Missouri S&T among winners in NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge

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On February 2, 2021

Moon dust

A dusty lunar landscape, as envisioned by NASA’s Advanced Concepts Laboratory. Image courtesy of NASA

The success of NASA’s future plans to explore and inhabit the moon may depend in part on research by university students, including a team of seven from Missouri S&T who have won a grant from the space agency to develop a way to remove lunar dust.

Through the 2021 competitive Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge and the Space Grant project, NASA selected seven university teams to develop ways to deal with moon dust.

Later this month, the S&T team will learn how much funding NASA will provide to complete the proposed research. Each team could receive up to $180,000.

In addition to Missouri S&T, the agency selected teams at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, California Institute of Technology, the Colorado School of Mines, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Central Florida, and Washington State University.

Members of the Missouri S&T team are:

  • Yezad Anklesaria of Mumbai, India, a Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering and the team’s actuators lead
  • Zach Boeringa of Shorewood, Illinois, a junior in aerospace engineering and the design and manufacturing lead
  • Andrew Koenig of Rolla, a junior in mechanical engineering and the team’s video editor and power lead
  • Zoe Reed of St. Louis, a senior in ceramic engineering and the public relations lead
  • Jeremiah Rittenhouse of Wheaton, Missouri, team lead and Ph.D. student in aerospace engineering
  • Caitlin Thomasson of Burleson, Texas, a junior in ceramic engineering and materials lead
  • Lauren Tomanek of Springfield, Missouri, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering and the team’s finite element analysis lead.

The team’s faculty advisors are Dr. Daniel Stutts, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Dr. Fatih Dogan, professor of ceramic engineering; Dr. Edward Kinzel, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Notre Dame; and Dr. Leslie Gertsch, associate professor of geosciences and geological and petroleum engineering.

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On February 2, 2021. Posted in Accomplishments