Press Release

NASA Glenn Announces 2018 Design Challenge Winners

By SpaceRef Editor
May 3, 2018
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NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland announced the winners of the 2018 University Student Design Challenge on Friday, April 27.

In this year’s challenge, there were two categories:one for aeronautics and one for space. The aeronautics project challenged participants to design a suburban city with infrastructure and accommodations for flying cars and service vehicles. The space-related project challenged student teams to design a space-focused bio-inspired system to extract resources from the moon or Mars for human habitation in the solar system.

In the aeronautics challenge, Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, won first place for their design, “Purdue’s Flying Car and Futuristic City Design.” North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, won second place for “NC A&T’s Model K.”

“Within NASA, we face challenges each and every day regarding our various missions, be it building a new supersonic experimental aircraft or returning to the moon,” said Dr. Ruben Del Rosario, director of Aeronautics at Glenn. “To address those challenges, we are always looking for new, creative ways to solve problems and move forward. This challenge is the perfect platform to engage undergraduates and give them the opportunity to share their ideas and develop team building skills.”

In the space-related challenge, The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, won first place for “Development of Autonomous Electrostatic Precipitation Regolith Collection System for Mars Exploration.”  Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, won second place for “Bio-Inspired In-Situ Water Extraction on Mars.”

“Extracting resources from the moon or Mars will give Americans the ability to “live off the land” in deep space,” said Joel Kearns, deputy director for Space Flight Systems at Glenn. “Americans are pioneers, and this challenge inspires students, exercises their skills and adds to NASA’s ideas on how to make sure we can live and work in space in the long term.” 

In its second year, the University Student Design Challenge is part of Glenn’s search for top-talented undergraduate students with game-changing ideas as we advance NASA’s mission to deep space destinations, including Mars, and help make air travel faster, cleaner, safer and more efficient on Earth.

Teams were judged on their creativity and ingenuity, and the feasibility and practicality of their approach. Other factors considered in judging included autonomous operation, power and propulsion, safety, noise reduction and traffic management. The top four design challenge teams will visit Glenn’s Cleveland campus in the future to tour its testing facilities. They will also present the findings of their projects to leadership and technical experts at the center.

SpaceRef staff editor.