Work on the lengthy TEDP report (Technical Equipment Data Package) continues as we finalize our design. This report is one of the larger and more dreaded portions of the project but the team is tackling it with vigor. We continue to improve the design of the final product as hours of testing finally come to life as everything falls into place. There are still many smaller challenges to work through such as camera mounts while we go through the final design stages.
Our first presentation at Donegan Elementary School went really well. We worked with 20 4th grade students to build and modify oversized paper airplanes. The kids seemed to really enjoy the project and at the same time were able to learn some about the design and modification process. The winning airplane flew over 50ft across the gymnasium after being launched from our custom made rubber band powered launcher.
We just received another batch of 1000 fly pupa. The picture shows the pupa ready to hatch. The process is surprisingly easy, all that is required is sugar water for food and some saw dust in a ventilated container. To start the process off the temperature of the pupa must be raised to around 90 degrees. To hatch flies from the egg stage onwards is a little more tricky and is a process that we are still refining to get successful results. The goal is to have a constantly reproducing stream of flies.
Construction of a working concept model is underway. The exterior dimensions are 60in x 60in x 24in the largest allowed area by NASA. We are hoping this large area will help with fly control and allow the cameras to be mounted inside the outer box to provide better picture quality. This model will be bringing together all the previous successful research into one apparatus.
A small computer fan placed behind a scented rag does a good job of attracting flies. The computer fan is almost entirely silent and while it does push huge amounts of air it fits this purpose well. Experimentation with different methods of attracting flies continues.
The micro gravity team will be working with the 5th grade students at Donegan Elementary School April 5th and 19th. We will be holding a paper airplane design competition with the students and will be working to help educate them on some of the basic principles of flight.
Group members working on optimizing the NASA outreach program for 5th and 8th grade students. Highlights include a paper airplane competition where the students will have the opportunity to visually see how different designs can have a signification impact in flight performance. The ultimate goal of the program is to get young students interested in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum.
The Lehigh University Micro Gravity Team was selected by NASA to fly aboard a modified Boeing 727 airplane that provides simulated zero gravity for periods of 20-30 seconds at a time. As part of the criteria for acceptance into the program Lehigh University’s team is required to perform outreach events to encourage interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Our team would like to provide educational presentations to help facilitate interest in the STEM curriculums. We will have planned activities but would also be interested in working with the school and teachers to come up with ideas to fit into the curriculum.