2020 PoSSUM 13 Microgravity Challenge and Out Astronaut Contest Announced

02 Apr 2020 PoSSUM 13 Microgravity Challenge and Out Astronaut Contest Announced

Boulder Colo. – Project PoSSUM announced today that it will sponsor two new competitions in 2020 serving under-represented populations in science: the PoSSUM 13 Microgravity Challenge and the Out Astronaut Contest.

The PoSSUM 13 is a space education and advocacy effort created to honor the legacy of the Mercury 13 providing global ambassadors that are dedicated to increasing opportunity and engagement for students – and especially young women – who have a passion for space science and exploration.

Project PoSSUM sponsors outreach programs such as the PoSSUM 13 and the Out Astronaut Project, designed to represent and engage under-represented communities in science and space.

The PoSSUM 13 Microgravity Challenge is available to student teams around the world whose age is between 13 and 17 years. Project PoSSUM will provide grants to two teams which will be selected to fully design and build their experiment. These teams will receive mentoring from PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Candidates regarding pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight procedures. One student from the top winning team will have the opportunity to fly as a mission specialist as part of PoSSUM’s annual microgravity campaign. Last year, Ivanna Hernandez of Santa Marta Colombia won the inaugural PoSSUM 13 Microgravity Challenge. Interested student teams are encouraged to submit their proposal along with a video by 1 May 2020 through the link at: projectpossum.org/the-possum-13

Additionally, PoSSUM will provide a grant to the Out Astronaut Project, whose mission is to help address the under-representation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people in science and in the space industry. Presently, there are few out LGBTQ STEM professionals serving as role models to LGBTQ youth; more than 40 percent of LGBTQ people in STEM are not out and gay and bisexual students are less likely to follow an academic career. Working with work partners including NOGLSTP, oSTEM, and Pride in STEM, the project intends to train and fly a member of the LGBTQ community as a scientist-astronaut while highlighting the contributions of current LGBTQ members making contributions in science and space.

The Out Astronaut Contest is a three-phase competition open to individuals who openly embrace their role in the LGBTQ community, want to serve as role models to LGBTQ youth, and seek to become representatives of their community as pioneers of astronautical science. The winning candidate will be chosen through a merit-based selection to attend the October 2020 Advanced PoSSUM Academy class at Florida Tech in Melbourne, FL. Subsequent phases of the contest will create opportunities for mission-specific training and spaceflight. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit outastronaut.org to submit their application.

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