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University Students to Test Microgravity Research in Underwater Analog

Press Release From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2016

Twenty-five student teams from across the country will brave the depths of the world’s largest swimming pool April-June to test their research in simulated microgravity as part of NASA’s Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) activity.

The Micro-g NExT activity challenges undergraduate students to design build, and test a tool or simulant that addresses an authentic, current space exploration problem related to NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission. The overall experience includes hands-on engineering design, test operations, and educational/public outreach.

Student teams will travel to Houston with their prototypes for the test operations portion of the program at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) -- a 6.2-million gallon indoor pool used to train NASA astronauts for spacewalks. Professional divers will test the tools and students will direct the divers from the Test Conductor Room of the NBL facility.

Test sessions will be April 25-28, May 23-26 and June 6-9.

The schools participating during the first test week, April 25-28, are:

-Art Institute of Seattle in Seattle, Washington
-Boise State University in Boise, Idaho
-Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia
-University of Alabama Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
-University of California San Diego in San Diego, California
-University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida
-Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia

Media are invited to observe the student testing from the pool deck at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, April 26. Media will not be permitted to put filming equipment underwater but will have the ability to request NASA video files of the underwater views during testing.

Media representatives who wish to attend should contact Hayley Fick at 281-483-5111 or hayley.m.fick@nasa.gov, by 5 p.m. Monday, April 25. Media must arrive at JSC's main gate no later than 7:30 a.m. for the Tuesday testing.

Additional media availabilities will be announced for the second and third test weeks.

The second test week, May 23 – 26, will feature teams from:

-Columbia University in New York, New York
-Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri
-Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana
-Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York
-University of Maryland College Park in College Park, Maryland
-University of Texas Dallas in Dallas, Texas
-University of Texas El Paso in El Paso, Texas
-University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Texas
-West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia

The third test week, June 6 – 9, will feature teams from:

-Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
-Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida
-Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California
-North Lake College in Irving, Texas
-Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma
-University of Alabama Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa, Alabama|
-University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in Urbana, Illinois
-University of Nebraska Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebraska

For more information, about the Micro-g NExT program, visit:

https://microgravityuniversity.jsc.nasa.gov/

For more information, about NASA’s education programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/education

For more information, about NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/asteroids/initiative/index.html

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