NRL also conducts educational outreach efforts that are not associated with formal personal excellence school partnerships. These activities include science fair judging, an annual book drive for local school libraries and involvement with outside organizations that promote educational opportunities such as Project Starshine and Botball.
Project Starshine is a hands-on educational project that provides students with insight and understanding into the satellite development process, orbital dynamics, and scientific methods. Over the past six years, three small, optically reflective spherical "Starshine" student satellites have been designed by NRL's Naval Center for Space Technology and built by an informal, volunteer coalition of organizations and individuals in the USA and Canada, called "Project Starshine." Each of the satellites is covered by approximately 1000 small, front-surface aluminum mirrors that are machined by technology students in Utah and polished by tens of thousands of students in schools and other participating organizations around the world. Following launch, the students track the satellite, which is observable to the naked eye, and collect data on the density of the Earth's atmosphere. The data is shared via the Internet and has been used by NRL scientists to measure the effects of solar extreme ultraviolet radiation on satellite orbital decay.
More information on Project Starshine.
Botball is a high-tech game that requires students to design, build and program a mobile robot that operates without remote controls. The program strives to get middle and high school students excited about science, math, and technology, helps them to improve their leadership and team working skills and learn more about engineering and computer science. The NRL Outreach Program sponsors two to three schools each year and NRL scientists in the Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence mentor the students as they build their robots for regional and national competition. Some of these students are exposed to robotic technology for the first time and in a very short period, learn the techniques required to design and build robots, and the science and math required to complete the project.
More information on Botball.