SUITS Challenge will focus on creating technology for the Artemis mission.
In other words, students get to design an interface for the astronauts returning to the moon.
In Spring of 2020, selected teams will travel to Johnson Space Center, in Houston, to present their designs. As NASA Suits Activity Manager and STEM Engagement Strategist Brandon Hargis explained in our previous interview, the goal is to facilitate astronaut communication while performing tasks in space. However, the technology must be beneficial, without being distracting.
Paromita talked about her journey, shared her experiences researching augmented reality for NASA and offered some advice to participatng students.
And she also offered a unique perspective. She is a beauty-pageant winner who learned a lot about engineering from her time as Miss Mississippi USA 2013!
On this edition of Over Coffee®, you will hear:
What first inspired Paromita to become an aerospace engineer;
Her educational journey from that point;
The steps involved in getting her “dream job” at NASA;
How Paromita first became involved with augmented-reality research;
How the NASA SUITS Design Challenge developed as a result of Paromita’s thesis;
Paromita’s advice for student participants in the 2020 NASA SUITS Design Challenge;
Some good “learning mistakes” students have made in the past, from which current Challenge participants could learn;
A technology-creation concern to keep in mind when creating a display to be used during spaceflight;
The lessons, from Paromita’s time as a beauty pageant winner, which she uses today as an aerospace engineer;
Some of her favorite educational resources.