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"Hidden Figures" Lunar Lander Challenge makes its debut at the 3rd Annual Bentonville Film Festival


The Bentonville Film Festival, founded by actress Geena Davis, is an American film festival in Bentonville, Arkansas. BFF is a one of a kind annual event which champions women and diversity in all aspects of entertainment media. This year The Harris Foundation was invited to participate in the festivities by bringing a little galactic star power of our own with the "Hidden Figures" Lunar Lander Challenge. 

The Harris Foundation's own Director of Education, Dr. Tonya Jeffery and Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Vernard Henley presented the Lunar Lander mission to an enthusiastic group of creative middle school students. We put their engineering, mathematical, problem-solving, and communication skills to the test with this mission!

The mission (scenario):  Dr. Harris is looking for a team of middle school students to creatively design, build, and test a model spacecraft (Lunar Lander) capable of protecting an astronaut during a moon landing in 2025.

The Lander must have a shock-absorbing system to help protect the astronaut and the Lander itself, at the moment of impact.

Each team’s Lander will be deployed (dropped) at a distance of 2 meters. Each team only gets to test their Lander in front of the judges once. Points will be awarded for landing in the landing zone (20 cm diameter circle), undamaged Lander, perfect landing, upright Lander with the astronaut remaining inside the Lander, and cost-effectiveness of the shock-absorbing materials.

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