Northwest Nazarene University’s Team Super-Hydro returns to NASA this week to participate in its Microgravity University Systems Engineering Educational Discovery (SEED) program. The program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to design, build and fly experiments in reduced gravity aboard the “Weightless Wonder.”
Team Super-Hydro, a team of seven engineering and chemistry students, arrived at Ellington Field, where NASA’s astronauts train, on Friday to prepare for their flights April 26 and 27.
The 2012 experiment will extend the team’s previous research on the super-hydrophobic material by focusing on its application in water purification systems aboard space craft. The team will work to separate the water vapor from liquid water in a passive, phase-separation system. In this process, the impurities stay behind in the liquid while the vapor goes on to be cleaned, condensed and re-used.
Teams have been partnered with NASA mentors to design and build experiments based on current NASA research. The teams will perform the experiments aboard the “Weightless Wonder,” a microgravity aircraft, which produces periods of weightlessness for up to 25 seconds at a time by executing a series of approximately 30 roller coaster-like parabolas over the Gulf of Mexico. During the free falls, the students will to gather data in the unique environment that mimics space.
This year’s NNU team consists of Dorothy Ackerman (Great Falls, Mont.), Kevin Halle (Edmonds, Wash.), Chad Larson (Medford, Ore.), Darrell Leber (Nampa, Idaho), Keith Moilanen (Brush Prairie, Wash.), Weston Patrick (Wasilla, Alaska) and Grady Turner (Nampa, Idaho).
Halle and Turner will fly on Thursday, April 26 with NASA mentor Greg Pace, and Larson and Patrick will fly on Friday, April 27 with NNU’s Chair of the Department of Physics & Engineering Dr. Dan Lawrence. Ackerman is the student alternate to fly.
See KTVB Newschannel 7’s coverage of Team Super-Hydro here.
Find more information on the team here.
Find more information about the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program here.