Five universities were chosen by NASA to provide students with the opportunity to design research experiments to be conducted aboard the International Space Station. The selections are part of the agency’s established program to encourage competitive research, or EPSCOR.
Each of the selected universities will receive approximately $100,000 through NASA EPSCoR. These universities are:
University of Delaware, Newark, University of Idaho, Moscow, Montana State University, Bozeman, University of Nebraska, Omahasico, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
NASA EPSCoR, located at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, provides research opportunities for jurisdictions that do not have the ability to participate equally in aerospace-related research activities. Its support is currently directed toward 25 states and three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
“Each of these projects has the potential to contribute to significant innovations in human spaceflight to the International Space Station and beyond,” said Jeppy Compton, NASA EPCOR project manager. “We are very impressed with the ideas brought by these investigation concepts and look forward to seeing how these technologies perform.”
The new awards will allow students to gain practical experience in designing space-bound payloads and sending their experiments or technology demonstrations in microgravity environments.
“Getting something to the space station isn’t trivial in many ways,” said Alexandre Martin, a former laureate and professor at the University of Kentucky. “You need to do a lot of testing, and there’s a lot of manpower involved. The NASA EPSCoR program gives students experiences they wouldn’t normally have.”
The NASA EPSC Core-funded probe supports the agency’s deep space exploration efforts and could, ultimately, help develop a long-term presence on the Moon in preparation for missions to Mars.
Through the Artemis program, NASA is preparing to send the first woman and the first person of color to the moon. The Artemis mission will require explorers to be self-sufficient when they are away from Earth for long periods of time. The University of Idaho probe will use the space station to study “non-thin-film polymer coatings” that can prevent biofilms from forming on water stored in space — a key preventive measure for long-duration missions.
A technology demonstration from the University of Nebraska will advance robotic surgery. After years of support and sponsorship from NASA, the university developed a miniature surgical robot and robotic endoscope camera, intended to enable an “operating room in a shoebox.” While aboard the station, the robot is ready to demonstrate its ability to cut fake tissue. The project will determine the amount of force needed to perform an operation, as well as whether microgravity affects accuracy. If successful, this miniature surgical robot could allow doctors to perform small surgeries remotely in space.
In addition to supporting NASA’s deep space exploration efforts, investigations funded through EPSCor contribute to the agency’s low-Earth orbit initiatives, including its Commercial Crew Program. New Mexico State University’s technology demonstration focused on a structural health monitoring system that could be a part of the “black box” recorder on new launch vehicles, used in real time during phases including pre-flight, in-flight and post can be done. – flight. Provides time data. The system could also play an important role in re-certifying launch vehicles for future flights.
EPSCoR aims to build sustainable research infrastructure in traditionally under-funded jurisdictions by establishing partnerships between NASA’s research missions, academic institutions, and industry. This program allows NASA to fund investigations critical to its mission while giving external institutions direct access to space.