Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sarcasmo Returns

Despite being weighed down with studying and final exams at Galveston College, Devin took time to come visit all his old friends on the ward. It's amazing to think that most of the 2008 group of subjects are still keeping in touch via email, cell phone and Facebook! We were quite the lively social bunch.

PillownautsPillownaut & Sarcasmo

He recently attended the Community College Aerospace Scholars (CAS), an exciting program at Johnson Space Center for design experiments. MER, or the Mars Exploration Rover project (launched Spirit & Opportunity in 2003) is seeking aerospace contractors to develop the next generation of Mars Rovers. They are encouraging mentored groups to explore aerospace careers, using the MARSUV as a field trial model.

Each group creates a fictional aerospace company, electing a CEO, design and budget managers, scientists, operations personnel, and so on. The Mars Autonomous Roving Survey Utility Vehicle (MARSUV) will be NASA's advanced technology rover that supports robotic missions on Mars. Each team builds a miniature model, then the teams test them for functionality.

Since future missions to Mars will collect samples from the Martian surface and return them to Earth, the designs had to account for surface rock and soil collection, spectrometer capabilities, "hazard avoidance" software, and surface rendezvous with both natural and man-made objects. The team photos are at the JSC Aerospace Scholars site.

Devin (3rd from right) on the CAS "Blue Team"

Pretty fancy stuff! Our schedule today will be a bit less demanding. Maybe just some ceiling tile painting. Every study subject paints a tile before they leave, but we didn't get the opportunity to do so before Hurricane Ike rushed us out of here. We also have new supplies for general arts & crafts... so perhaps that's how we'll keep busy while we watch Atlantis attempt to capture the Hubble today.