Capstone team named finalist in NASA Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-Changing Idea Challenge

NASA BIG Idea ChallengeA team of mechanical engineering seniors at Texas A&M University has risen to the challenge and has been selected as one of five finalists in the 2018 NASA Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-Changing (BIG) Idea Challenge.

The BIG Idea Challenge supports development of innovative and high-impact technologies for use in a broad array of future NASA missions. The challenge allows students to incorporate their coursework into real aerospace design concepts and work together in a team environment.

This year’s challenge is to develop solar panels for a future Mars mission, where supplying reliable electric power for humans on the Martian surface is a critical technology need. The Texas A&M team—comprised of seniors Gabrielle Adams, Joshua Banks, Bryan Calleros, Cole Frazier and Uday Toodi—must design, model and test a series of solar panels that can be autonomously deployed on Mars. The panels would generate power before the astronauts arrived and would be used as a power generation system throughout the duration of the mission.

As part of the challenge, the team developed a video simulating their solar panel design. 

Their design will be tested against four other universities during the 2018 BIG Idea Forum on March 6 hosted at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, to present their concepts in an evaluative design review.