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Student to help NASA develop robotic rovers

Brian Webb will take part in a NASA workshop at the  Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Brian Webb

Brian Webb has loved science for as long as he can remember. Soon the Seminole State College of Florida student will have the opportunity to join other science buffs as they design robotic Mars rovers.

Webb, 21, a student in the Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute, is one of 80 students selected to take part in NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars program.

“The students will establish teams and form fictitious companies pursuing Mars exploration,” according to NASA. “Each team will shape a company infrastructure to develop and design a prototype rover. The on-site experience includes a tour of NASA facilities and briefings from agency scientists, engineers and astronauts.”

Some of the students will work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., April 27-29; others, including Webb, will work at the Johnson Space Center in Houston May 12-14.

Participants were selected based on completion of Web-based assignments during the school year. Webb prepared mission objectives, developed a budget and timeline, designed rover specifications and created sketches of the rover. His sketches “were modifications of the existing Mars Exploration Rover,” says Webb.

A devout Christian, Webb attributes his success in college to his faith. After graduating from Seminole State, the Longwood student plans to major in computer engineering at the University of Central Florida and eventually create an engineering consulting firm. He’s looking forward to the NASA workshop, not only because it’ll be a good opportunity, he says, but also because “it’s the type of thing I like to do, so it’ll be fun.”

The Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute offers programs for students who want to enrich their academic experience at Seminole State College. For more information, please visit the Honors Institute online, or call 407.708.2062.

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