UFOs and more at NN Science Fair

Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Ganado High School’s Shawndiin McCray, 10th grade, stands by his science fair board after the judging segment of the Navajo Nation Science Fair on March 1 in Church Rock, New Mexico.


“It flies with no moving parts or no jets,” said Shawndiin McCray about his science fair project.

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The Ganado High School student created an “ionocraft” that is reminiscent of a UFO, he said. “It flies by using protons and electrons,” he said. “From the copper wire, the negative side, and the aluminum foil is the positive. The way it flies is that it trades electrons and it makes a power called ionic wind.”

The ionocraft was made of wooden stilts, aluminum foil and copper wires. McCray, who is in the 10th grade, would then attach either a car or truck battery to the two different ionocraft designs he used for his project. One was a common triangular design he found online that was smaller and lighter than the design he created himself.

He called his original ionocraft design “The Jellyfish” because it looks similar to the aquatic animal. However, this craft was too large and heavy for it to work better than the smaller, commonly used design. Both designs floated but the smaller one worked way better, he said. “How can we make a (flying object) that does not use any fossil fuels or any power besides a battery?” the young scientist questioned. “It’s a challenge.”

The reason McCray wanted to do this particular project is because he wants to work toward creating aircraft that have a smaller carbon footprint. “It’ll help limit gas emissions and help save the environment,” he said. “A lot of gas emissions are caused by jets.” This project is going to be part of a much larger project on aircrafts he is planning to do next year for the science fair.

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Categories: Education

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah