• January 10, 2022

    WSU Team Wins Top NASA Honor for Moon Dust Project

    A student team from PacTrans Consortium partner Washington State University won the prestigious Artemis Award at NASA’s Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge. The team successfully built and demonstrated a prototype to clean lunar dust from spacesuits. 

    The 2022 BIG Idea Challenge provides undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to design, develop, and demonstrate robotic systems with alternative rover locomotion modalities for use in off-world extreme lunar terrain applications. Through this challenge, NASA seeks innovative ideas from the academic community for a wide range of alternative rover locomotion modalities to either enhance or replace traditional wheeled mobility systems that can expand access to extreme terrain on the Moon and (later) on Mars.

    The team was one of seven from around the U.S. who competed in the challenge. They received a $130,000 grant earlier this year to complete a prototype and presented their project to NASA judges in November 2021. The students also received an award for the best technical paper at the event. 

    The project was led by Ian Wells, a junior in mechanical engineering, and included Camden Butikofer, Nathaniel Swets, and Lauren Reising, mechanical engineering undergraduates; John Bussey, an undergraduate in materials science and chemical engineering; and graduate students Stasia Kulsa and Gregory Wallace. In addition to Leachman, the team was advised by Professors John McCloy and Konstantin Matveev in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at the Washington State University. 

    Congratulations WSU team!