MSGC Award Recipients

The tables below show all the MSGC award recipients for 2022-2023.

Faculty Led Fellowships for Undergraduates

Alexopoulos, ChristopherOakland UniversityRapid and accurate small molecules detector for the health monitoring in the space travelSpace travel presents many challenges to Point of Care testing (POCT), however, developing technology that is capable of POCT is pivotal for long term space travel. This is because there is limited accessibility to on-board personal diagnostic tools to measure physiological well-being while in space. Often samples must be analyzed on Earth and this introduces uncertainty while on space travel itself. We propose a wearable electrochemical sensor that is capable of POCT to provide real time data on the physiological condition of astronauts through small molecule detection. Our design will use an anchor site system to absorb the small molecules into a conductive polymer layer that creates a selective interface. Quantification of small molecules will measured through electrochemical impedance to determine a calibration curve. Advancements in POCT technology will benefit long term space travel because real time data will allow for accurate decision making and monitoring of astronaut health.
Balk, GabrielHope Collegeβ-decay intensity function of 54,52 CoThe p process is responsible for the formation of proton rich nuclei in the universe. Because the nuclei are short lived, the specific properties of the reaction and decay paths are difficult to measure. This work deals with the decays of two nuclei, 52,54Co. β+ decays for each isotope were recorded with the Summing NaI(Tl) detector at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. A preliminary β+ decay intensity function, Iβ+ was derived with Total Absorption Spectroscopy. Energy spectra for decays to levels in the child nucleus were modeled with GEANT4 based on information from the National Nuclear Data Center. The measured spectra, when fit with the simulated spectra, give the probability that a particular child level is populated during decay. Refined results when compared to theory will provide insight and help to improve the human understanding of the formation of p-process elements.
Callebs, JacobWayne State UniversityA Novel Approach to Echo Mapping of Supermassive Black HolesActive Galactic Nuclei are some of the most luminous objects in the universe, and are powered by the infall of matter onto a supermassive black hole at their centers. The energy emitted from gas close to the black hole can have a big impact on the galaxy in which it resides. Understanding how this process works is therefore important. However, the angular size on the sky of the region around the supermassive black hole is far too small to directly image (except for a couple of exceptionally rare cases). In this project we will us a novel approach to a technique called echo mapping in order to better understand the geometry and distribution of gas surrounding supermassive black holes. This project will make use of data from NASA telescopes, and so is directly related to NASA strategic priorities.
Clem, DylanHope CollegeExperimental validation of real-time, weighted control algorithmIn this study, the experimental validation of a streamlined, embeddable control algorithm is proposed in an attempt to validate it anticipated benefits. In particular, the control algorithm seeks to alleviate many of the challenges currently faced when using wireless sensing units for the purposes of control. These challenges include a higher probability of data loss due to wireless communication and potential computational inundation at the low-power computing node when embedding complex control algorithms or state estimators. This study employs front-end signal processing at the sensing node to alleviate computations at the control node and results in a simplistic sum of weighted inputs to determine a control force. This research will focus on validating this control law on a small-scale, four-story structure subject to seismic base excitation. A comparative baseline method that uses traditional control techniques will also be considered.
DeWitt, SkylarHope CollegeOlfactory Dysfunction Following Oxygen Deprivation in ZebrafishThis research project will study the effects of hypoxia on olfactory-mediated behavior in zebrafish. Hypoxia, a lack of adequate oxygen, is experienced by astronauts during space travel since they are subjected to low levels of oxygen. This study will contribute to the knowledge of the effects of hypoxia in the CNS. In particular, we will gain an understanding of olfactory function and behavior following instances of oxygen depletion. We hypothesize that hypoxia will produce stress in the CNS, which will impair olfactory function and thus the ability to recognize and respond to relevant odorant stimuli. This project responds to objective 1.1 of NASA’s strategic interests as it provides a scientific background on olfactory-mediated behavior that could be relevant for human health during space travel. Further comprehension of the role of hypoxia in zebrafish can be helpful towards understanding the relationship between the level of atmospheric O2 and olfactory function.
Gagnier, BridgetHope CollegeEstimating Low Back Loading using Inertial Measurement UnitsPreventing low back pain and injury in the workplace is critical. Astronauts and caregivers are both susceptible to low back pain while performing their tasks. It is possible to use wearable sensors and machine learning to estimate low back loads. Estimating low back loads would be beneficial in evaluating spinal health. Using wearables allows for data collection in more realistic environments. Machine learning algorithms have been used for assessing data from wearables. This study will explore the development and validation of a machine learning algorithm that predicts low back loading of different patient-handling tasks.
Grimes, SarahHope CollegeEffects of Urbanization on House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) SongsThe recent surge in urbanization has increased sensory pollution, including anthropogenic noise. This study investigates how anthropogenic disturbances alter bird communication. Specifically, we will examine differences in active space, or the maximum distance a receiver can detect a signal, across an urbanization gradient. This study will utilize house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) songs, as both species inhabit urban areas and use vocal communication . To mimic bird communication, songs were played back with a speaker (i.e., mimicking the singing bird) at urban, rural, and suburban locations, and recorded at up to 100 meters to mimic the listening conspecific. We expect bird song in rural areas to have a larger active space compared to urban environments due to decreased noise pollution. The results of this study will be essential in understanding how noise pollution may inhibit birds ability to communicate to potential mates or kin.
Harville, BrendanMichigan Technological UniversitySeismic Amplitude based Lahar Tracking for Real-Time Hazard AssessmentLahars are strong debris flows or mudflows caused by volcanic activity and also non-volcanic activity
in the form of heavy rainfall. They can cause extensive damage to the surrounding environment
as well as local communities and infrastructure. The goal of this project is to create a fully
automated lahar tracking tool for hazard risk mitigation. Lahars transmit a long-lasting, high
frequency tremor signal that is observable in waveform data from seismic stations (Kumagai et
al. 2009). This research project plans to use an established network of seismic stations on the
slopes of Volcán de Fuego, the resulting tremor signals, and the modified technique presented by
Kumagai et al. (2009) to track the origins of individual lahars in real-time.
Jankowski, LindsayHope CollegeHow iron oxide nanoparticles impact the auditory physiology and antipredator response of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus)Increased urbanization poses problems for wildlife, including the introduction of air pollutants. A primary component of air pollution is nanoparticle-sized particulate matter (PM less than 2.5 microns). These microscopic particles can bypass the lung’s blood-gas barrier and enter circulation. In model species, nanoparticles have been found to detrimentally affect (1) auditory physiology and (2) antipredator responses; however, no studies have linked auditory deficits with behavioral deficits. This project will investigate the impact of iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) on the auditory physiology and antipredator behavior in a common songbird, the house sparrow (Passer domesticus). Songbirds are ideal to study since they often live near human activity and are exposed to air pollution; additionally, they can serve as a model for human hearing. We expect birds exposed to IONPs to display decreased auditory sensitivity and anti-predator response. This study might implicate songbirds should be used in polluted areas for air quality monitoring.
Jansen, EthanHope CollegeExperimental Characterization of Constrained Arches for Active Structure ApplicationsLiquid crystal polymer networks (LCPNs) are a type of active material that can exhibit significant mechanical deformation in response to a stimulus, such as light or heat. An area that needs further investigation is the mechanical design and implementation that takes advantage of these materials’ photomechanical properties. In a previous study conducted by the Smith group at Hope College, the usefulness of laterally constrained photomechanical arches as active structures was discussed. However, much of the mechanics knowledge needed for device design using constrained arches is still lacking. Therefore, the goal of this study is to develop a testbed to experimentally investigate the behavior of laterally constrained arches under point loads and use those results to validate finite element models. It is expected that this work will inform the advancement of aerospace relevant structures and technologies, such as compliant mechanism-based machinery, adaptive flight surfaces, energy harvesting, and sensors and actuators.
Kaipainen, NicholasHope CollegeQuantifying the Utility of a Truncated Eigenmode Expansion in the Collisionless Plasma Tearing InstabilityThe effects of magnetic reconnection can be described and calculated through complicated nonlinear mathematical problems that typically require a lot of computational resources to solve. Simplifying these equations through an eigenmode expansion and determining which eigenmodes have the highest amplitudes would lighten the computational load when calculating the effects of magnetic reconnection. These eigenmodes are linear solutions that add together to create an accurate approximation of the actual effects observed. I will be computationally determining the eigenmode amplitudes in the eigenmode expansion and using the results to simplify the nonlinear, two-dimensional, two-fluid, collisionless magnetic reconnection equations down to a linear eigenmode expansion containing only the eigenmodes with the highest amplitudes.
Mangas, LukeEastern Michigan UniversityComputational Investigation of a Rhodium Catalyzed Amidation ReactionTwo recent studies have investigated the rhodium-catalyzed C-H amidation of arenes using an N-methoxyamide as the amidating agent. Amidation reactions are useful in the synthesis of a wide variety of natural products, pharmaceutical compounds, and modern materials. This reaction results in ortho-amidated aromatic rings with wide functional group tolerance, but its applicability is limited because it requires high reaction temperatures. The investigators have conducted a few mechanistic experiments and have proposed a possible catalytic cycle based on the results, but it is still unknown which step is rate determining. In addition, the intermediate structures have not been characterized. We propose to model the reaction mechanisms using electronic structure methods, including identification of all intermediates and activation energies of all steps. The results will lead to a better understanding of the energetics of the reaction and may suggest ways to improve reaction conditions.
McGuire, HalleHope CollegeMultipurposed Dry Lubricant Surface Coatings from Strain-Controlled Composite Nanomaterial SystemsTwo-dimensional (2D) materials are at the forefront of dry lubrication research due to surface compatibility and potential to function as multipurposed coatings specialized for emerging technologies, including space-based lubrication. Composite 2D material-nanoparticle systems offer further control over interfacial sliding with antiwear coatings. Additionally, 2D materials offer optoelectronic functionality with tunable bandgaps based on strain. With sliding, 2D materials can wrap around the nanoparticles (nanoscrolling). This project will focus on exploiting this mechanism to simultaneously control the lubrication and optoelectronic properties of a composite system. Phosphorene (a 2D material) and zirconium dioxide nanoparticles of varying sizes will be studied in high-stress sliding tests in an atomic force microscope (AFM). The AFM studies will monitor behavior during sliding, and be complimented with post-sliding tests confocal Raman analysis to assess degree of strain in phosphorene as a function of nanoparticle size. This will establish workable parameters for designing tailored multipurposed surface coatings.
Miller, GraceGrand Valley State UniversityCan increasing the density of the external medium mimic microgravity?Plant growth responses, especially to gravity and light (gravitropism and phototropism) are critical to the successful growth of plants for food, fiber and oxygen on the Earth, during spaceflight and on any future colony on the Moon or Mars. Whereas the mechanism of light sensing for phototropism is well understood, the mechanism of plant gravity sensing is not. We propose experiments to differentiate between the two leading models of plant gravity sensing as well as experiments to determine whether increasing the density of the external medium with an impermeant molecule (Optiprep) can mimic the effects of microgravity. Our two specific aims address three main objectives of NASA’s Space Biology program: 1) Discover how biological systems respond to the space environment; 2) Identify the fundamental mechanisms and develop physiological models for biological systems in space; 3) Promote open science through the GeneLab Data System and Life Science Data Archive.
Okros, GraceGrand Valley State UniversityForming Neurons with Fatty Acids: Can the Nutritional Supplement DHA Promote Neurogenesis in the Embryo?Neural stem cells (NSCs) of the developing neural tube give rise to the central nervous system. Various factors, including factors in our diets, regulate neuron birth. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid in the brain that has been shown to play a role in neuron birth. It has not clear how DHA affects embryonic NSCs in vivo. This study will examine DHA’s affect on neuron birth in vivo to better understand the impact of this dietary factor for strategizing sustainment of human activities. By administering DHA directly into the neural tube of in vivo chick embryos, the effects on embryonic NSCs compared to a control can be examined, including changes in neuron number, cell proliferation, and cell cycle arrest. Investigating the influence of DHA on embryonic brain development is essential to better inform nutritional intake during long term space travel and address 3 NASA Strategic Goals.
Ruiz Fachin, JhosephGrand Valley State UniversityLocation by Voronoi DiagramsFundamentally, the location of a new facility or set of facilities is often desired to be in an optimal location. However, the optimality of a location can be based on factors specific to the type of facility being introduced. While applicable to the location of a new gas station, post-office, or even cellular tower, our goal is to optimize the location of a communicating robot responsible for a set area nearest to itself. Rather than just optimizing to minimize the distances to the nearest robot, we plan to employ evolutionary multi-objective optimization to compute a set of tradeoffs between a limited communication range and the minimal distance to the nearest robot. New algorithms and results for single objectives focused on distance for a single robot and a set of robots as well as the multi-objective tradeoffs for a single robot and a set of robots will advance Earth-Space operations.
Thomas, EvanHope CollegeEffects of hypoxia in recovery of the lesioned olfactory system of zebrafishZebrafish is an important model to study the effects of brain injury and disease, including hypoxic conditions. This is due to zebrafishes' remarkable ability to repair CNS lesions. This research project proposes to assess the repair mechanisms in the zebrafish brain following hypoxic, or low O2 conditions. In particular, we will focus on studying the olfactory system, which responds to environmental odors, and presents a very fast recovery and regeneration rate following injury. We hypothesize that hypoxic conditions will be detrimental to the brain and thus will hinder its ability to repair following lesions. This research project would be able to contribute knowledge of hypoxic effects within the brain. Using zebrafish to model the detrimental effects of hypoxia in the brain provides advantages to study conditions that cosmonauts undergo during long missions, directly aligning with NASA’s goal to expand research that allows crewmembers to endure longer missions throughout outer space.
Vance, WilliamHope CollegeDeveloping efficient algorithms to compute the exact QED resonant Compton scattering cross section in strong magnetic fieldsWe propose to develop efficient algorithms to compute the exact, QED Compton scattering cross section for use in Monte Carlo simulations of the emission from magnetar magnetospheres. Compton up-scattering has been the preferred mechanism proposed to account for the recent X-ray observations of magnetars that reveal the presence of high-energy tails in their energy spectra. The scattering of relativistic electrons/positrons can boost soft X-ray thermal photons to higher energies. Largest scattering occurs at resonances requiring the total energy, spin-dependent widths of the resonances. Over the past summer, we have developed an efficient algorithm to calculate these widths based on a method derived by Rice colleague, Matthew Baring (forthcoming). We anticipate developing a Compton scattering cross section code that will utilize multi-core processing via such methods as OpenMP, MPI, and Kokkos allowing the simulation to take advantage of all cores on a computer and all nodes on a cluster.
Williams, SierraMichigan Technological UniversityUnderstanding the Controls of Solute Transport by Streamflow Using Concentration-Discharge Relationship in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan As climate and land use changes continue to disrupt water budgets, water quality, and predictive power of hydrology within local and global ecosystems, there is rising importance to understand catchment dynamics and develop methods to effectively evaluate changes in these dynamics as
they occur. The concentration-discharge (C-Q) relationship provides a possible solution on how to examine the relation between dissolved solutes in stream water and stream discharge, as it either follows a strong power-law relationship or follows no relationship, which could be used as a precursor for understanding catchment hydrology. Through analyzing this relationship, hydrological and biogeochemical processes that control the solute transport by stream flow at catchment scales can be diagnosed, improving future stream quality and natural resource management.
Zimmer, GavinSaginaw Valley State UniversityFailures Detection for Electronic Interconnects by Eye Diagram UtilizationInterconnect failure can occur even in cutting-edge technologies. The proposed method is designed to explore the reliability of the interconnect based on eye diagram. The reliability issues are common in electronic packaging technologies such as 'Thru Silicon Via', ball grid array, flip chip, Quilt Packaging, etc. Identification of the failures is one key step when the fabrication process needs to proceed to the next step. The proposed study will focus on the performance of the interconnects at structural failures. The failures will be introduced in the interconnects in multifarious forms of cracks, and the performance will be evaluated by signal integrity. This method can act as an alternative method for measuring contact resistance or imaging the surface of the contact to explore reliability in the middle of processing the interconnect. The method can also enhance the computational study on interconnect failure detection.

Graduate Fellowships

NameAffiliateTitle Abstract
About Halloun, JihanWayne State UniversityHandling Cyberattacks in Advanced Control of CubeSatsSatellites’ data touch each aspect of our daily life, ranging from communication to observations helping scientists to learn about Earth and space. Cyberattacks on these satellites can put NASA’s mission and objectives at risk. To address this concern, we propose a reduced computation time algorithm to handle cyberattacks on sensors of a nanosatellite: CubeSat. In order to achieve this goal, a model predictive control - neural network controller will be designed and a detection methodology based on reachability analysis will be developed. The goal of this project is related to the ability of the proposed algorithm to detect and mitigate cyberattacks on the CubeSat’s sensors with low computational resources. This research will also study the impact of this controller on the stability of the system. Another goal is to elaborate a theory of cyberattacks on such control systems. Achieving these goals will lead to secure sensors with improved cybersecurity.
Barnes, JacksonMichigan State UniversityThe Role of Gravitational Collapse in Planetesimal FormationPlanetesimal growth barriers—radial drift, fragmentation, and bouncing—limit the pairwise growth of pebbles in the protoplanetary disk to cm-sizes, impeding planetesimal formation. Growth to 100-km planetesimal sizes may occur through the gravitational collapse of clouds of pebbles consolidated by interactions with nebular gas, as in the streaming instability (Youdin & Goodman 2005; Johansen et al. 2007). The abundance of Kuiper Belt binaries is evidence of this formation process, as excess angular momentum leftover from the streaming instability would prevent the coalescence of the pebble cloud into a single body (Nesvorný et al. 2010, 2020, 2021; Robinson et al. 2020). Using PKDGRAV (Stadel 2001; Richardson et al. 2000)—a gravitational N-body integrator—we assess how the initial phase-space distribution of pebbles within the cloud affects the formation of planetesimal systems. We focus on the orbital dynamics, multiplicity, and accretion efficiencies of the collapsed planetesimal systems as well as individual planetesimal morphology and spin states.
Benson, MikaylaMichigan State UniversityTopological Investigation of Multilevel Inverters for High-Power Density Electric Propulsion SystemThe research work will involve the investigation of new multilevel inverter (MLI) topologies to increase power density. The work will involve literature review of the current advancements in MLIs, creating new topologies to solve problems among the current MLIs, develop the analytical framework, and design and build a prototype for testing. Current research is being done for the novel "H-Type" inverter, which solves the problems related to the common mode voltage in MLIs with a middle point connection by eliminating the middle point, which leads to smaller required DC-link capacitances and will increase the power density. The steps in creating this inverter will be repeated to further MLI technology for the use in high-power electric propulsion system (e.g., heavy-duty trucks, off-road vehicles, urban air mobility, and electric aircraft) and extremely fast charging applications.
Chanakian, SevanMichigan State UniversityExperimental determination of electron/hole effective masses and carrier relaxation times in layered thermoelectric materialsThermoelectric devices are ones that convert heat to electricity and vice versa. NASA has relied on thermoelectric technology to power deep space exploration since the 1970s. However, the technology has not changed since its early beginnings, with heritage materials still being used on radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) powering new missions such as Mars 2020. Layered materials, including a class of mixed ionic and covalent bonded materials called Zintl phases are of great interest for the next generation of RTGs. Here we propose investigating the transport properties of these materials on a fundamental level to create selection criteria for identifying high electronic mobility materials which is crucial for high thermoelectric performance. We plan to do so via experimental determination of the electron and hole effective masses and carrier relaxation times by means of cyclotron resonance spectroscopy and Hall effect measurements.
Clugston, JadonWestern Michigan UniversityElectronic Implementation of a Chaotic System with Varying Fractional OrderFractional-order calculus generalizes “normal” integer-order derivatives and integrals to orders other than integers, such as fractional, real, or even complex orders. Fractional-order differential equations (FDEs) are differential equations composed of fractional-order derivatives and are a generalization of “normal” integer-order differential equations. FDEs are used to model systems in areas including biology, electronics, heat transfer, chemistry, signal processing, economics, and control systems. Fractional-order electronic integrators can be used to implement FDEs in analog circuitry. However, current circuit implementations seem to focus on fixed fractional orders and rely on non-standard valued resistors and capacitors. This project will develop an analog electronic implementation of a fractional-order integrator with a readily adjustable fractional order.
Essig, EspreeMichigan Technological UniversityAnalyzing the effects of heavy metals on vegetation hyperspectral reflectance properties in the Mid-Continent Rift, USA In a society focused on global sustainability, metals including copper, nickel and cobalt have become fundamental. Despite increasing demand, deposit discoveries have plummeted owing largely to dwindling ‘low-hanging fruit’ that are near-surface. With this challenge, exploration for buried and vegetation covered mineralization has become more relevant. However, short of direct geological observations, a proxy correlating mineralization with surficial patterns is necessary. The aim of this study is to analyze the effects of heavy metal enrichment on the hyperspectral reflectance properties of vegetation near polymetallic (Cu- Ni- Co- PGE) mineralization in the Duluth Complex, northeastern Minnesota. This natural laboratory is regionally representative of mineralization prospective across the Lake Superior region, where vegetation, wetlands and glacial till have impacted exploration efforts and success. This pilot- study investigation will resolve the feasibility of vegetation-based hyperspectral methods to detect poorly exposed deposits in the Lake Superior region.
Forest, ErikaGrand Valley State UniversityHow Old Is That Bat? Relationships Between Age and Relative Telomere Length in Pteropus Bats (Flying Foxes)Understanding a population’s age distribution is vital for answering important questions about that population’s current and future state. In bats, conservation is hindered by the lack of an inexpensive and reliable method to determine age in adults. Relative telomere length (rTL) decreases with age in most mammals and often can be used as an age-determination mechanism, but the relationship between age and rTL is highly variable among the bat taxa studied to date. My research investigates rTL for the first time in the family Pteropodidae. If these species have the predicted negative linear relationship between age and rTL, then rTL may be used as a method of age determination for these imperiled but environmentally important bats. This project fulfills Objective 2.2 from NASA’s 2014 Strategic Plan by providing a useful tool to help conserve ecologically beneficial bat species and to monitor bat population trends in a changing world.
Foster, EmilyOakland UniversityThe Theoretical Modeling, Simulation, and Control of Search and Rescue/Surveillance Drones for Volcanic EruptionsVolcanic eruptions have a large impact on the surrounding community and environment. Large amounts of ash and soot make it nearly impossible/dangerous for search-and-rescue teams to access the area near the active volcano. Therefore a unique UAV path-planning algorithm that uses real-time meteorological data to predict the trajectory of least flight risk is needed. In order to work in a volcanic environment the drone will need a control system that uses real-time meteorological data, predictions of airborne contaminant locations/concentrations, and local sensor data to inform reduced-risk flight trajectories. A three part process will be followed to create such an algorithm; modeling and simulation of a volcanic environment, model optimization through machine learning, and creation of uncertainty based controls and path-planning. The drone/research has the potential to make a difference in people's lives, and the environment by enabling safer, effective search-and-rescue efforts and deepening our understanding of this complex physical environment.
Hanson, AnthonyWestern Michigan UniversityA Passive Smart E-Textile Capable of ECG MonitoringCardiovascular diseases is the leading cause of death globally which poses a challenge to monitor this catastrophe as closely as possible. I plan to develop a fully wireless ECG sensing system that will be integrated into a shirt with a conductive thread without any discomfort while providing accurate ECG signal measurements. These sensing electrodes made of carbon composite on fabric platform do not require any skin preparation and gel as they are dry electrodes and attach to skin directly. Therefore, these electrodes can be reused multiple times for user’s convenience. The system will be operated using wireless transfer power through the user’s phone eliminating the frustration of finding a power outlet or having a died battery. The ECG signals will be wirelessly transmitted to a user’s smartphone and can be further analyzed or stored. With this data, we can expand our knowledge of the causes and effects of cardiovascular diseases.
Kaminski, CalebMichigan Technological UniversityInvestigation of Ground-Penetrating Radar Interactions with Basaltic Substrate for Future Lunar MissionsGround-penetrating radar (GPR) is a suitable tool for interplanetary rover exploration on the Moon. Anticipated future lunar missions sponsored by governmental and private organizations alike are making headway toward a breakthrough in planetary science. Understanding the geological and geophysical properties of the lunar regolith is paramount for the beginnings of permanent structures on the lunar surface. The Moon's surface is primarily composed of basalt, a common[AS1] volcanic rock found here on Earth. My proposed research will focus on the effect of basaltic grain size on dielectric permittivity [AS2] and electromagnetic (EM) signal velocity, using 500 MHz and 1000 MHz GPR antennas. My hypothesis is that changes in the grain size of basalt from silt to small boulders will affect the EM properties of the material. Gaining a further understanding of the interactions between basalt and EM waves will benefit future engineering and mining efforts that involve the lunar regolith.
Kur, JustinOakland UniversityA User-friendly Generic Performance Estimation Platform for Bridging System Performance Prediction and Resource ManagementAssuring predictability and reliability is critical for developing autonomous and automated systems, especially in real-time, safety-critical domains. When resources are constrained, there is an inherent tradeoff between prioritizing the latency of high priority tasks and maximizing the total utilization of the system. In these cases, artificial intelligence (AI) approaches can be introduced in order to optimize a system’s behavior under its expected workload. However, such AI-assistant approaches require detailed knowledge of theoretical aspects and/or practical experience in applying AI based technologies, which may limit their practicality. Motivated by this, our proposal aims at developing a user-friendly generic performance estimation platform, that allows users, without knowledge of AI-based theory, to predict and optimize the performance and job scheduling of a target system. The feasibility and practicality of the proposed platform will be demonstrated in both simulations and real system environments (up to 30 machines).
Langfield, KatherineMichigan Technological UniversityStructural Characteristics of the Keweenaw and Hancock Faults in the Midcontinent Rift System and Possible Relationship to the Grenville Mountain BeltSince the mapping of the Keweenaw Fault in the 1950s, significant advances in mapping technology and knowledge about fault systems have been made. This project will remap the hanging wall and footwall of the fault using advanced geospatial technology to reexamine the kinematics of the Keweenaw Fault in the Laurium and Hancock Quadrangles, Michigan.
LeMahieu, TylerMichigan Technological UniversityAssessing Flood Resilience in Constructed Streambeds: Flume Comparison of Design MethodologiesMany thousands of road-stream intersections exist in the US. Each has potential to inhibit aquatic organism passage (AOP) including fish migration in stream, and to catastrophically fail during large flood events. Specialized design methods can facilitate AOP and increase flood-resilience of road networks. A designed and constructed streambed is critical to these design methods, but the response of these streambeds to large repeat flood events is not well understood. Improved knowledge regarding maintenance needs of constructed streambeds, as well as regarding stability, migration, or reformation of design features would prove valuable to infrastructure managers. The proposed work will involve design of two stream crossing structures at each of two sites according to US Forest Service Stream Simulation and Federal Highways HEC-26 methods. Designs will be Froude-scaled and constructed in a laboratory flume, where performance and changes in constructed bed will be observed though a series of large, repeat flood events.
McClusky, BridieGrand Valley State UniversityMultiplex PCR Assay for the Detection of Mosquito Vectors Present in MichiganMosquito-borne arboviruses are of increasing concern in the US. While many cause only mild symptoms, some can cause infections that result in severe disease or death. Increasing globalization puts many areas at increased risk of importing novel arbovirus-competent mosquitoes. Following introduction, models predict that an increasingly warm and wet climate will fuel rapid range expansion. Since we lack vaccines or treatments for arboviruses, mosquito surveillance is recognized as the first line of defense in disease control. Until now, surveillance has relied on morphological identification. However, this is labor- and expertise- intensive and therefore cannot be broadly deployed. To enhance mosquito control efforts and mitigate the impact of mosquito-borne arboviruses we aim to contribute to NASA’s Strategic Objective 1.1 by developing an economical, fast, and reliable molecular detection assay for surveillance of Culex pipiens and the following species of the Aedes genus: A. triseriatus, A.vexans, A. vittatus, A. albopictus, A.aegyptii.
Nathan, GabrielMichigan State UniversityAnalytic models of isotopic fractionation due to multi-stage core formationThe silicate phases of the terrestrial Solar System bodies do not chemically or isotopically match their likely parent material, chondritic meteorites. Chemically distinct silicate terrestrial compositions may be explained by the fractionation of siderophilic elements (e.g. Fe, Ni, Si, S) during core formation, but whether or not that process is also responsible for terrestrial isotopic anomalies is still debated. Previous attempts to determine the influence of core formation processes on isotopic fractionation rely on simplistic single-stage core formation models and limited experimental data. Here, we propose using computational models to understand the effect of core formation on isotopic composition. Our models replicate sophisticated multistage core formation and are compatible with astrophysical conceptions of planet formation. With help from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium, this research will further explain the role that core-formation played as the terrestrial planets achieved their unique isotopic signatures and increase our understanding of the Solar System.
Nieman, KipWayne State UniversityAdvanced Control of LED Lighting Systems in Sustainable GreenhousesSustainable greenhouses could be used in both terrestrial and space applications, allowing for food security in inhospitable environments such as those caused by the changing environment due to climate change (on Earth) or in space. Developing this technology may save lives on earth and extend our ability to explore the deep reaches of the solar system. A fundamental limitation of greenhouses is the need for a significant amount of energy. This includes lighting, which provides energy to the plants when other sources are inadequate. The proposed research involves developing algorithms to control greenhouse LED lighting in an efficient way. Specifically, we seek to adaptively control individual LED light sources though processing spacial data of plant and leaf locations gathered from visual sensing methods. Even a modest improvement in efficiency would represent a large energy savings, which is especially important for space applications where energy production will likely be limited.
Pease, AllisonMichigan State UniversityGeneration of a piezometer from high-pressure minerals to infer methods of planet evolution from xenoliths at the surface The composition and structure of planetary interiors is one of the most enigmatic regions to study; however, studying the interior is necessary to understand planet/solar system formation and evolution. Samples from planetary interiors can only be obtained from mineral inclusions; these xenoliths contain samples from regions that are otherwise inaccessible. In planets larger than Mars, davemaoite and bridgmanite are the dominant mineral phases. The phases are stable for a pressure range that spans more than 1400 miles. This pressure range can vary in composition, temperature, and oxygen fugacity. Therefore, the depth under which a xenolith of davemaoite or bridgmanite forms must be constrained to make implications on the planet and solar system evolution. This study proposes to generate a piezometer that will correlate the depth at which an observed inclusion of davemaoite or bridgmanite is formed.
Rivera Gonzalez, PaolaMichigan Technological UniversityImpacts of La Canícula (“Dog Days of Summer”) on agriculture and food security in Salvadoran communities in the Central American Dry Corridor A rising population, demand for natural resources, and a changing climate are exacerbating vulnerabilities globally and elevating the priority to mitigate risks. The impacts of these changes on agriculture in rural communities jeopardize regional food security and water accessibility. In the Central American Dry Corridor, La Canícula or the “Dog Days of Summer”—a short-duration dry period during a six-month-long rainy season—is expected to lengthen and worsen in the next decades (Anderson et al., 2019), bringing more frequent drought to countries like El Salvador. This study examines the changing canícula and its effects on rural, eastern El Salvador using ethnographic methods and physical measurements—satellite-based data of precipitation, soil moisture, and temperature—to correlate geophysical changes to farmers’ experiences, adaptation practices, and decision-making. Integrating local knowledge and hydrometeorological conditions highlights the most affected areas in agricultural communities, documents existing adaptive strategies, and may inform future adaptive planning.
Robinson, DavidUniversity of MichiganApproximating Radiation-Field Dependent Cooling and Heating Functions with Machine LearningGas cooling and heating functions, which determine how much thermal pressure support a gas cloud can produce, are a key component of how gas clouds collapse to form galaxies. The radiative transfer physics underlying these cooling and heating functions is known, but a computationally inexpensive and fast approximation to their dependence on incident radiation fields is needed in order to include these effects in hydrodynamic simulations. In this project, I will use the machine learning algorithm XGBoost to approximate the dependence of cooling and heating functions on incident radiation field. This will involve choosing a set of photoionization rates to use as model features which are sufficiently predictive of the cooling and heating functions. The end result of this project will be a module implementing this approximation for use in future simulations.
Santiago, EricanMichigan Technological UniversityPerchlorate Detection Using a Graphene Oxide-Based BiosensorAmong many different materials considered toxic to human and plant life, the ion perchlorate is considerably concerning. Perchlorate is an ion that exhibits targeted toxicity to the thyroid gland and inhibits thyroid hormones' production and release. The lack of these hormones can hinder growth and neurodevelopment, fatigue, and depression in people of all ages. Although the EPA decided to stop regulating perchlorate monitoring, contamination is still a concerning issue. Furthermore, any exploration on Mars must consider that Martian soil and dust contains concerning levels of perchlorate. A graphene oxide-based biosensor will be developed to detect perchlorate ions via binding to sodium-iodide symporter proteins. The sensor will also undergo a characterization process to confirm its functionality. After collecting the appropriate cyclic voltammetry data, the sensor will be tested in water, soil, and plant samples to demonstrate its multimodal application capabilities.
Sargent, HannahWestern Michigan UniversityAnalysis of Effects of Extractor Axial Position on Performance of an Electrospray SystemElectrospray systems have great potential as propulsion systems for satellites, specifically those that are smaller (< 200 kg). They are able to provide thrust at low power (< 1 W) with a high specific impulse (1000 - 3000 s) and high efficiency (> 90 %). In theory, electrospray propulsion systems should be able to achieve this high efficiency, however, in application, they have only been able to reach 30-40% efficiency. Therefore, more research needs to be done to investigate the discrepancy between the theoretical and experimental values. This research will look into how extractor geometry and position with relation to the emitter will affect the transmission efficiency, the beam divergence angle, and the ion energy efficiency of an single emitter electrospray system.
Schwiebert, KyleMichigan Technological UniversityLES-C Turbulence Models and their Applications in Aerodynamic PhenomenaPhysical experiments are extremely expensive in the aeronautics industry. Thus, there is great need for high fidelity numerical algorithms replace to these tests, where possible, with simulations. However, the fast flow rates around aircraft lead to a type of fluid flow known as "turbulent flow". Turbulent flow is well-known for being very difficult to simulate, giving rise to the field of turbulence modeling. A new class of turbulence models, dubbed LES-C models have already shown promise in calculating drag and lift coefficients. This project aims to expand that work, by considering several more, unconsidered LES-C models and applying them to the drag and lift coefficient problem. In particular, on-going work on LES-C models is showing that they truly are contenders in the turbulent flow regime. This grant would further this work, building up the theory of LES-C models, giving interdisciplinary researchers more and more tools to surmount this difficult problem.
Sebasco, NickMichigan State UniversityQuantum Hybrid StatesIt is NASA’s goal to implement secure quantum communications within its overall communications architectures. Quantum communications refer to communication systems that are based on quantum entanglement. Entangled photons will be used for secure ground-satellite and satellite-satellite transmissions. The question of whether photons in combination with electrons/phonons/waveguide modes can behave as “composite fermions” for the duration of a hybrid state is a research issue as well as a practical issue for the Quantum Demonstration Lab is currently under development at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The project goals are to investigate the case for photonic hybrid states from both positive and negative points of view. The specific outcomes include analysis of the case and conditions for lack of fermionic behavior and density functional theory analysis of phonon and waveguide modes within the nonlinear optical crystal required for entangled photon generation and their possible impact(s) on hybrid state formation.
Sell, JakobWestern Michigan UniversityA Metagenomic Analysis of the Microbial Community of Petroleum-Contaminated Soil Oxygen is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere and is vital for life as we know. However, as we move away from Earth and study the other planets and moons in our solar system, usable oxygen becomes far less abundant. In order to know the potential for these anaerobic conditions to support life, we must first study the anaerobic environments we know support life. While there has been significant research done on anaerobic microbial communities, most of this research was done using 16S rRNA gene libraries or culturable bacteria. This is a problem since it leaves out microbes that would not appear in a 16S library, like viruses. In order to get a full picture of these anaerobic microbial communities, we propose doing a metagenomic analysis of petroleum-contaminated soil, which features multiple different anaerobic respiration pathways. Our findings will let us fully map these complex metabolic pathways.
Van Buskirk, ChelseaEastern Michigan UniversityAn Analysis of Organic Components of Egyptian Mummification Balms: The Old Kingdom to the Ptolemaic PeriodThis research project seeks to characterize mummification balms from ancient Egypt. Our goal is to identify what organic materials – which may include plant oils, animal fats, resins, and waxes – were used so that we can compare how the embalming recipes changed over time. The molecules themselves will have changed due to oxidation and the passage of time. Understanding the changes these ancient molecules undergo requires studying the fragments left behind with novel instrumental analytical chemistry methods. New methods, which require small amounts of these precious samples and little/no preparation, will be developed and validated through comparisons with existing approaches from the literature. These methods will be systematically applied to Egyptian embalming materials spanning over two and a half millennia from the collections of the Michael C. Carlos Museum. This project will advance knowledge of how organic substances change over time, impacting studies from archaeology to space exploration.

HONES Awards

Lemmer, KristinaWestern Michigan UniversityPerformance of Electrospray Propulsion on Ground and in Space (PEP-GS) CubeSatThe Western Aerospace Launch Initiative at Western Michigan University (WMU) is developing a 6U CubeSat that will compare performance data and propellant deposition rates of a passively fed, ionic liquid propellant, porous borosilicate, electrospray thruster between in-space operation and ground-based vacuum chamber operation. The hands-on student group consists of both undergraduate and graduate students learning about satellite design, integration, and testing. Once completed, the satellite will be launched with help and funding from the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) University Nanosatellite Program (UNP). Throughout the project, AFRL holds design reviews that UNP participants must attend, including a review at the 2022 Small Satellite Conference. Funds requested in this proposal will provide the team with the ability to send participants to the conference, in turn, giving students invaluable engineering experience. The funds will also help support students to continue to work on the PEP-GS CubeSat mission throughout summer 2022.
van Susante, PaulMichigan Technological UniversityLunabotics Competition RobotWe request $5,000.- from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) Hands-On NASA-Oriented Experiences for Student groups (HONES) funding to cover a portion of the travel costs to help Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) team participate in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition: Lunabotics to be held at KSC in May 2022.

NASA Internships

NameAffiliateTitleNASA Center
De La Rosa, DiegoUniversity of MichiganExperiment for Cryogenic Large-aperture Intensity Mapping (EXCLAIM)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Hart, TaylorSaginaw Valley State UniversityScience Communications InternshipNASA Office of STEM Engagement at The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA)
Kasapis, SpyrosUniversity of MichiganVan Alen Radiation Bell Characterisation using SDO data.NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Stevens, AdamMichigan State UniversityRST/CubeSat Thermal EngineeringNASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Industry Internships

De Urquidi, TomasUniversity of MichiganMeta Orbital Effects Internships
D'Urso, EricUniversity of MichiganWolverine Radar Co Interns
Jackowski, FilipUniversity of MichiganMeta Orbital Effects Internships
Lawson, BennettUniversity of MichiganWolverine Radar Co Interns
Rulison, ForestUniversity of MichiganMeta Orbital Effects Internships

Research Seed Grants

Bagherzadeh, MehdiOakland UniversityµNASA: Mutation Testing to Improve Correctness of Message Passing SoftwareAt NASA, message passing software, with its correctness being of utmost importance, is everywhere. Sine testing is the best-established approach to check correctness, the more adequate the tests become the more correct the software becomes. However, for message passing software, even the best-established approaches are not sufficient to evaluate the adequacy of its tests. This project will establish µNASA, an experimental framework to design, develop, and evaluate efficient, affordable, and scalable message passing mutation testing. µNASA complements the existing testing approaches by helping decide how much testing is needed, which new tests should be added and where. µNASA realizes three major objectives: (1) construct a fault model to understand message passing fault, (2) design mutation operators and generators to mutate a message passing software into its mutants, with artificial faults, to test, and (3) design minimization techniques to increase efficiency, affordability, and scalability of µNASA for industrial software.
Beetham, SarahOakland UniversitySimulation and Modeling of Atmospheric Plumes--Toward Optimized UAV Flight ControlExtreme atmospheric environments, on earth and on other planetary bodies, present significant challenges to unmanned areal vehicles (UAVs). For instance, forest fires and volcanic eruptions involve atmospheric plumes that span large distances and contain substantial complexity in particulate concentration and particulate sizes, ranging from tiny dust particles to large rock fragments. These particles interact with a turbulent atmosphere, impacting large-scale atmospheric behavior. In turn, the atmospheric conditions also affect particulate flow parameters. Accurately predicting this complex interplay remains an open challenge. The goal of the proposed work is to conduct high-fidelity simulations of atmospheric plumes and leverage data-driven techniques to improve reduced order models and predict model uncertainty. This initial work will be a springboard toward future work focused on using these models and associated uncertainty to enable on-the-fly model adjustments and improved flight controls for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operating in extreme environments.
Bolen, BrettGrand Valley State UniversityPrecision tests of General Relativity using the LISA spacecraftCurrently there is a joint ESA/NASA mission to build a gravitational wave detector formed out of three spacecraft flying in a triangular constellation called LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). We propose to use a population synthesis code called COSMIC to create a realistic model of C dwarf binaries in the milky way and simulate how well LISA is able to detect if the gravitational wave have measurable dispersion. If general relativity is correct, there should be no dispersion but if GR is incorrect there could be dispersion of the wave as shown by Will. A second project is to show how one can describe seeming complex relativistic orbital mechanics of a LISA source comprising of a supermassive black hole and a stellar BH called a EMRI (Extreme Mass Relativistic Inspiral) into the junior level mechanics classroom.
Chen, JunOakland UniversityImpacts of Battery Cell Imbalance and Mitigation by AI and ControlsBatteries have become very common in our daily life and play a critical role in many applications, including virtually all NASA's missions. One of the key challenges of battery is the heterogeneous behavior of battery cells due to manufacture variation and different aging conditions, which limits the operation range of battery and compromise its safety. The principal research goal of this proposal is to develop a framework and corresponding novel methodologies to investigate the impacts of battery cell imbalance and the mitigation methods by AI and controls. Due to a pressing need to develop reliable electrified transportation systems to protect the earth, this proposal will concentrate on electric vehicle (EV) applications, with possible extensions to space applications. Specific aims include developing a simulation platform to evaluate the impacts of battery cell imbalance for EV and the developing an AI-based control framework to mitigate the impacts of battery cell imbalance.
Christians, JeffreyHope CollegeUnderstanding the Radiation Tolerance of Halide Perovskite MaterialsHalide perovskites are an emerging class of semiconductor materials that have shown particular utility for high power-to-weight photovoltaic applications, such as space photovoltaics, but a growing body of work shows their potential for x-ray detection as well. One area of special interest at the intersection of these two topics is degradation under radiation. It is proposed to study the degradation of halide perovskite materials under various radiation sources to improve our understanding of degradation mechanisms in these extreme conditions. This funding will support experimental design, initial dataset collection in this effort, and support a nascent collaboration with colleagues from the Hope Physics Department, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the University of Notre Dame. It is anticipated that this work will form the basis, in terms of an initial dataset and gained expertise, for a longer-term collaborative project with these collaborators.
Gomez, PabloWestern Michigan UniversityTowards a Synergistic Approach for Computational Analysis of Geomagnetically Induced Currents in Power GridsThe objective of this project is to determine the accuracy, efficiency and practicality of the synergistic combination of physics-based and data-driven modeling and simulation tools for the prediction and evaluation of geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) in electric power systems. For this purpose, we will develop a methodology that allows seamless and effective integration between the three main aspects required for accurate determination of GIC and their effects on power systems: (1) data-driven and location-specific estimation of Earth’s magnetic fields at ground level, (2) detailed physics-based ground impedance modeling considering specific geological environment, and (3) power grid modeling considering fully detailed network and grounding topology.
Jaiswal, SurabhiEastern Michigan UniversityMeasurement of plasma waves for the application of space debris removalEquilibrium plasma flows occur in many astrophysical situations such as in galactic jets, solar wind, etc. The encounter of such plasma flows with a stationary or moving charged object can give rise to a rich variety of dynamical phenomena such as one observes in the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth. Recent investigations show that interaction of a fast-moving object through a plasma can create nonlinear structures, specifically precursor solitons which could be used for detecting debris. The precursor solitons, namely nonlinear long-lived pulse excitations emitted in the fore-wake region of fast-moving charged particles in plasmas, has not received much attention. In this project we will focus on simulation and experimental studies of precursor soliton structures which can be used as a potential warning for space debris collisions. Utilizing plasma solitons would be a collision-free method of mapping the small debris population.
Jin, QingxuMichigan State UniversityDevelopment of Ultra-resilient and -durable Cementitious Composites for Future 3D Printing Construction (3DPC) on the Moon and MarsNASA has the mission of establishing a sustained presence on the Moon and Mars through safe and reliable infrastructure on their surfaces. The Agency is investing in advanced manufacturing to enable space and planetary exploration. This proposal is to develop an ultra-resilient and durable cementitious composite, known as bendable concrete. The bendable concrete exhibits an unusual ductile behavior, which could help eliminate the use of steel reinforcement in concrete and which possesses self-healing properties similar to the healing from a paper cut on our fingers. This proposal will explore the feasibility of using lunar cement materials, such as low water content alkali-activated volcanic ash and lunar soil simulant to develop the bendable concrete. With the successful development of this lunar-cement material-based composite, future research will focus on assessing the composite’s 3D printability and examining the enhanced resilience and durability of the printed structure, which in turn meets NASA’s strategic interests.
Ronald, KellyHope CollegeA NEW CANARY IN THE COALMINE: THE HOUSE SPARROW (PASSER DOMESTICUS) AS A MODEL FOR STUDYING THE EFFECTS OF NANOPARTICLE MATTER IN AIR POLLUTIONIn September 2021, the World Health Organization confirmed that air pollution is considered the single biggest environmental threat to human health. In particular, iron manufacturing is responsible for one of the main components of pollution particulates: iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs). Research in humans demonstrates a positive correlation between air pollution exposure and hearing damage; suggesting that hearing deficits could be an early health biomarker. We are investigating the impact of IONPs on a songbird model, the house sparrow (Passer domesticus). House sparrows inhabit human-dominated environments and songbirds learn vocalizations similar to how humans acquire language; therefore, they are excellent models to examine how air pollution exposure affects physiology and behavior. We will examine if IONP exposure affects auditory sensory processing, specifies-relevant behaviors, and bioaccumulation of nanoparticles. This proposed study will contribute to our understanding of how environmentally relevant levels of IONPs can have human and environmental health consequences.
Ye, XinyuMichigan Technological UniversityAnalyzing the effects of potential climate and land-use changes on hydrologic processes of Maumee River Watershed using a Coupled Atmosphere-Lake-Land Modeling SystemLand use and land cover significantly influence climate by changing regional temperatures, precipitation, vegetation, and thunderstorm patterns. Land use remains an important contributor to the changes in local climate and often occurs concurrently with hydrologic change. The objective of this project is to predict the effect of potential climate and land-use changes on hydrologic processes of Maumee River Watershed by developing a novel Coupled Atmosphere-Lake-Land Modeling System. Maumee River Watershed contributes the largest amount of sediment to Lake Erie. The development of the new model system will accelerate the study of complex natural systems between the regional atmosphere, lake dynamics, thermal structure, ice dynamics. The model system also helps the society better understand the regional climate change impact on the coastal region and agricultural-dominated areas.
Yoon, YongsoonOakland UniversitySensor Fault Diagnostics for Robust and Reliable Operation of Lithium-Ion BatteriesRechargeable lithium-ion batteries have high potential for aerospace applications such as planetary landers, rovers, earth orbiting spacecrafts and astronaut equipment. However, they are vulnerable to various faults including sensor faults, actuator faults and internal faults affecting their operation adversely. Absence of reliable fault management systems may lead to performance degradation, high maintenance cost and disastrous damage. This project aims to develop the diagnostics of the lithium-ion batteries that can detect and isolate the current and voltage sensors faults. Specifically, this project will develop the algorithms of two key components: 1) faulty features extraction based on anti-windup estimation; 2) faulty features evaluation based on machine learning. The developed diagnostics will contribute to robust and reliable operation of the lithium-ion batteries over lifespan.

Pre-College Educational Programs

Lindsay, HarrietEastern Michigan UniversityHigh School Summer Science Program at Eastern Michigan UniversityThe Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Office of Undergraduate Research and Biology and Chemistry Department faculty developed a three-week high school summer research program. Area students who have completed at least one science class are eligible to apply. Students are matched with EMU faculty and student mentors by interests and completed coursework. The faculty/student teams train the high school participants to work on an original research project. Participants present their work on the last day of the program. In past years we operated the program by charging fees to participants. In 2021, MSGC funding allowed us to offer the program to six low-income, first generation, and/or underrepresented high school students at no cost. Herein, we propose again offering the program to these student groups for no cost. We intend to promote the programs’ success to leverage other funds to increase our numbers in future years.
Maas, SaraGrand Valley State UniversitySTEPS 2022 - Sustaining ChangeThe Science Technology & Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) Camp at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is entering its third decade of inspiring young students to explore higher education and careers in STEM. STEPS addresses the systemic lack of diversity in engineering by creating a welcoming space for students to create, explore topics, and observe successful peers and mentors. STEPS runs a unique curriculum that allows students to learn new technical content and apply that knowledge to projects and teamwork. Hosting this camp in a location external to a typical classroom allows campers to experience being on a college campus, interact with diverse peers, counselors, and professionals, and visualize a fulfilling future. To foster a diverse work environment and an inclusive work culture, projects like STEPS Camp must be employed. It is through sustained effort that young students will engage in the STEM pipeline, matriculate, and naturally transform their work environments.
Narayanan, KrishEastern Michigan UniversityBits & Bytes Summer Computing Camp for Middle School Girls"Bits and Bytes is an all-day, week-long, summer computing camp for middle school girls. It introduces computing and technology through theoretical concepts and applied projects. Coding is introduced through educational software and robots. The camp includes a field trip, a hackathon, and a panel of F college students and professional women in technology-related fields.

The camp has been sponsored annually by the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s AspireIT program since 2017. AspireIT was canceled in 2021. The demand for the summer camp has been very high since the first offering. With a capacity of 25 students, the registration for the camp filled up within two weeks of announcement each year with additional 25-50 students on the waitlist. The participants’ feedback on the post-surveys were all positive. Parents have been requesting follow-up camps. The camp staff have also greatly benefited from such outreach projects. "
Thompkins, GeraldThe Engineering Society of DetroitThe Girls in Engineering AcademyThe Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) was created to be a hands-on, project-based STEM/ pre-engineering program for underrepresented middle school girls from Detroit. The GEA is a year-round program, with a four-week summer program and an academic year component, that provides students with an in-depth view at various engineering disciplines taught through continuous learning and hands-on project-based concepts. The program structure allows students to have the added benefit of small group interaction with a team of F undergraduate engineering students as instructors, and F engineers from industry who serve as role models. Students will participate in the design and launch of a drone. This project will expose students to both engineering and aeronautical concepts. They will learn about velocity, thrust, lift, force, gravity, and other related concepts. The goal is to increase student access within the context of engineering and space science.
Tumey, JannahMichigan Technological UniversityTomorrow's Talent Series: Exploring Aerospace & Earth System Careers through Virtual Job-ShadowingMichigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to a large percentage of rural students without access to career investigation resources. Tomorrow’s Talent Series fills this need by providing virtual job shadowing opportunities for students throughout the entire peninsula. With the growth of the aerospace, space science, and Earth system science fields in the Upper Peninsula, now is a perfect time to expose and excite students about careers in these fields with the Tomorrow’s Talent Series program.

Public Outreach Educational Programs

Gipson, KarenGrand Valley State UniversityRoger That!Roger That! is a celebration of space exploration named in honor of Grand Rapids astronaut Roger B. Chaffee. The two-day public symposium, organized by faculty at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in collaboration with staff at Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM), directly supports NASA’s public outreach goals, especially 2.4. The inaugural event was held in 2017 as a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that claimed Chaffee’s life, and MSGC funding has been granted each subsequent year. Typically, GVSU hosts a design challenge, keynote speakers, and presentations on scientific and societal considerations of space exploration, while GRPM hosts field trips, planetarium shows, and family-friendly activities. However, the pandemic necessitated changes to the 2021 symposium, and the 2022 symposium is planned as a hybrid event. This proposal seeks continuation funding for the 2023 symposium, along with first-time special initiative funding for expanded outreach to underrepresented/minoritized K12 students.
Sterner, AnnaMichigan Science CenterSCOPES IN THE CITYThe Michigan Science Center, in collaboration with community partners like schools, libraries, and youth centers; aims to deliver space science programming at five locations in Detroit. This special evening experience will bring telescopes, space activities, and a new portable planetarium to communities that traditionally don’t have access to night sky viewing. Participants of the program will gaze upon deep sky objects, explore our place in the solar system, and learn about current research and developments in the field of space science as they engage with Michigan Science Center staff and community volunteers.
van Dijk, DeannaCalvin UniversityReaching Students with Science at a Strategic Moment: The Appeal of Earth Science Research on Lake Michigan DunesThe First-Year Research in Earth Sciences (FYRES) project stimulates STEM literacy and interest by targeting students at two strategic intervals in their education pathways: the first months of undergraduate education and later in undergraduate education when students are exploring their commitment to a STEM discipline. Student participants engage in authentic Earth system science research as they investigate questions focused on Lake Michigan coastal dunes. The process of learning about science by doing science includes communicating research results with scientists, dune managers, and the general public. Some FYRES participants go on to become scientifically-literate citizens who pursue vocations in business, humanities, education, etc., whereas other participants discover or confirm deeper interests in Earth sciences and other STEM disciplines. FYRES program adaptations to the global pandemic continues to improve FYRES activities and outreach. Participant, research, and outreach outcomes represent NASA and MSGC strategic interests well.

Teacher Training Educational Programs

Lioubimtseva, ElenaGrand Valley State UniversityMichigan Resources on Climate and Land Cover Change Education (MiRCLE): Linking virtual data with outdoor hands-on experienceThanks to MSGC grant, MiRCLE is providing much needed online resources for Michigan 6-12-grade teachers on climate change, land-use and land-cover changes, human vulnerability to climate impacts, and climate justice. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our project proved to be especially timely, helping teachers to pivot to online instruction, and to obtain digital materials and equipment helping to alleviate the digital divide. Now Michigan schools are back to in-person instruction but the need for more nimble instruction tools helping schools to adapt to uncertain future remains. The proposed project will expand on the MIRCLE materials developed in 2020-22, linking online digital datasets with outdoors experiential hands-on learning. IPCC, NASA, EPA, and GLOBE materials would be used to illustrate case studies and develop lesson plans based on Michigan Science Standards (MSS) and Social Studies Standards integrating virtual and in-person field trips and hands-on outdoor activities for 6-12 grade students.

Multiple Educational Program Awards

NameAffiliate/OrganizationTitle Abstract
DeVillers, VirginiaPlainwell Aviation and STEM AcademyTake Wing and Fly Part llTeacher Sscholarships for teachers to attend a STEM Aviation and Aerospace workshop. A previous grant allowed for the initial development and disseminationn professional development in Aerospace and Aviation for teachers of grades 4th-12th, .
Pre-College STEM and informal :PASA will continue to aid the teachers in implementing the curriculum into the classroom. Students and teachers will also be given flights in a small General Aviation aircraft.
PASA would continue to provide additional aviation-related classes for students who show an advanced interest in aerospace and aviation. Scholarships will allow students of underrepresented minorities and those economically disadvantaged to attend. Students who attend the Youth Pilot Program can work toward obtaining their private pilot’s license.
Public Outreach: PASA presenst to local organizations to promote, NASA as an Airborne Astronomy Ambassador PASA partners withWMUCollege of Aviation, Kalamazoo AirZoo, WACO Aircraft Co., EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) both local and national, Duncan Aviation, HovAire Inc.
Gochis, EmilyCopper Country Intermediate School DistrictLift and Launch the Western U.P.: SOLID Start (Science, Oral Language, and Literacy Development from the Start of School) for First and Second GradesEarly elementary students in the Western Upper Peninsula (WUP) have limited access to STEAM learning experiences. The WUP comprises largely remote, rural communities and is home to two Sovereign Tribal entities. WUP communities have historically lacked equitable educational resources because of isolation and poverty. Lift and Launch the Western U.P will increase student engagement in STEAM by coordinating a Pre-college Education program that includes multi-district adoption of the NGSS-aligned curriculum, SOLID Start (Science, Oral Language, and Literacy Development from the Start of School). Additionally, an educational Teacher Training program will integrate place-based and career development activities into the curriculum highlighting unique attributes of the WUP. The new professional learning program would be ongoing, including summer field experiences and school year sessions, designed to increase educators' pedagogical content knowledge. The innovative and collaborative approach would embed regionally significant examples and community partnerships into the SOLID Start curriculum.
Ipri Brown, SusanHope CollegeEngineering the Future AcademiesHope College’s Engineering the Future Academy broadens access for area students to explore engineering design in a hands-on, problem solving context and increases the capacity for youth serving organizations to host further science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. Sixty (60) middle and high school students and 12 professionals will participate. Professional development will focus on inquiry-based methods related to multi-disciplinary engineering design experiences with the emphasis on building units of instruction that are transferable to either the classroom or after school contexts. Supplies and equipment purchased for the camp activities will be transferred to the partners at the end of the summer. Camp fees are covered and transportation and meals provided for traditionally underserved students to facilitate their participation.
Ipri Brown, SusanHope CollegePreparing STEM TeachersPreparing STEM Teachers will increase the capacity to meet the quickly growing need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education teachers in the state. Specifically, attention will be given to providing pre-service teachers exposure to effective, inquiry-based techniques for working with diverse learners and students from a range of socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds. Empowering future STEM educators to combine best practices in inquiry-based learning as well as techniques for inspiring diverse learners to enter STEM fields will significantly impact multitudes of students across those teachers’ careers. This proposal seeks funding for pre-service teacher stipends, mentoring, evaluation, and materials to support our unique hands-on training in the context of Hope College’s Summer Science Camps. Complementing in-classroom learning, this impactful experiential learning immerses pre-service teachers in STEM classroom experiences and builds a pipeline of teachers that can inspire and mentor a diverse future workforce.
Kobus, KrzysztofOakland UniversityEarth System Science STEM Camps, Outreach and Teacher Training (K-12 Students and Teachers, and the Community)A continuing comprehensive, hands-on, student-centered, activity-based outreach and education program is proposed here to bring Space and Earth system sciences training to three separate populations. These populations include K- 12 students through school- year STEM field trips, K-12 summer programming with a focus on underrepresented minorities, and low- socioeconomic students, and STEM teachers to provide best practices in teaching STEM, and the broader community. The shorter workshops, STEM field trips, and longer STEM camps in the summer are to be continuing activities that were initiated with MSGC funding that we hope will continue as matching is continuing at higher funding levels and the funds leveraged to obtain more support. These efforts are STEM-based, hands-on experiences where attendees learn fundamental knowledge and then apply this to active learning exercises. Promoting STEM to this generation and those younger is necessary to enhancing knowledge, education, and eventually economic growth with a sustainable mindset.
Pachla, KrisGrand Valley State UniversityEnergizing Our World: Community STEM learningThe GVSU Regional Math and Science Center, building on the five years of successful and iteratively improved Energizing Our World middle school summer camp, proposes to further refine modules and kits from the camp and develop community STEM learning experiences using camp participants as science ambassadors. Students participating in the four-day summer camp will serve as catalysts for community learning in STEM with parents, community members and other learners in a variety of informal learning spaces: Their homes, individual communities, community STEM events, and other spaces such as museums, libraries, and community centers. Kits will be based off of modules explored in the summer camp, and will include tools, resources, and data collection devices and guides for use back in their communities. This proposal seeks funding to plan, implement, reflect and refine the individual kits, and to coordinate the post-camp use of those resources within informal STEM learning spaces.
Webb, MariaDetroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP)Galaxy Academy at the University of Michigan & DAPCEP Teacher TrainingDAPCEP is a nonprofit organization providing educational experiences to more than 11,000 youth per year in the Metropolitan Detroit area. Our mission is to increase the number of students from racial and ethnic backgrounds historically underrepresented in STEM who are motivated and academically prepared to pursue degrees and careers in STEM.

Continuation of Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) funding would be used for the virtual camp - Galaxy Academy - led by University of Michigan Ann Arbor (UMAA). Funds would also be used for our in-school program to train and prepare teachers within the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) to implement project-based coursework into their science curriculum. Galaxy Academy offers participants the opportunity to apply knowledge to challenges aimed at deepening understanding in the field of aerospace engineering. In-school teacher training equips DPSCD teachers with the tools and resources necessary to guide students to create science fair projects.


The Michigan Space Grant Consortium is primarily funded through a NASA Training Grant.

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