NASA is one of the top research entities in the world, producing technologies that range from electronics and new materials, to state-of-the-art robotics and sensors. Readers of NASA Tech Briefs get a firsthand look at these new technologies every month. But how many of you have had the chance to go behind the scenes at NASA and talk face-to-face with the engineers who are inventing these cutting-edge breakthroughs every day, or tour a NASA facility?

As Editorial Director of NASA Tech Briefs, I’ve had the chance to tour a number of the NASA centers and meet many NASA engineers. And that experience is always exciting. You won’t find design engineers who are more passionate about what they do, or enjoy where they work, more than the men and women of NASA. Think about it – where else can you, as an engineer, drive a rover on the surface of Mars, or help develop the spacecraft that will take humans there?

Last year, the Speed2Design  Sweepstakes  -- sponsored by Littelfuse , a Chicago-based producer of electronic circuit protection devices -- took lucky winners behind the scenes for an IndyCar weekend race experience. Winners participated in face-to-face TechTalks with IndyCar engineers responsible for building and maintaining racing’s premier performance machines.

This year, they are taking engineers behind the scenes for another truly unique experience: Exploration & Discovery. Beginning today, you can visit the Speed2Design  Web site and enter to win a trip to one of two NASA facilities: NASA Ames Research Center in California in August, and Johnson Space Center in Houston, home of Mission Control, in October.

The contest provides a unique, technology-packed experience specifically for the design engineering community. During the TechTalks, winners will spend time in a peer-to-peer discussion with NASA engineers currently working on technological breakthroughs in small spacecraft, intelligent robotics, bioengineering, and the NASA Space Portal.

Ten winners selected at random will travel to NASA Ames, and ten will travel to NASA Johnson. Once there, you’ll attend TechTalks featuring presentations by NASA engineers, go on a tour of the facility, and have lunch and dinner with the group the day of the event. Also included are hotel accommodations, transportation between the hotel and NASA, and a $500 gift card to pay for other travel expenses.

The drawing for the event at NASA Ames is July 18, so if you ever wished you could visit NASA and talk with the engineers who are developing tomorrow’s next great technologies today, visit  and enter.