O’Connell group earns spot in NASA occasion

A group of scholars from Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington had been awarded a coveted spot in a NASA management occasion in February on account of their submission to the 2020 NASA App Development Challenge (ADC). The information and accolades had been introduced throughout a livestreamed awards program Jan. 8.

O’Connell college students Alex Janninck, Daniel Kippenhan, Elaine Ly  and Claire Toia, alongside Sevginaz Gurleyici from the Madeira School in McLean, teamed up nearly to code an utility for the NASA problem. The program seeks to interact the following era of
scientists and engineers in NASA’s Artemis program, which goals to land the primary lady on the moon by 2024.

The group’s problem was to develop an utility that would navigate the terrain of the lunar south pole. They wanted to visualise the moon’s floor, set up a dependable and environment friendly pathfinding algorithm between touchdown and vacation spot factors, and determine ten communication
checkpoints alongside the given route. To this finish, they got a number of information recordsdata, which contained tens of millions of information factors for processing, and 7 weeks to finish the problem. There was no specified programming language or technique required to execute the applying, which allowed for creativity and
exploration. 

O’Connell’s group encountered and overcame quite a few obstacles throughout the problem. In response to time administration, the group coordinated group chats, schedules and aimed to divide the workload evenly. Additionally, they carried out a mentorship program, as some members had been inexperienced with the
Python programming language. Team members coded in actual time utilizing “Code With Me,” a newly launched Integrated Development Environment (IDE) plugin that allowed for larger collaboration.  

 “I’m appreciative of this learning opportunity,” stated Janninck . “Not solely did I learn to lead a group, however I additionally discovered manipulate giant information units — 6.5 million numbers, on this case. This venture made me understand that I can mix my passions for aerospace engineering and programming right into a doable profession:
writing simulation software program for the aerospace business.” 

For Kippenhan, the experience exceeded his expectations. “I used to be stunned that our app made it previous step one within the grading course of, and I didn’t know what to say after we had been chosen as one of many successful groups,” he said. “I’m pleased with the ultimate end result and the way we labored collectively as a
group.”

 “When I first agreed to this venture, I by no means thought that we might have extra girls than males on the group,” said Toia. “Since there’s all the time speak about getting extra girls into STEM, it was good to see women my age interested by engineering. I really like that I
was in a position to be a part of a powerful group that labored properly collectively.”

During the awards program, the O’Connell group was lauded for his or her strengths in each the coding and noncoding points of the problem, using totally different platforms to create a profitable app. They eagerly anticipate NASA’s culminating occasion, the place chosen faculties throughout the nation
will collect nearly to witness the affect of their contributions and have interaction with NASA management.

“Before the team even knew the full parameters of expectations for the contest, they were ‘all in’ for a creative design challenge about the Earth’s moon,” stated O’Connell engineering instructor Melissa Pore. “Through sheer curiosity, and in the long run, perseverance, these college students churned out a number of
concepts and numerous methods as they encountered street bumps and hurdles earlier than creating the final word interface for astronaut coaching and lunar navigation meant for the Artemis mission astronauts. I’m so happy with them.”

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