NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise is sponsoring one of this year’s problems at the 26th annual “Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.”

Children from around the world gather May 28-31 at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, to compete in the creative problem solving competition. The Odyssey challenges students to solve long-term problems ranging from science and technology to the creative arts.

NASA is challenging students to design, build and run three small vehicles to transport items from an Orbit Area to an Assembly Station in space. The NASA problem opens with a three-dimensional representation of a scene of the Earth as viewed from space. Items affecting the problem, both real and imaginary, are added to the scenario, and the scene changes. The vehicles will be powered in different ways. One vehicle will carry its energy source, and the other two will travel on the momentum created by different sources.

Over the past year, NASA has supported the Odyssey through a Web site for participants to help develop solutions to problems facing the Earth and to help students learn more about the environment. NASA has also created curriculum activities for members in an effort to integrate creative problem solving into the classroom.

The Odyssey and NASA partnership is a natural collaboration. Both organizations represent the best in innovation, teamwork and creative problem solving. NASA expects to reach nearly two million students, parents, teachers and coaches world-wide through sponsorship of “Odyssey of the Mind,” stimulating interest and learning about Earth system science.

The Odyssey program, founded in 1978, is an international creative problem solving competition for students from kindergarten through college. Participants come from almost every state and Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Siberia, Singapore, Slovakia, United Kingdom, and West Africa. During the year, students are separated into four divisions, based on age, and form teams to solve one of five long-term challenges. After developing their solutions, teams compete at state and regional levels.

The mission of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise is to develop a scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response to natural or human-induced changes to enable improved prediction capability for climate, weather and natural hazards.

For information about “Odyssey of the Mind” visit the official Web site at:

For information about the “Odyssey of the Mind World Finals” competition visit:

NASA’s “Odyssey of the Mind” Web site is at: