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Tech Museum of Innovation Invites Bay Area Students to Test Their Creativity in 20th Annual Tech Challenge

Press Release Date 
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the nation's premier science and technology museums, announces the 20th anniversary Tech Challenge. In TECH CHALLENGE 2007: Mars Crater Mission, student teams will compete to build a special unmanned rover that would enable scientists to study Martian craters in the future. Throughout its 20-year history, the Tech Challenge has strived to provide students with real life engineering design challenges to both inspire their creativity and build teamwork skills. All students operate in teams with a minimum of two participants and an adult advisor from their school, family or a local business. In this year's Mars Crater Mission, students must design, build, and operate an unmanned device that can survive a 12-foot drop into a Martian crater, and then successfully exit the crater by ascending a 6-foot crater wall. The Tech will provide a simulated crater, with a padded drop zone and a textured crater wall and crater rim to test the entries in trials that begin late March and continue up to the final Award Celebration on April 28. "As a leading technology museum, we believe our responsibility is to not only showcase technology but to unleash the creative potential of our next generation," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech. "This year's Tech Challenge both celebrates 20 years of a very popular youth program and at the same time celebrates the spirit of innovation that defines Silicon Valley. Today's Tech Challenge participants have the drive and inspiration to be tomorrow's science and technology leaders." Twenty Years of Inspiring Innovation The Tech Challenge grew out of the Santa Clara County Science Fair to become a signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation in its mission to "inspire the innovator in everyone." Tech Challenge is based on The Tech Museum's education model, which stresses that the process of design, rather than just ultimate success, is what sparks innovation. Over the years, an estimated 11,000 Bay Area youth have participated in the unique student engineering challenge. "Although I had always been interested in engineering, competing in the Tech Challenge deepened my interest and taught me a great deal about the creativity and hard work required to find elegant solutions to real-world problems," said Ross Audet, a 1988 Tech Challenge prize winner. "The Tech Challenge augments my curriculum perfectly in that the students implement the '7 Step Engineering Process' to design and construct a solution to a simulated real life-problem," said Bruce Kawanami, ROP Engineering Technology, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino. "The event is incredibly exciting as the students showcase their devices in front of an enthusiastic audience. This entire process demonstrates science and engineering can be a lot of fun." How to Participate The 2007 Tech Challenge is open to students from the 6th through 12th grade throughout the Northern California region. Registration is open until March 31. Information on registration and the various key dates of the program is available at You also can email challenge@thetech or call 408-795-6105. Tech Challenge Sponsors The Tech also announced today that Brocade and Cadence are the leading underwriters for the 20th anniversary Tech Challenge (see release titled "Brocade and Cadence Are Key Sponsors of The Tech Museum of Innovation's 20th Anniversary Tech Challenge"). Other corporate s ponsors include Intel, KPMG, Tyco Electronics, Yahoo, SAP, David H. Liu Foundation, Northrop Grumman, The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Seagate, AMD, SanDisk, ATW, Adaptec and IBM. About The Tech Museum of Innovation: The Tech Museum of Innovation is an interactive technology and science experience. Located in San Jose, California - the Capital of Silicon Valley - its mission, as a public-benefit corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge student team competition, and the internationally recognized Tech Museum Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum of Innovation honors the past, celebrates the present, and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information about The Tech Museum of Innovation, visit