GV students take on NASA's Micro-g NExT project
November 12, 2018
For the past three years, GVSU engineering students have undertaken this task to create a new, innovative space tool. This year, seven students have been working on their design in hopes of being one of the three teams chosen to fly to the NASA headquarters in Houston to test their prototype.
The GVSU team has risen to the challenge of designing a mini-arm end effector, which is essentially a tool that will be attached to the end of a robot arm. This design will be used to explore underneath the ice-covered surfaces of moons such as Europa and Enceladus, and must be able to grasp ice crystals. Since the robot will be exploring the “Ocean Worlds” of space, the students are required to design a tool that can operate underwater and sample surrounding water and ice-structures.
“The goal of the project is to design a small, self-contained robotic manipulator that will be attached to an articulated mechanical arm,” said Douglas Furton, a GVSU physics professor and the faculty adviser of the team. “The arm has already been designed and built by NASA. The manipulator, or 'effector' as it has been called, proposed by the Project: Europa team, will be able to pick up and handle delicate ice cores and other objects in a relatively extreme environment: underwater on distant solar-system planets and moons.” Continue Reading