Ala. students to name moon-bound craft - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Ala. students to name moon-bound craft

On the 54th anniversary of the launching of the Explorer I satellite, the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) is inviting Alabama public school fourth-graders to participate in their mission to the moon.

RCSP, the Alabama Tourism Department and the Alabama Department of Education (ADE) are encouraging fourth graders to name RCSP's moon-bound lander in a statewide contest!

The winning class will get a free, three-day trip to the Pathfinder program at Space Camp, and the teacher will receive a $500 gift card for classroom supplies.

The RCSP team is developing a low-cost lunar lander/rover system for conducting commercial and scientific missions on the moon and potentially other planetary bodies in the Google Lunar X PRIZE, $30 million competition.

The competition challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch to the moon a privately funded spacecraft capable of completing a series of exploration and transmission tasks.

The lander/rover system is capable of making a soft landing on a planetary body and deploying a rover. The Rocket City Space Pioneers are asking fourth-grade students in Alabama public schools to choose a name for this lander.

"We are very excited to be a part of this challenging competition," said Dr. Tommy Bice, State Superintendent of Education. "Alabama's students are focusing on math and science more intensely as part of STEM education initiatives. This contest will help to encourage their knowledge of the science and engineering that is required for space exploration."

Through the Name the Lander contest, students will learn about moon landers through a lesson plan and activity sheets developed by Space Camp leaders.

Fourth-grade teachers will have an opportunity to submit their respective classes' suggested name through an online registration system.

The registration period for the contest is January 31 – February 15. The contest period is February 15-23. The winning name will be selected in early March. The winning class will then be notified.

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