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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/25/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Kits are affordable and make technology accessible to kids.

In an attempt to connect with youth, NASA has partnered with New York-based littleBits to create do-it-yourself kits that allow kids -or enthusiastic adults to create mini NASA projects including a working miniature Mars rover.

Build a satellite, or a 'key-tar.'

Build a satellite, or a 'key-tar.'

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/25/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: NASA, littleBits, Space Kit, science


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - NASA in a bid to connect with kids, has pioneered littleBits, a kit that kids can buy online and use to assemble their own mini rovers and other scientific instruments. The Space Kit, as it is branded, comes with small lego-style components that connect magnetically to one another and work together.

NASA hopes that as kids play with the devices they learn more about what NASA does and how to engineer their own projects.

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NASA says the equipment will lake kids take measurements of the atmosphere, of light and can be used to make a working model satellite. It's simply a matter of stringing the components together in a logical manner.

The kits come with manuals which teach you how to build different devices, and kids are invited to experiment and build their own contraptions.

Certain components do not come with the kit and need to be upcycled from household items, such as plastic bottles, wheels, and frames for various contraptions.

The project has been 18 months in development and was intended to make NASA research more accessible to kids. The secret was writing technical manuals that explain how sophisticated technology works in simple, easy to understand terms.

The components that come in each kit are modeled after actual working components which NASA uses in various instruments, but they are simplified. They remain functional and can take basic measurements allowing kids to do their own science research projects at home or at school.

The kits range in price between $99 to $199 and the pieces are interchangeable.

The littleBits kits are a natural evolution of a simplification trend. Already, cellphones provide off-the-shelf technology for college-level students to develop science projects that range from weather balloon instrumentation to actual micro-satellites. LittleBits will make the same kind of tinkering normally reserved for college-level engineering students accessible to younger kids.

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