Category: Research

Michigan Tech Joins Artemis Student Challenge

Artemis Timeline graphic of the Moon.

NASA Selects University Teams to Build Technologies for the Moon’s Darkest Areas

Through the competitive Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge and the Space Grant project, NASA has awarded nearly $1 million to eight university teams to build sample lunar payloads and demonstrate innovative ways to study the Moon’s darkest areas.

“It’s an exciting time for NASA and students across the country,” said Drew Hope, Game Changing Development program manager at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “Thanks to our partnership with the Office of STEM Engagement, this is the most money NASA has awarded in a student challenge directly connected to Artemis. I look forward to seeing the inventive designs come to life as well as how they can advance our exploration capabilities in permanently shadowed craters on the Moon.”

The selected teams will develop ways to collect data in and around permanently shadowed regions, generate wireless power for future infrastructure, enable autonomous mobility even in the most extreme environments, and more. Such systems could benefit NASA’s Artemis program and be used to study the Moon ahead of a human landing in 2024 or help establish a sustained presence by 2028.

The award values vary and are based on each team’s proposed concept and budget. Among the 2020 BIG Idea Challenge awardees is Michigan Tech.

Michigan Technological University in Houghton – $161,074

A small rover to lay lightweight, superconducting cable that tethers to a lander as it traverses craters in permanently shadowed regions. Once in its final destination, the rover acts as a recharging hub and communication relay for other robots working in the area, providing continuous power without requiring direct sunlight.

The grants will be used to develop and test the technologies in simulated environments over the next 10 months, demonstrating their readiness for a potential lunar mission as early as 2023. The teams will present the results of their research and development to a panel of NASA and industry experts at a face-to-face design review in November 2020.

Read more at NASA Space Tech, edited by Kristyn Damadeo.

NASA Unveils Student-Made Technologies For Exploring Moon’s Dark Side

NASA has partnered with different universities to develop technologies that it will use for its upcoming mission to the Moon. The agency confirmed that these new technologies would be used to explore the lunar surface’s dark side.

The other universities involved in the upcoming lunar mission are Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan Technological University, Northeastern University and the University of Virginia. Teams from these universities will help NASA in collecting valuable data from the dark regions of the Moon.

Read more at International Business Times, by Inigo Monzon.


Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science

CLASS logoPaulu van Susante (ME-EM/MARC)is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $30,000 research and development cooperative agreement from the University of Central Florida.

The project is entitled, “Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (NASA SSERVI Cooperative Agreement Notice).” This is the first year of a potential Five-year project totaling $150,000.

By Sponsored Programs.

The Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (CLASS) node of the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) facilitates NASA’s exploration of deep space by focusing its goals at the intersection of surface science and surface exploration of rocky, atmosphereless bodies.


Fall 2019 Research Seed Grant for Jung Yun Bae

Jung Yun Bae
Jung Yun Bae

The Vice President for Research Office has announced the Fall 2019 Research Excellence Fund (REF) awards.

In the College of Engineering, Jung Yun Bae received a Research Seed (RS) grant.

REF-RS grants are designed to provide untenured tenure-track academic faculty and research faculty who have been employed for less than six years with resources to develop an externally supported research program.

Bae is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, College of Engineering, and the College of Computing. Her research interests include coordination of heterogeneous robot teams, vehicle routing problems, multi-robot system control and optimization, autonomous navigation, and unmanned vehicles. Her main goal of research is development of operational strategy for multi-agent autonomous vehicle systems.


Sustainable Waste Project Recognition for PhD Student and Alumni

SWANA Second Prize

The prestigious SWANA (Solid Waste Association of North America) professional society has awarded second prize in the student design competition to a team from Michigan Tech. Advised by Ezra Bar-Ziv, the team members are:
SWANA-SWDC logo graphic

  • Stas Zinchik (ME-EM PhD ’19)
  • Shreyas Kolapkar (MSME ’18)
  • Zhuo Xu (current ME-EM PhD student)

The competition took place in the 2019 WasteCon conference in Phoenix, AZ, on October 21.

SWANA’s International Solid Waste Design Competition (SWDC) is a student team competition to solve “real world” problems faced by solid waste professionals.

The competition aims at providing design experience to the students interested in pursuing an education and/or career in solid waste management. The 2019 project challenged students on “Evaluating Recycling Rate Metrics and Achieving Recycling Goals.”

SCPPE Best Oral Presentation

In addition, graduate student Zhuo Xu was recently awarded Best Oral Presentation at the 5th International Conference on Sustainable Chemical Product and Process Engineering (SCPPE) on June 30-July 3, 2019, in Tianjin, China. Zhuo Xu’s presentation “Sustainable waste to clean energy solutions” was presented in the ‘Alternative and renewable energy systems and supply chain’ session of the Conference.

2019 Frontiers Spotlight Finalist

Ezra Bar-Ziv’s research group co-authored “Properties of Torrefied U.S. Waste Blends” in Frontiers in Energy Research: Bioenergy and Biofuels. The article is part of a special topic collection.
https://doi.org/10.3389/fenrg.2018.00065

The article collection, “Advancements in Biomass Feedstock Preprocessing: Conversion Ready Feedstocks,” is one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Frontiers Spotlight Award, which supports important fields of research published as special issues in Frontiers journals. The topic was selected via peer review, based on scientific and societal importance, from approximately 1,000 Frontiers topics in 2019. The topic’s readership is among the most globally diverse of the finalists.


NASA Lunabotics Competition

Lunabotics logo with robot cartoonPaulus van Susante (MEEM/MARC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $5000 other sponsored activities grant from the University of Michigan. The project is entitled, “MTU Team for NASA Lunabotics Competition.” This is a 5 1/2 month project.

This competition is a full-on engineering exercise where students receive practical experience in the full engineering lifecycle process from concept development to system closeout.