University Students to Test Microgravity Research in Underwater Analog

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Twenty-four student teams from across the country are braving the depths of the world’s largest swimming pool through June to test their research in simulated microgravity as part of NASA’s Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) program.

The Micro-g NExT program 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.

The first test session was April 25-28; the next sessions will be May 23-26 and June 6-9.

The schools participating during the second test week, May 23- 26, are:

-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.

Media are invited to observe the student testing from the pool deck at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24. 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, by 5 p.m. Monday, May 23. 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 third test week.

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, and University of Nebraska Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The first test week, April 25-28, featured teams from 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, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Get more information about the Micro-g NExT program at:

Get more information about NASA’s education programs at:

Get more information about NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission at:

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