Students compete for nod from NASA

Posted at: 06/06/2014 3:59 PM
Updated at: 06/06/2014 5:02 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

Schenectady students will take this robot to a NASA competition next week in Mass.
Schenectady students will take this robot to a NASA competition next week in Mass.

SCHENECTADY -- The "Retriever" is a robot designed and built entirely by teenagers at Schenectady High School.  It's a simulated Mars rover that's self-powered mission is to detect and collect samples.  Past technology chosen from NASA's Centennial Challenges have been used to develop hardware for use in NASA's future missions.

"It's been a blast to work on it and I've learned a lot about helping society," said sophomore team member Ethan Kranick.                                                                  

The young engineers applied knowledge they learned inside the classroom to a real life experience.  Essentially already working in the field, as teenagers, they hope to make a career in as adults.

"I didn't think actually I'd ever have to use that and now I actually do," said another sophomore team member, Vasilios Avramidis.

The Schenectady Retriever project began about nine months ago.  Each contributor spent between 50 and 100 hours planning and constructing the innovation.

"These kids really are focused, which is a rarity these days.  We test out here and see other kids on their iphones and listening to music and we're here thinking and working real hard," explained the advisor on the project, Robert Svec.

RPI also has a rover entry in the competition.  In fact, Schenectady is the only high school in the competition made up of mostly college and university students.

"I think we'll do pretty well compared to them. We'll probably both do pretty well i'm not too nervous," added Avramidis.

The NASA Centennial Challenge runs all of next week at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.