Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m. March 11.
Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge is the first middle school to ever be selected for a NASA program that launches small cube-shaped satellites into space.
On Friday, the $70,000 science project, which started about three years ago, got a $15,000 boost from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The Robertsville satellite, which will orbit a few hundred miles above Earth, will use a small camera to try to take pictures of forest regrowth in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg. That area burned in forest fires fed by high winds after Thanksgiving 2016, killing 14 people and damaging or destroying more than 2,500 homes and businesses.
The RMS satellite, named RamSat, will use a radio to relay its images and other data back to Earth.
A project proposal was submitted to NASA in November, and Oak Ridge Schools learned this month that the RMS proposal had been accepted.
“This is such an exciting opportunity for the students!” said Peter Thornton, one of the RamSat team leaders from ORNL. “They will now have the chance to design, build, carry out, and own a satellite mission.” [Read more…]