Yes, 4 JHHS students are actually working for NASA

(Jackson, Wyo.) - By the time she graduates, Stephanie Salerno will have 3 years on her resume working for NASA as a subcontractor. This is through the NASA Hunch program -- High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware. The local team was started four years ago and is led by Jackson Hole High School teacher Gary Duquette. Last month, JHHS junior Salerno, along with teammates and JHHS students Aaron Trauner, Sam Galbraith and Clark Buchenroth, traveled to Houston to present at NASA. Each year, the team is given a list of problems that the astronauts face on the International Space Station (ISS). The team then chooses a problem that they work to solve. "One of the problems is that there are no games developed specifically for a micro-gravity environment, so we really liked that idea and chose to work on it," said Salerno, who is also the team captain. The game was required to be made out of materials already on the ISS, weigh the least amount possible and take up the least amount of volume. It also needed to be built so that it wouldn't break equipment or harm the astronauts. With this in mind, the students developed an idea for a game called Galaxy Globe. For Galaxy Globe, the game pieces would be cut into any shape using excess foam on the ISS. There are three different variations of the game. For one, the astronauts would distribute the game pieces and then push off of the wall to see how many they could collect before reaching the other wall. The next iteration involves trying to get through without touching any of the game pieces, and the third variation includes two different shaped game pieces and the astronauts try to collect more of one than the other. "The end goal of the project, and what we built on throughout the year, was that we would like to integrate either virtual or augmented reality into the game system," said sophomore team member Trauner. "Augmented reality is where you have a headset on, and you can still see your surroundings, but it adds to your surroundings, so you see other objects," explained Salerno. "Virtual reality is a completely closed headset, so you only see what is in the headset and not your surroundings." By integrating virtual or augmented reality to the game, the astronauts would be able to see the game pieces as asteroids or another object. For the virtual reality idea, the students hope that the astronaut could play the game with their family at home. On earth you would play virtual reality and in space you would play augmented reality. In April, the students traveled to the Houston Space Center to present their idea to NASA along with 6-8 other teams from across the nation. They presented to whoever walked by including NASA engineers and astronauts. They even got to present to astronaut Victor Glover, who had asked for the micro-gravity games to be developed. [image: Inline image 1] *Stephanie Salerno at NASA.* *h/t Gary Duquette / Pitchengine Communities* "We got to talk to him for a long time. It was a really amazing experience to be high school students, but talking to this really smart astronaut as though you are peers with them because you are collaborating and working towards the same goal," said Salerno. These students, as with all of the NASA Hunch students across the U.S., are officially subcontractors of NASA, so they may use this on their resume in the future. "I have learned so many skills through Hunch, because I communicate weekly and sometimes more than that with employees for NASA," said Salerno. The students hope to continue work on the augmented reality and virtual reality games in the program next year, and also have many other ideas for projects that they would like to work on. *Feature Photo: The Jackson NASA Hunch team at NASA with coach Gary Duquette and astronaut Victor Glover. h/t Gary Duquette / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news