CCHS students selected for NASA program

Special to Leader-Press

CCHS junior Abdiel Hernandez-Lopez competes on two robotics teams. The competitive swimmer and member of the AquaDawgs swim team, molds his body to produce the least friction possible in the water. This is how Herndandez-Lopez marketed his skills to land himself at spot learning with NASA’s finest.
“If I can work in a team to build a robot, I can definitely work with other passionate people to plan a mission to Mars,” he said.  “Aerospace engineers design aircraft and spacecraft to have as little air resistance as possible. Likewise, competitive swimmers such as myself must exercise and shape my body to make myself as fit and hydrodynamic as possible.”
Hernandez-Lopez and fellow junior Christopher Penman are both students in NASA’s Texas High School Aerospace Scholars program. Both students are interacting with engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center through an online learning course to study mathematics, science, engineering and computer science. When they successfully complete the course, the two will spend a week at the space center for more hands-on learning.
“The most difficult challenges I’ve encountered in the course are thinking of original solutions to the problems presented and balancing the course work along with my other extracurricular activities and school work,” Hernandez-Lopez said. “The HAS Program is highly rigorous and requires you to think outside of the box to complete assignments, whether it be designing a 3D-Printed tool for astronauts or using radio technology to calculate the potential number of other civilizations of intelligent life in the Milky Way. Saying that it is intellectually stimulating is an understatement.”
Students are selected to participate by their state legislator through a competitive process.  
“I wanted to join this program as a way of challenging myself and gain more insight on the aerospace engineering world as a career,” Penman said. “The math concept can be quite rigorous.”  
As the course progresses, the students are able to think about problems more critically and creatively.
“I am imbued with more passion for the space and aerospace sciences. Comparable to the way this program inspires me…similar programs will help inspire kids around the country and globe to become the scientists, engineers, and global innovators of the next generation.”

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