Current Project

NASA Micro-G NEXT Challenge

The Challenge:

Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) challenges undergraduate students to design build, and test a tool or device that addresses an authentic, current space exploration challenge. The overall experience includes hands-on engineering design, test operations, and public outreach. Test operations are conducted in the simulated microgravity environment of the NASA Johnson Space Center Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL). Teams will propose design and prototyping of a tool or simulant identified by NASA engineers as necessary in space exploration missions. Professional NBL divers will test the tools and students will direct the divers from the Test Conductor Room of the NBL facility.

Challenge #2: The International Space Station (ISS) has many handrails (Reference Figure 1) mounted on its exterior to enable astronauts to get around during Extravehicular Activities (EVA), or spacewalks. These handrails can develop sharp edges due to impacts by Micrometeoroids and Orbital Debris (MMOD). The sharp edges can be dangerous since they have the ability to cut parts of the spacesuit, in particular the gloves. This challenge is multifaceted. First, the astronauts need to be able to detect a sharp edge, which can be difficult when wearing a pressured spacesuit. Then, once located, the astronauts need to remove or cover the sharp edge without creating an additional hazard

Objective: Design a method for both detecting sharp edges AND removing/or permanently covering sharp edges from an EVA handrail

Project Leaders:

Detection Team: Bailey Blackwell

Covering/Removal: Kaylee Champion

Chief Engineer: Tahiya Khan