MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 14, 2014

Next stop NASA for science student

(Continued)

Seeing the

fun in science

Keck’s interest in science grew through homeschool and Hilldale.

His home science lessons came through A Beka curriculum. He recalled watching lectures on VHS.

“If we had any questions, I’d ask my dad,” he said. “As I got older, my dad helped me with a lot of electrical projects we did.”

Hilldale teachers helped Keck’s interest grow.

“The faculty at Hilldale, starting from grade four, was just a string of excellent science teachers,” he said.

He recalled Fridays when his fourth-grade teacher Betty Blackwell would have a science quiz based on the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” show.

“She would make it fun to know science,” he said. “She would have somebody up there, and whoever got the questions would get increasing amounts of candy.”

Keck said he got up to question No. 8 once and won another time, winning two full-sized candy bars.

Keck also recalled sixth grade, when he rode a hovercraft made by a high school science teacher, George Swanson. The hovercraft featured a circular board atop big blowers used with the wiggling men seen at car dealers or events.

“He’d just strap that thing onto it, so it was blowing a bunch of air underneath,” Keck said. “That allowed that thing to become a hovercraft. The disk hovered above the ground, and you could put a sixth-grader on it.”

His high school biology teacher, Richard Martin, also had an impact.

“He and I got along really well; he would ask me to help with the science experiments he was setting up. That was tons of fun for me, just getting to play with all these science instruments and Bunsen burners.”

A dream

come true

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity piqued Keck’s curiosity about how real-time operating systems work.

Such curiosity led him to get a NASA internship this summer at Marshal Space Center in Huntsville, Ala.

“What inspired me was watching the Curiosity rover land,” Keck said. “Mars is so far away it is not possible to control a spacecraft from Earth. So what they had to do was make that entire landing sequence autonomous, with no human interaction.”

Keck applied for the internship in December by filling out information and posting a personal statement on why he wanted to be a NASA intern.

“For a long time, I was getting daily emails whenever new intern positions were posted,” he said.

Keck said his first choice was a session on real-time operating systems.

“Real-time operating systems are the systems that power your car or fighter jets or NASA’s Curiosity rover,” he said. “It is a highly scheduled operating system that makes sure vital calculations are done on a certain deadline.”

Keck also applied for 14 other internships. He received two calls and did two phone interviews.

“But those weren’t the ones I wanted the most,” he said

Finally, he got a call from Huntsville, offering the real-time operating system internship.

He said he will spend 10 weeks, starting in June, working on a spacecraft.

“I’ll be helping create the logic for how the spacecraft will operate, putting it in code,” he said. “NASA has a really good history with their software.”

Text Only
Local News
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks