Two teams from BSU were selected to participate in NASA's Microgravity SEED program this year (yeah!); one a continuation of last year's project with our same principle investigator, Pedro Curiel, and the other a new project with former BSU team member, Dan Isla. Split into two teams we nicknamed the Traction Team and Impedance Team, you can expect to see posts from them individually later.
The Traction Team's project is with Pedro Curiel, officially named "Dynamic Wheel Traction in Lunar Gravity", and continues work done from last year with static lunar wheel traction. The experiment plans to investigate the relationship between wheel rotational velocity and effective traction, and how it varies between Earth and lunar G. I'll leave more about the details of the experiment for later posts.
The Impedance team's project, is with Dan Isla (now working for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA), and is officially named "Gravitational Effects on Water in Regoliths". The new project is aimed at using electrical impedance measurements of soil to determine its composition of water and other compounds, specifically for missions to planets like the Moon and Mars. Again, for brevity, I'll leave it to the team to explain more about their science later.
Having been notified that we had been selected for these projects at in mid-December of 2009, both teams have been hard at work, first defining the scope of their projects and designing experiments to answer the science questions, then moving into the engineering design to make each happen. By now, both teams are well underway into the fabrication of their actual experimental apparatuses, but there's still a lot of work to be done with flight week only 2 weeks away! The experiments ship out to Houston, TX one week from today, and the flight teams will be following them a week later.
A lot of excitement and things to do, and we'd love to have you join in with us here, as we journey to Johnson Space Center for a second time, to ride on the infamous "Weightless Wonder", but we all know it's nickname "Vomit Comet"! ;) Let's hope the BSU team's sickness-resistant reputation stays true!