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NASA Grants to Fund Student Research Projects in Space

Students at five universities across the United States will have the opportunity to design research experiments that will be conducted on the International Space Station, thanks to a $500,000 grant program out of NASA's Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The University of Delaware, University of Idaho, Montana State University, University of Nebraska Omaha and New Mexico State University will each receive approximately $100,000 to provide students with hands-on experience creating experiments or technology demonstrations for a microgravity environment and sending their research materials to space.  

"Getting something on the space station is not trivial in multiple ways," noted Alexandre Martin, a professor at the University of Kentucky and previous awardee, in a statement. "There are a ton of tests you need to do, and there's a lot of manpower involved. The NASA EPSCoR program exposes students to experiences they wouldn't normally have."

Grantees proposed research projects that will support an array of NASA missions, from low-Earth orbit initiatives to deep space exploration. For example:

  • The University of Idaho will study "nonfouling thin film polymer coatings" for preserving water stored in space on long-duration missions;
  • The University of Nebraska will use the space station to test a miniature surgical robot and the effects of microgravity on the force and precision needed to perform an operation; and
  • New Mexico State University will test a structural health monitoring system for space launch vehicles.

"Each of these projects has the potential to contribute to critical innovations in human spaceflight on the International Space Station and beyond," said NASA EPSCoR Project Manager Jeppie Compton. "We're very impressed with the ideas put forward in these investigation concepts and look forward to seeing how these technologies perform."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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