NASA’s Spacecraft Problem Solved By University Of Colorado UndergraduatesBy Amanda Foster, UniversityHerald Reporter
For years, NASA has been testing out new technologies, techniques and ideas to create the perfect spacecraft design to move cargo from Earth's orbit to the moon and Mars. It takes years of planning and building. Which is why NASA started the BIG Idea Challenge.
Now, the University of Colorado undergraduates (CU Boulder) are finalists for this week's presentation. Their new design shows a promising spacecraft design. These CU Boulder juniors are Olivia Zanoni, Gerardo Pulido, Gabriel Walker and Justin Norman. And they call their design "Odysseus."
They are on their way to NASA's Langley Research Center to present their new in-orbit assembly design, as reported by the University of Colorado Boulder. NASA already foresees problems in future manned missions to Mars. Which is why the challenge this year is focused on a solar-electric propulsion spacecraft. This craft will be delivering cargo supplies to the moon and Mars.
Back in November, these Colorado undergraduates submitted their design and they are now finalists in the challenge. Justin Norman and his team are part of the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, except for Zanoni who is part of the Engineering Physics program. These students have been busy designing a spacecraft that can do all necessary activities in one day. They have considered NASA's original mission requirements and inserted their ideas that are considered to be game-changing solutions. Behind them is faculty adviser Brian Sanders.
Every year, NASA's BIG Idea challenge aims to get undergraduate and graduate teams moving in the different fields applicable to human space exploration. According to NASA, teams who are presenting at the BIG Idea Forum are going to receive monetary awards. The top team will be awarded with internship offers at NASA.
These University of Colorado undergrads are confident that NASA is going to choose their design proposal and hopes that they will let them work on the building and planning this year.
Watch a Boulder clip below where NASA Astronaut Steve Swanson had a live Skype with University of Colorado Students: