MARSPORT COMPETITION COMES TO KSC
Future trailblazers are taking on the challenge of developing
technology that will allow for vegetation growth on the surface of Mars.
Students and faculty from universities around the country will converge
at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for this year's NASA MarsPort Engineering
Design Student Competition 2002 conference organized by the Florida
Space Grant Consortium (FSGC). Innovative design ideas will be
presented as part of a two-day conference on May 14 - 15 at the
Kurt H. Debus Conference Facility at the KSC Visitor Complex.
Participants will present a paper on engineering trade studies to
design optimal configurations for a MarsPort Deployable Greenhouse
(MDG) for operation on the surface of Mars.
The MarsPort competition actually began in the fall of 2001 when
invitations were sent out to colleges and universities. Participating
student teams were required to write and submit a proposal to the
NASA MarsPort 2002 design review committee. From the 20 entries
received, six teams were selected to investigate and perform trade
studies to derive an optimal configuration for the MDG. This involves a
systematic defining of the MDG, and requires analyzing and trading
options for the greenhouse structure, light collection, water and
nutrient delivery, atmospheric controls, crop selection, harvesting
and materials handling, and thermal management. The design keeps
in mind the need for a minimal mass and lift-off volume approach.
In addition, deployment options from the spacecraft and on the
surface are also being analyzed.
Representatives of six university teams from Cornell University,
University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Florida, University of
Central Florida, Saint Louis University and Franklin W. Olin College of
Engineering, who are the finalists of the competition, will be here to
make their presentations before a panel of judges from KSC, Dynamac
Corporation and Florida Institute of Technology. The winning team's
innovative ideas will be used by NASA to evaluate and study other
engineering trade concepts.
The 2002 MarsPort competition conference will also feature
presentations by Dr. Sam Durrance, FSGC director and former
astronaut, and Dr. Gary Stutte, Plant Scientist, Dynamac Corporation.
JoAnn Morgan, KSC's External Relations and Business Development
Director, will welcome the participants.
This year's MarsPort competition is jointly administered and
sponsored by the FSGC and the Texas Space Grant Consortium and
co-sponsored by KSC and the Florida Space Research Institute.
The FSGC was formed in 1989 when NASA implemented the
National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. The FSGC is a
voluntary association of 17 universities and colleges along with KSC,
Florida Space Authority (FSA), Astronaut Memorial Foundation and
Higher Education Consortium for Math and Sciences. The FSGC
represents Florida in NASA's Space Grant College and Education Program.
It serves more than 230,000 university students in Florida.
The MarsPort Engineering Design Competition 2002 conference
hours are 9:15 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14. The award ceremony
will be held on Wednesday, May 15 at 1:45 p.m. where
Dr. James L. Jennings, KSC Deputy Director, will present awards to the
winning teams. Further information on the NASA MarsPort competition
may be obtained by calling the Florida Space Grant Consortium at 321-452-4301.
Media representatives are invited to attend and should drive directly to
the KSC Visitor Complex and proceed to the Debus Conference Facility.