KNOXVILLE—An ASM International Materials Camp supported by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and scientists at CNS Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is giving local students the chance to study debris from the space shuttle Columbia, with an eye on improving materials used in space flight.
“This is a great opportunity for local kids to get involved with materials science and see how it affects a lot of different disciplines,” said Steve Dekanich, senior metallurgist at CNS Y-12 and the leader of this year’s camp. “People can tend to focus on the really specialized things that materials science studies, but the reality is that it plays a part in many things that people don’t realize, from energy to design.”
Dekanich recalled how he met NASA’s Steve McDanels at a conference in Hawaii, with the two hitting it off immediately.
McDanels, who heads up NASA’s materials science division at Kennedy Space Center, has spent years doing studies and analysis for the agency, including work related to the shuttles, the International Space Station, and various hardware. He offered Dekanich the chance to have his campers study NASA debris for the first time in 2006, with the offer being gladly accepted. [Read more…]