Several Clarkson University students, in conjunction with students from three international universities, will find out soon whether their proposal to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts—Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition has been chosen to move to the next phase.
Clarkson’s Robert H. Hill Professor of Mechanical Engineering Goodarz Ahmadi, who acts as the faculty advisor for the project, said the group has prepared a proposal for a short surface stay on Mars titled Project Coeus. The five students from Clarkson are also working remotely with students from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and KAIST, a national research university located in South Korea.
According to the mission profile definition outlined by the project team, the mission objective of Project Coeus is to achieve the first human landing on another planet and facilitate the search for life on Mars. This mission will focus on providing a sustainable architecture for synergistic travel, landing, and surface activities.
Luke Gries ‘20, a mechanical engineering student and team leader for the project, said the project has been ongoing since the beginning of the fall semester and has been an insightful learning experience.
“I have always been fascinated with space-related technologies, and it was a great way to apply all the knowledge I gained from reading books, listening to podcasts and watching documentaries on the subject,” Gries said. “International cooperation was amazing as well. We used an online platform called Slack to communicate effectively and efficiently to work as a cohesive team while being on opposite ends of the globe.”
Gries also stressed the amount of teamwork that went into the final project proposal by students from different universities involved.
“Each team was able to focus on their area of interest, and expertise,” he said. “This made for some fantastic technical work, as well as great overall planning and mission structure.”
Also involved in the project from Clarkson are Zachary Chapman, a double major in Electrical Engineering and Software Engineering, Myrna Gonzalez a Mechanical Engineering major, George E. Oulundsen IV a Mechanical Engineering major, and Colin Graham and William Duma, both Aeronautical Engineering majors.
Additional faculty advisors for the project include Associate Professor and Director of the Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Laboratories Carl Hoover, and Paynter-Krigman Endowed Professor in Engineering Science Simulation and Chair of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Brian Helenbrook.
If Project Coeus is chosen by NASA to continue to the next phase, Gries said the next step is a more in-depth technical paper on the proposal.