UNL team chosen to work with NASA
Released on 12/09/2011, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering students are floating on news from NASA that their team was selected for the space agency's 2012 Microgravity University.
This is the fifth consecutive year Nebraska Engineering will send students to conduct experiments for NASA on reduced gravity missions.â�¨The NASA program engages selected college and university teams in scientific research that helps the U.S. space program refine its efforts. Projects are prepared by students with mentoring from NASA and industry representatives, and then conducted during "Flight Week" aboard a series of parabolic flights in specially-equipped NASA aircraft that reach 35,000 feet above Earth, April 20-27 from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
UNL team co-leader Matthew Manske said 20 UNL engineering students gathered this fall to submit proposals for several project opportunities listed by NASA. In late November, the group learned that for 2012, UNL was chosen to work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and its partner, Cbana Labs, to develop environmental monitoring sensors for the International Space Station.
Manske said Cbana Labs has developed a series of volatile organic compound detectors based on micro-electromechanical systems, or MEMS, technology. One of Cbana's sensors is a MEMS-based gas chromatograph with a micro flame ionization detector. He said UNL’s role is to build a lunchbox-sized version of the flame ionization detector device, which will help detect potentially harmful gases in the crew cabin of the International Space Station.
According to the NASA Microgravity University website's project listings, testing the performance of an flame ionization detector device in microgravity, compared with the lab, will give valuable insight on whether the current design is suitable for space flight or if redesign is needed. This work will help NASA achieve light, compact and robust instruments for monitoring the crew cabin environment as humans continue to travel beyond Earth orbit.
Early 2012 will be busy for the UNL microgravity team, but Manske said, "We have a good group of students and a fun project ahead of us. We’re all pretty excited to begin."
Following is a listing by hometown of microgravity team members, including their majors. The roles of those who will travel to Houston are also indicated.
Atkinson: Eric Fritz, junior, mechanical engineering, designated to fly with experiments.
Blair: Caleb Berggren, sophomore, mechanical engineering; Patricia Foley, junior, mechanical engineering; Ryan van Waes, senior, mechanical engineering, team leader, designated to fly with experiments.
Bloomfield: Joan Yule, senior, mechanical engineering, designated to fly with experiments.
Columbus: Shawn Schumacher, sophomore, mechanical engineering.
Elkhorn: Bethany Drain, junior, mechanical engineering, alternate to fly with experiments.
Lawrence: Emily Hubl, sopohomore, biological systems engineering.
Lincoln: Richard (Dylan) Horrocks, junior, biological systems engineering; Jeremy Olson, freshman, mechanical engineering.
Omaha: Nicholas Goeser, sophomore, mechanical engineering; Patrick Graeve, senior, mechanical engineering, ground crew; Matthew Hames, freshman, chemical and biomolecular engineering; Evan Hilgemann, Jacob Reher, senior, mechanical engineering, ground crew; mechanical engineering, ground crew.
Sidney: Eric Gutierrez, junior, mechanical engineering.
Birmingham, Ala.: Parise Reynolds, freshman, mechanical engineering.
Fort Worth, Texas: Matthew Manske, senior, mechanical engineering, team leader, designated to fly with experiments.
Las Vegas, Nev.: Jacob Lewis, senior, mechanical engineering.
Rapid City, S.D.: Colton Mahoney, sophomore, mechanical engineering.
Contact: Carole Wilbeck, Communications Specialist, Engineering, 402-472-0451
News Release Contacts:
- Carl A Nelson, Professor, Mechanical & Materials Engineering
phone: 402 472 4128
Associated Media Files:
- The UNL microgravity team includes (clockwise from top left): Jeremy Olson, Caleb Berggren, Shawn Schumacher, Dylan Horrocks, Matthew Manske, Ryan van Waes, Patrick Graeve, Eric Gutierrez, Team Adviser Carl Nelson (associate professor, mechanical and materials engineering), Joan Yule, Patricia Foley, Parise Reynolds, Bethany Drain, Evan Hilgemann, Nicholas Goeser and Jacob Reher. Team members not pictured are: Eric Fritz, Matthew Hames, Emily Hubl, Jake Lewis, and Colton Mahoney.