Setting course for test week

The team has been hard at work designing our tool for the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory and working on our K-12 outreach. A lot of progress has been made in the last few weeks and there is still a lot to be done before we head to Houston.

After several design meetings the team decided on a few changes to the device, and now we’re preparing to fabricate our prototype. Some of the changes include additions for safety as well as changes to help prevent contamination of samples collected of an asteroid.

The team recently attended a webinar with NASA personnel at the NBL and got a preview of what was to come in Houston. This included a first look at the mockup the sample collector would be tested on. Since the team’s float sample grabber would be used to collect samples during NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission, the mockup is a full-scale spacecraft and the sample is meant to simulate a real-life asteroid.

The team along with our faculty advisers attend a NASA webinar to learn about NBL safety and procedures.
The team along with our faculty advisers attend a NASA webinar to learn about NBL safety and procedures.
Jacob Davlin put together a cool prototype of our modified trigger safety.
Jacob Davlin put together a cool prototype of our modified trigger safety.

While most of the team members are already mechanical engineering majors and familiar with using shop machinery to fabricate components, the whole team has been working on getting certification in the Boise State University machine shop. This includes the team’s newest members Chris Ruby, Marina Autina and Zachary Chastaine.

Marina Autina shows off a work in progress at the shop.
Marina Autina shows off a work in progress at the shop.
The team attends a training session at the Boise State University machine shop.
The team attends a training session at the Boise State University machine shop.

Chris is an electrical engineering major and Marina and Zach are both physics majors. The three newcomers have been working hard to get up to speed for test week and getting some extra boots in the classroom for the team’s K-12 outreach.

Recently the team visited North Star Charter School in Eagle to guide middle school students through an engineering project of their own. Students were challenged to design a tool very similar to the Microgravity Team’s own tool. The team will be returning to North Star in just a few days to help the students test their tools.

Students at North Star Charter test their own sample collection tools.
Students at North Star Charter test their own sample collection tools.

The Microgravity Team will also be working with kids during E-Day on April 11 to work with 7 to 10th graders and teach them a little bit about engineering.

The next step for the team will be completing key technical documents and our first prototype of the ZOIDBERG device. We’ll be buckled down and have our coffee pot running for the next few weeks. Check back later for more updates!

 

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