Summer vacation – on Mars.
No, we’re not there yet, but Boone native and Appalachian State University student Joshua Kelley could help facilitate future trips to our neighboring planet by conducting research in a simulated Martian environment at the Kennedy Space Center this summer.
Kelley, an engineering physics graduate student, is one of several ASU student recipients of funding from the N.C. Space Grant Consortium for the 2012-13 academic year. ASU received $90,000 from the consortium, with $40,000 of that amount supporting graduate and undergraduate research scholarships.
Established by Congress and implemented by NASA, the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program contributes to the nation’s science enterprise by funding research, education and public service projects through a national network of 52 Space Grant consortia.
Kelley received a $7,000 N.C. Space Grant Graduate Fellowship for his project titled “Development of an Electrostatic Precipitator to Remove Martian Dust from ISRU (In Situ Resource Utilization) Gas Intakes.”
Kelley will study the use of electrostatic precipitators to remove Martian dust from gas intakes on equipment that collects oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. He will conduct research in special chambers that simulate the Martian environment in the Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Removal of dust, which is believed to exist in very tiny, fine particles on Mars, will be crucial to a successful manned mission to the planet.
“In order to establish the self-sufficiency required for the type of long duration mission that Mars will require, supplies will need to be processed from the local environment,” Kelley said in an ASU release.
“Resources such as oxygen, water and methane for fuel can be extracted from the Martian atmosphere, but only once the dust has been removed. The design of an (electrostatic precipitator) that can remove the dust from the atmospheric intakes of production chambers is vital to the sustainability and cost effectiveness of future manned missions to Mars,” he said.
Last month, Kelley was announced as the winner of the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School’s James Greene Graduate Fellowship in the Sciences.
Also receiving funding from the N.C. Space Grant Consortium was ASU student Jay Phillips of Dallas, who received a $6,000 scholarship for research on electrodynamic screens that best repel or limit dust accumulation when a high voltage traveling wave is applied to the screen.
The students will work under the guidance of Dr. J. Sid Clements from ASU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and Dr. Carlos Calle, head of the NASA Kennedy Space Center Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory.
Clements has worked with NASA for eight years refining a system that uses electrostatic forces to remove dust from solar panels on the unmanned exploration vehicles on Mars.
Other students who received research grants from the N.C. Space Grant Consortium are graduate students Kevin Holloway, who received $6,000 to work with physics associate professor Jim Sherman, and Ashley Roberts, who received $6,000 to work on research with physics professor Phil Russell.
Undergraduate research scholarships totaling $5,000 each were awarded to undergraduate physics majors Eitan Lees and Courtney Bougher for work with assistant professor Brad Conrad.
Environmental science major Stephanie Hoelbling received a $4,000 award for work with assistant professor Barkley Sive.
Since 2005, ASU faculty and students have received approximately $700,000 from N.C. Space Grant to support space science research and science, technology, engineering and math engagement activities.
–>National Space Grant College, N.C. Space Grant Graduate Fellowship, Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory <BR/>