University of Baltimore to Start Space Tech Camp for City High School Students to Explore Future Projects on the Moon
May 12, 2022
Contact: Office of Advancement and External Relations
With NASA's moon-bound Artemis program as the backdrop, The University of Baltimore will introduce Space Tech Camp, an initiative directed at students in grades 10 and 11 in Baltimore City Public Schools and focused on augmented reality (AR) projects. The agency's Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) and its Precollege Summer Institute (PSI) provided UBalt with a grant of nearly $65,000 to begin the project. It is expected to take place from June 27 to July 1. UBalt was one of only 10 institutions nationwide, and one of only two in Maryland, to receive MUREP funding in the categories of Historically Black Colleges and Universities or Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). UBalt is recognized as a PBI by the U.S. Department of Education.
According to NASA, the program's goal is to support "the dreams of students from traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities to enter careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)."
Space Tech Camp will encourage students to take AR technology and enhance its features to make the Artemis program’s needs more achievable. Encouraging the exploration of AR’s potential will be a constant goal of the initiative. The camp is UBalt's second significant success with NASA's public-facing development of technologies for working and living in space and on other worlds; the University's NASA SUITS (Spacesuit User Interface Technologies for Students) efforts have enhanced the agency's use of technology to make repairs and upgrades to equipment in orbit and beyond.
"The opportunity to engage students early in their academic career is priceless, and doing so with the support of NASA makes the experience even more meaningful," says Giovanni Vincenti, associate professor in the University's Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies and director of the B.S. in Applied Information Technology program. "Over the last few years, our students have used their creativity to imagine and prototype augmented reality systems that could help astronauts reach Mars. This is not just something to file away under the 'maybe, one day' label. Now, through Space Tech Camp, we'll utilize the same tools but with a different purpose: to let high school students know how technology on Earth may power tomorrow's innovations in space."
Prof. Vincenti says it's often everyday solutions, repurposed for the unique requirements of life in space, that help propel humanity to the next frontier.
"NASA has invested countless resources in science that found practical applications here on Earth," he says. "Perhaps it's time to envision a more comfortable work environment in space, based on the things that power modern society."
The vision for Space Tech Camp, he says, blends together this practical application with the imagination of young people, "with the hope of sparking their interest in unexpected directions for their studies and careers."
Learn more about NASA's winning MUREP projects.