Team Number: 24 School Name: Capitan High School Area of Science: Space and Planetary Sciences Project Title: Shoot for the Moon Project Abstract: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/abstracts/024.html Interim Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/interims/024.html Final Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/finalreports/024/finalreport.html
Bluntly as possible, space is a huge place. It's beginnings overt to the naked eye, and its ends, (or beginnings as the case may be) too far for even the greatest of our technology to measure. Space has been mankind's mountain to climb since time began, and only now has our foothold grown enough for individuals (other than specialized scientists) to get involved. In much the same way a moth is attracted to a light bulb we are prone to reach out to space, meaning much of our time and effort is committed to this worldly goal, so it is nothing extraordinary for a group of people involved in computers to wish that their own goals were mutual.
Our travels along paths already paved is frustrating at times because what we are learning is new to us and excited of all our newfound knowledge, are frustrated that it is already known to people who have taken on occupationally the project. Realization tells us that the project is a success if it is a learning experience for anyone, regardless of the repetitive steps in the education process.
Our original goal, though small, was point blank, to hit the moon with a projectile. Much to our surprise, this is not an easy task and credit should be given to the masses of people who did the mathematics to do so in the first place. We began with lessons in acceleration, (no gravity or friction) and distance. Calculating point of launch to point of impact on two moving objects was a project of its own and we thank the stars for graph paper, calculators, and the ever so impressive super computers for that much. We were unable to attain any sort of help from the Internet, (nasa.com) or from our library in our High School that could help us. We resorted to the dates of past launches and the reports of their landings to develop our own approximation of time. (It sincerely was an approximation since shuttle missions that included moon landings had dead time in which they were not moving in a straight intercept course for the moon) The distances included in our findings were definitely in need of a super computer. Regular PC's have ability to compile 12 digits, PC's with a basic Unix OS have 16 digit compiling capabilities, super computers allow us to expand upon these outdated limits. Late decisions on code choices set us back a bit, in that the three programmers of our team all us a different method. (Fortran, C++, and C) We came to a mutual agreement that the senior programmer was the best choice and decided on C.
Even in absence of a code to suffice our initial
goal, we know we have learned enough about space and calculus to prove
helpful in our further quests into the final frontier.