KB: “When we go in that room, the dirtiest thing in that room is going to be you and me and everybody else. So we want to make sure that we don’t get our biologyour flakes of our hair and our skin, on the vehicle, okay? So the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to get little booties, and we’re going to put those on our feet.”
JM: We’re at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where Kids’ Science Challenge winner Tyrone Hutchinson is getting a VIP tour. He’s getting to do something that very few people dosee the next Mars rover up close. But before you get admitted into the cleanroom, where the rover is, you’ve got to have the proper uniform, and an air shower. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
KB: “Alright, you got your booties on? So we’ll start with getting a hood let me help you out here. We’ll get you all fixed up here. Alright, step into this side”
That’s NASA engineer Kobie Boykins. He’s outfitting Tyrone in what engineers call a ‘bunny suit,’ which covers nearly his entire body.
[conversation re: dressing in the bunny suit]
KB: “What we’re going to do now is we’re going to go into the air shower. This is the last step before we actually can go into the cleanroom. So we’re going to just open the door, we’re going to go in, and when the door shuts it’s going to start blowing air at us. It’s just going to be like you’re taking a shower at home. I want you to put your arms up, sort of turn around, let the air blow at you, it will blow all the rest of the stuff off you, and then we’re going to go through the door, then everybody else is going to come in. Okay? Okay, here we go.”
[ambience air shower]
JM: All this preparation prevents any biological contamination of the Mars rover.
The Kids’ Science Challenge is our free nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th-graders, where kids like Tyrone get to see their science ideas come alive. To see videos of Tyrone and the Mars rover, and to learn more about the Kids’ Science Challenge, check out kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.