HHS alum shares science with seniors
Sandlin to take part in UA/NASA experiment
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle High School senior physics students learned recently that engineering isn't always a heavy topic. In fact, sometimes it's completely weightless.
Destin Sandlin, 1999 HHS graduate and senior mechanical engineering major at The University of Alabama, explained the NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program to the physics class as an outreach activity to interest students in engineering.
Sandlin is a member of the UA flight team that will compete with 50 to 60 university teams nationwide later this year in reduced gravity experiments. Sandlin's team named their experiment TARGET (Threaded Assembly Reduced Gravity Environment Testing). The team will test an original design in hopes to increase the effectiveness of fastener installation in space.
Sandlin explained each step of the team's experiment process from proposal to the final report. He explained the physical stresses on the human body due to the compression and decompression of gravity and showed a video of an actual UA "Weightless Wonder" flight experiment with NASA.
"Engineering isn't just punching numbers and figuring math equations," Sandlin said. "It's often fun and exciting, like floating around."
Sandlin's team is currently undergoing physicals and conducting ground test experiments in preparation for flight training in Houston in April. The team's final report will be presented to NASA in May.
Sandlin has also competed in the nationwide Great Moon-buggy Race. The UA team he participated with placed 12th in the nation. "It's great to have one of our own students come back and share their professional passion with current students," HHS physics teacher Joan Sneed said. "We are very proud of Destin and hope he goes far in engineering."