Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium

Expanding Frontiers Spring/Summer 2006

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Table of Contents:

'99 alumnus probes secrets of snow & space;
'03 grad has Mars landing in sight

Hans-Peter Marshall taking snowpack measurements

Hans-Peter Marshall taking snowpack stratigraphy measurements in Davos, Switzerland, where he was a visiting doctoral student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in 2004.

Finishing his freshman year, Hans-Peter Marshall knew he liked science and the outdoors, but it took Space Grant's Summer Undergraduate Research Program to bring the two together.

"I didn't even know what glaciology was," said Marshall, a '99 alumnus. But after working with UW Professors Ed Waddington and Howard Conway on avalanche physics at Snoqualmie Pass and glaciology in the Olympics, he was hooked on the study of ice and snow.

Since then, his research has twice taken him to Antarctica. On his second trip, he also partnered with a Colorado middle school through the National Science Foundation's K-12 Engineering Outreach Fellowship Program, teaching math and science and illustrating the usefulness of both through his research.

As a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Hans-Peter received a NASA Earth Systems graduate fellowship and worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). He credits his Space Grant experience with leading directly to his graduate research on the NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX) — a multi-sensor, multi-scale experiment that focuses on extending a local-scale understanding of water fluxes, storage, and transformations to regional and global scales.

"I don't know if I would be here if I hadn't gotten involved with research as an undergraduate," he said. Using math and physics in the field was revelation. "I saw where they could be applied and they became tools to me."

As part of his CLPX work, Hans-Peter redesigned special high frequency radar equipment for detecting the structure and liquid water equivalent of snow into a portable model that also has applications in locating land mines.

Last winter, he completed his civil engineering doctorate and received three-year grants from NASA to continue his research into snow and glacier hydrology, and its applications in space exploration.

Devin Kipp, an '03 alumnus, began working with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars laboratory last August.

"It's just amazing," he says. He is part of a team working on the entry, descent and landing technology for a Mars rover that will launch in 2009.

The spacecraft has eight thrusters. "We'll turn the thrusters to slow to a hover about 20 meters above the surface while we lower the rover beneath us on a bridle," he says.

"At that point, the craft will descend slowly and set the rover gently on the surface before we cut the bridle and fly the rest of the spacecraft to a safe distance. The whole thing has to be automated because the light travel time is too long to control it from here."

Devin received his master's degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology where he worked with the Space Systems Design Laboratory's planetary exploration group on Mars atmospheric entry vehicles.

He says he's lucky to be able to work on a project, see it launch and land, all within his first five years with NASA.

Devin grew up in the Renton area and has always had a passion for space. As a kid, he once looked up at the stars so much that he fell over on his head trying to take in more of the sky — a story his mother still enjoys sharing.

Without his Space Grant scholarship and its Summer Undergraduate Research Program, Devin's family might have been telling different stories about his dreams and his career.

"I think I probably would have gone to community college for two years, then transferred in," he says. "The scholarship gave me a chance to focus on schoolwork and get involved with research."

That experience taught him how the research community works and how industry works. "The research opportunities were the big things that made a difference," he says.

Alumni, share your news

Tell us what major events have happened in your life: a new job, marriage, children, retirement, advanced degrees, you name it.

Mail to: Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, or e-mail nasa@u.washington.edu

'Pasconauts' are flying this summer

In August, Pasco High School teacher David Hege and students Stefanie Garcia, Erin Anderson, Arieal Hale and Paulo Orozco will be testing their investigations into water-air surface interfaces in microgravity.

Their in-flight experience aboard Zero Gravity Corporation's modified Boeing 727-200 is the result of a unique partnership with SEDS-UW, a student organization aimed at promoting space exploration and development.

"The students will see the potential of science and have a good time," said the group's president, Space Grant scholar Annamarie Askren.

The students say they can't wait to fly. Annamarie, Jeff Boulware, Michael Frostad, Katie Volz and Space Grant scholar Jaime Hale also hope to be aboard the flight, flying their experiment — a follow-up to the fluid mechanics experiment Jeff conducted two years ago through NASA's microgravity program. Space Grant is providing travel funds.

New Space Grant scholars aim for the top while helping others


Lorne Arnold


Michelle Sybouts

You could say Michelle Sybouts has her head in the stars, but her feet are firmly on the ground. Whether its leading her high school astronomy club, taking flight lessons or tutoring math and science, the Spokane resident has never lost site of her goal — to become an astronaut.

Lorne Arnold shares Michelle's passion for teaching others. A Tacoma resident and peer tutor, Lorne says he would like to follow his physics teacher's example, first working in the field as a mechanical or civil engineer then turning to the classroom to share his knowledge and experience.

Lorne and Michelle are two of the 15 talented incoming freshmen that will join the ranks of Space Grant scholars attending the University of Washington this fall.

Space Grant awards range in size from $1,000 to $5,500 annually. They can be renewed for up to four years contingent on NASA funding and students' meeting program requirements. This year 150 promising high school students applied for scholarships.

Michelle, who plans to major in aerospace engineering, excels in sports and music. She captained the Ferris High School soccer team and played flute with her school bands, and in the Spokane Youth Symphony.

Lorne, a National Honor Society member, served as student vice president at Covenant High School and competed in interscholastic water polo. He has also been awarded the Michael Anderson Memorial Scholarship, established in memory of the UW alumnus and NASA astronaut who died aboard the space shuttle Columbia.

Matching funds for the Space Grant scholarships are provided by the Office of Student Affairs, as well as the Mary Gates, Sigurd Olsen and Irving R. and Louise Donnergaard endowments.

Scholarships have also been offered to five community college students transferring to the University of Washington. These may be renewed for up to two years.

During the 2005-06 school year, Space Grant scholarships supported 71 incoming and continuing UW students.

Additional Space Grant scholarships and fellowships are awarded each year at Washington State University, Western Washington University, Whitman College, Seattle Central and North Seattle Community Colleges, Northwest Indian College, and University of Puget Sound.

SG Scholars' Achievements

Adam Przybilla of Seattle Central Community College; Brent Allen and Daniel Strother of Washington State University; Scott Moon, Greg Quetin and Angela Stickle, all of UW, are headed down to NASA JPL for summer internships.

Summer is a busy time for UW Space Grant scholars. Junior Mei Liu, a 2006 Goldwater Honorable Mention majoring in bioengineering and electrical engineering, heads to UC Santa Barbara for a biotech REU. Junior Katie Liu, a neurobiology and biochemistry major, will be working at Woods Hole Marine Laboratory in Massachusetts. Biology major Claire Muerdter, who spent last summer surveying dung beetles in Ecuador through the Howard Hughes Programs in Science, is working closer to home as a Seattle Audubon Society intern. Sam Burden, an electrical engineering major, received a robotics REU at the University of Pennsylvania. Nimisha Ghosh Roy, an earth and space sciences major, received a pre-service teaching internship at the Department of Energy in Richland. Astronomy and physics major Suzanne Hayward received an REU at the National Solar Observatory in New Mexico. Elena Wagner, a biochemistry major, received an internship with Amgen. Paul Lang, a chemical engineering major, is interning with Micron Technology in Boise, Idaho. Will Pittman, a computer engineering major, will be studying at the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska högskolan) in Stockholm.

Graduation news: Adam Van Etten, an astronomy and physics major, is headed to Stanford University to study physics. Noah Giansiracusa will continue his math studies at Brown University. Computer science and engineering (CSE) major Diane Hu is headed to the University of California San Diego. Jennifer (Kathleen) Fletcher, a physics major, is staying at UW to pursue a graduate degree in atmospheric sciences. Aeronautical engineering major Amanda Horike has been hired by Andrews Space, a Seattle technology engineering company. Feiya Wang, a technical communications major, will go from technical writing intern to full-time employee at Expeditors International. CSE major Jonathan Su will focus on computer graphics while pursuing his doctorate at Stanford University. Brandon Ballinger, another CSE major, has been hired by Google as a software engineer. After a summer of informal research at the University of Stuttgart, Jonathan Hiller will start his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Cornell University, working with bio-inspired robotics. Annamarie Askren is interning at Blue Origin this summer before she heads to CalTech to pursue her master's in aerospace engineering.


Explorer students' experiments take off

In June, teacher Janet Eidsmoe and four students from Key Peninsula Middle School (one of Washington's two NASA Explorer Schools) will travel to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to meet with NASA engineers and prepare their experiment to fly aboard the Orion suborbital rocket. The experiment was one of 10 selected nationwide.

Teacher Cindy Knisely and students Kelsey Wilkinson and Katya Lofdahl were invited to present at the NASA Student Symposium at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The students conducted a 15-minute presentation on KPMS's activities as a NASA Explorer School. The audience included NASA personnel and representatives from the 26 new Explorer Schools.