Monday, June 3, 2019

Girl Scout Robotics Teams Tackle Radiation

Though it’s been nearly 85 years since Marie Curie’s death from prolonged exposure to radiation, radiation is still a significant issue today, and Girl Scouts are stepping up to tackle this challenge. Two of the many Girl Scout robotics teams that attended the 2019 FIRST® Championship (the world’s largest robotics competition and celebration for students) focused on how to protect astronauts from radiation exposure in space. Today’s girls are addressing this topic of great importance to humankind.

The theme for the FIRST competition is “Into Orbit,” in which teams identify and propose a solution for a physical or a social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration. For NASA, space radiation is one of the biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars, the top option for expanding human presence in space. The Tech Hoppers (from Girl Scouts of Greater New York) and Team Smarties (from Girl Scouts Louisiana East) are ready and in position to be our current and future science pioneers. 

The Tech Hoppers came up with the idea of creating a robot within a meteor or asteroid to protect against radiation, due to hydrogen’s prevalence in asteroid and meteors, and its properties as a radiation shield material. Team Smarties developed an antioxidant powder called Smart Blast that can be sprinkled over food to offset the effects of radiation—and they are even submitting a provisional patent application for the powder! Team Smarties chose to solve the problem of radiation due to its current relevancy for people affected by radiation world-wide as well as and for astronauts in space exploration.
Girl Scouts Robotics Team TechHoppers.
Photo: Girl Scouts of Greater New York
Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM activities (60 percent versus 35 percent) like science experiments and building robots. At GSUSA, we recognize that in our increasingly tech-driven world, future generations must possess the skills to navigate the complexities and inherent challenges of the STEM and cyber realms. Team Smarties and the Tech Hoppers are part of Girl Scouts’ effort to eliminate traditional barriers to industry access, such as gender and geography, helping to ensure that girls of all ages have a strong foundation to tackle our world’s pressing issues.