NASA recently selected the University of Texas at Dallas’ eight-member Temoc Space Industries team through its Micro-g NExT design competition, which will see the students test an asteroid anchoring system at the Johnson Space Center in Houston in May.
The tool, dubbed the SCooping AsteRoid Ancor Borer (SCARAB) Anchoring Device for Regolish, is a shovel-like device that users push down into a surface, then pull a cable attached to the scoop to pull it into a 90-degree position, creating an anchor. It also features a force gauge that is attached to the cable, allowing users to measure its pulling resistance. The team will take part in a test of SCARAB in the Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, a 6.2 million-gallon indoor pool, guiding divers from a mini-mission control system.
“This was not part of a class project or anything,” Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering James Hilkert, the team’s faculty adviser, said. “They are seeing how a fairly simple task becomes a good challenge in a space environment. They also get some real good interaction with NASA engineers. I think it’s really good for the University.”
The team features five mechanical engineering students – team leader Craig Hartnell, Seth Abramczyk, Israel Rowland, Jordan Collins and Miguel Santillan; two geosciences students – Kaitlan Angel and Alessandra Sealander; and biomedical engineering student Andrew Nguyenba.