Minnesota Student Has a Few Bugs To Work Out

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When NASA's space shuttle takes off toward the stars on March 22, it will also launch the research career of Todd E. Nelson, a high-school senior from Rose Creek, Minn.

Mr. Nelson, named last May as one of 10 finalists in the Shuttle Student Involvement Project for Secondary Schools, will be the first of the students to send a project into space.

His experiment, "Insects in Flight Motion Study," will send aloft two species of insects, the velvetbean caterpillar moth and the honeybee drone. The experiment will examine the behavior in flight of the two species, both flying insects with differing ratios of body mass to wing area. Ten insects of each species will be carried in separate canisters, which will be stored in the shuttle locker.

At one point during their mission, Jack Lousma and Gordon Fullerton, the shuttle's crew members, will remove the canisters from the locker and attach them to a wall. Here, the insects will be observed and filmed, using a special camera.

Mr. Nelson was assisted in his experimental design by Robert D. Roberts, his teacher-adviser, and by two scientists, Robert Moulton and Robert Peterson of the Avionics Division of Honeywell, Inc., of Minneapolis.

The Shuttle Student Involvement Project is sponsored jointly by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Teachers Association. The high-school project, one of several in which nasa has been involved, is intended to "stimulate the study of science and technology in the nation's secondary schools," according to the space agency.

Vol. 01, Issue 24

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