STEAMLabs: Astronaut Maker Boot Camp

Publish date: 
Saturday, August 13, 2016

A 10-week course for space exploration fans who want to learn maker skills and technologies. No experience required – get up to speed with maker tech with this fun and exciting theme!

If you want to be an astronaut (or train like one!), you need to be resourceful, work in a team, be motivated, problem solve, be a critical thinker, and support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) learning! Basically, a key asset is to be a Maker!

Join STEAMLabs founders Andy Forest and Marianne Mader for a unique ‘out of this world’ 10-week experience.

Through consultation with Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield, 5-time NASA shuttle astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski, current NASA astronaut Dr. Stan Love, and Jeff Stone, NASA JSC Operations Support Officer/Repair and Mechanisms, International Space Station Maintenance Training, they’ve developed a program for training anyone in astronaut maker skills!

You’ll spend the first 5 weeks of this boot camp, learning basic maker skills by designing and building your own horticulture science experiment based on real design considerations for the International Space Station. No prior experience is required, as they will teach you everything you need to know. If you do have experience with any of these technologies, their expert teachers will help you take that knowledge further by working on a more advanced challenge. Bonus: this spin-off technology can be used at home!

Digital Fabrication – 3D printing and laser cutting
NASA sees digital fabrication techniques such as 3D printing as key to long term space missions to allow easy creation of spare parts and new tools. Design and build a transparent acrylic enclosure for your hydroponic plant experiment. 3D print lighting mounts, irrigation tube connectors and more.

Life in space is made possible by a myriad of electronic systems, from collecting power from solar panels, using sensors to collect data, processing air to breathe, navigating spacecraft, and communicating with the earth below. You will learn how to build basic electronic circuits, hooking up moisture and light sensors and actuators for automatic watering.

Coding & Robotics – Arduino, HTML & CSS
Arduino is a platform used by beginners and experts alike for building all kinds of robotics projects. Learn the coding necessary to read sensor and network data and control your actuators and LED lighting. Report your sensor data back to the network and build a web-based dashboard to monitor your experiment’s status and manually control its systems.

Maintenance & Troubleshooting
Learn how to troubleshoot electronics. You can learn a lot from how things fail, and even more by repairing them!

Once you have the skills, you will spend the second 5 weeks of the boot camp solving real challenges faced by our astronaut consultants while they were in space. Did you know that they don’t have a space coffee cup with a way to add milk and sugar in zero g? Exercise is critical in space, or astronauts lose too much bone mass. Design a piece of equipment to give random / asymmetric heavy loads to hips and femur. Astronauts need down-time, too, but games designed for earth gravity don’t work well in zero g. Make some required changes or design a new one! The love of space exploration is spread by passionate people. Communicate an essentially scientific event artistically and ignite that passion in everyone!

Dates: Every Wednesday, 6-9pm, 10 weeks, commencing 21st September & concluding 23rd November
Price: $560 per person
Location: STEAMLabs, 192 Spadina Avenue, Toronto (Queen & Spadina)

DEADLINE EXTENDED for application: Wednesday 14th September, 2016

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