Northwest Nazarene University’s Team Super-Hydro, a team of seven engineering and chemistry students, returned from NASA this week after successfully completing their experiment onboard the “Weightless Wonder” aircraft.
NASA’s Waste Management Department wanted NNU students to test how the maximum amount of water, vapor or liquid can be retrieved from the waste “brine” produced in the space station’s filtration system using a new super-hydrophobic material. Students worked alongside a NASA mentor in the months leading up to the flight and also flew on the “Weightless Wonder” with him.
Team leader and junior engineering student Kevin Halle (Edmonds, Wash.) said, “We weren’t sure if we were going to the phase separation of water in zero-gravity or not, but we saw it the whole time! Every time we experienced 0g those bubbles went in a specific direction, and we saw serious phase separation. It was really cool!”
The NNU team consists of Dorothy Ackerman (Great Falls, Mont.), Kevin Halle (Edmonds, Wash.), Chad Larson (Medford, Ore.), Darrell Leber (Lake Stevens, Wash.), Keith Moilanen (Brush Prairie, Wash.), Weston Patrick (Wasilla, Alaska) and Grady Turner (Nampa, Idaho).
Halle and Turner flew on Thursday, April 26 with NASA mentor Greg Pace. Ackerman, Larson and Patrick flew on Friday, April 27 with Dr. Dan Lawrence, NNU chair of the department of physics and engineering.