The Conrad Foundation, in partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, today announced the winners of The Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards, a competition for high school students to contribute to America's goal of improving science education by building a grassroots community of socially engaged scientists. The winners and their projects in each category were:
1st Place: Final Frontier Apparel - The X-Suit, a state-of-the art mechanical counter pressure space suit filled with electro-muscle stimulation to keep the astronaut's muscles, bones, blood vessels, and nerve cells in top condition.
2nd Place: Gadget - An aeroponic plant growing system that can be used for agricultural ventures into many types of locations including space station environments, the moon and on Earth.
1st Place: ALGAE - a bioreactor that will bring oxygen producing algae to the surface of the moon.
2nd Place: We Miss Pluto - a Helium-3 Excavator (HEX) and lunar rover designed to extract helium-3from the lunar regolith, store it, and ready it for transportation back to Earth.
3rd Place: MAST - A solar powered rail gun designed to launch space-bound payloads past the Earth Departure Stage (EDS), through to the Low Earth Orbit, (LEO) stage of launch.
1st Place: Harwell Arsturas Labs - A novel device to convert thermal energy into electrical energy, with high efficiency and no moving parts.
2nd Place: BioH - A bioreactor system that uses genetically modified bacteria to produce electricity using a hydrogen fuel cell, and a battery to store the electricity.
3rd Place: DCs Army - A stationary bike that generates electricity, which is then used to power the heat and showers in a gym.
The winners were chosen from twenty-one finalist teams that traveled to the annual Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards' Innovation Generation Summit, which took place April 2-4, 2009 at the NASA Ames Conference Center in Moffett Field, California. First, second and third place teams from each competition category received educational grants of $10,000, $6,000 and $4,000 respectively, with the total prize purse being supplemented by additional funding from public support received through the team profile pages. First place teams will be inducted as Conrad Laureates and invited to participate as Advisory Board members for the Conrad Foundation upon their graduation from high school.
"The winners of this competition demonstrated incredibly innovative ideas and strong entrepreneurial spirit in designing and implementing their projects," stated Nancy Conrad, founder of The Conrad Foundation. "Having the winners join the foundation as Conrad Laureates will be a valuable asset as we all usher in a new age of scientific enterprise"
The winning teams were chosen by a panel of judges made up of top-level academia and industry as well as input from public voting at www.conradawards.org. Finalists were asked to submit three documents for their concept: a technical report, a business plan and a graphical representation. Each team presented their product during the three-day event, which brought together students, educators and entrepreneurs for a series of seminars and workshops to provide guidance on taking winning projects to the commercial marketplace.
After the event, all teams have the opportunity to raise additional funds to facilitate the continued the development of their projects into commercial viability. Visitors to the profile pages have the choice to donate directly to the development of their favorite team's project, or they can donate to the team's sponsoring school, helping continue excellence in science and technology education. Information about each team can be found on the Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award official website: www.conradawards.org.