TSM Kids Win More Awards – Become ‘Aviation Explorers!’

TSM Protégés Sean Clemmons and Mohammad Khan’s ‘MARS Airship’ project recently won “Honorable Mention” medals at this year’s Los Angeles County Science Fair held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in April. This was the same Traveling Space Museum sponsored project that won the two next-door neighbors the national Lockheed-Martin Stellar Design Challenge (8th Grade) last year. See PRESS article dateline: LA Daily News  3/29/06.

Sean and Mohammad’s ‘Mars Atmospheric Roving Ship’ (or MARS Airship) is the elegant concept of sending hydrogen filled blimps to Mars that would photographically survey the planet Mars and also analyze the makeup and temperature of the Martian atmosphere. The boys taped two Helium filled blimps together and attached radio controlled propellers to the blimps to steer the airships remotely.  Litmus paper and thermometer were also applied to the blimps to measure atmospheric ph levels and temperature.  A tiny television camera affixed to the blimp’s gondola transmits a clear view of the surface from on high via a broadcast signal to a remote monitor.

After being interviewed by the LA Daily News, the boys were off to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland to receive their award plagues as well as a really cool telescope courtesy of Lockheed-Martin.

While in Washington DC, Lockheed-Martin helped arrange a meeting with their Congressman, Rep. Brad Sherman as well as tour of the Capitol Building. The boys also had a chance to demonstrate their exhibits to Lockheed-Martin judges and follow contestants.

Team TSM returned to Los Angeles just in time to attend the International Space Development Conference at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel at LAX where they presented their MARS Airship exhibit to the space science community. The two middle school students fielded pointed questions from space professionals including those from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena Ca. Attending JPL research scientist, Dr. Richard Shope, revealed the fact that NASA is working on a blimp-like vehicle to survey Mars.   The ISDC event was a joint conference co-hosted by the Planetary Society and the National Space Society back in May 2006.

Last year, TSM Protégé Elizabeth Clemmons was the winner of The Engineer’s Council and General Chuck Yeager Foundation’s Academic Scholarship for project excellence at the Los Angeles County Science Fair 2006”. The Engineering Award, presented at the LA County Science Fair at the Los Angeles Convention Center, is a $500 cash prize that goes to students with outstanding original engineering concepts.  Elizabeth’s project ‘A Woman’s Way to Science’ showed how scientific principles and experiments could be taught to girls using familiar kitchen utensils!   Congratulations Elizabeth!

Expect to hear more about these kids in the years to come.  This year, Sean and his sister Elizabeth (16) have become Aviation Explorers and are beginning to learn to fly! Elizabeth  could have her pilots’ license before she’s 17! 

The purpose of the Aviation Explorers is to provide experiences that will affect the positive development of youth at a critical stage in their lives and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Young adults gain insight through fun-filled programs and hands-on activities provided by adult committee volunteers, youth participants, and other consultants from the community. The Aviation Explorers, based at Whiteman Airport in Los Angeles, are made up of students interested in careers in aviation. The leaders provide them with the tools to meet their personal goals.

Originally part of the Boy Scouts of America, Aviation Explorer program (serving greater Los Angeles) is now its own entity is sponsored by the San Fernando Valley 99s (an LA chapter of the national women’s pilot organization) and Whiteman Airport. The Exploring Program is for young adults (male and female) ages 14 to 20.

Currently, there are several 99s already working with a group of great kids who ALL want to learn how to fly. Ruth Logan and Lois Peck started the group, and help plan meetings. Volunteer 99 pilots, including Jeanne Fenimore, Jeanne Kirhofer, Ruth Logan, Lois Peck, and Ceci Stratford, lead field trips to airports and flight museums like the Camarillo Commemorative Museum at nearby Camarillo Airport.

For more information about SFV 99s’ Aviation Explorers check out their website at: www.sfv99s.org/explorers.html

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K(Left to right) Mohammad, Rep. Brad Sherman, Sean, TSM Founder Ivor Dawson and TSM MOB Dr. Maureen Clemmons. 
LA Team TSM, NASA and LMCO reps with astronaut trainees as bookends at Goddard Space Flight Center

The ‘Mars Atmospheric Roving Ship’Exhibit at ISDC Conference
May 2006

Ms. Elizabeth Clemmons wins a medal, flowers and cash.