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DU students head for NASA contest

Pratik Kumar, New Delhi, Apr 19, 2014, DHNS : 1:50 IST

A group of undergraduate students from Delhi University is set to participate in an international aerospace competition sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The team's selection came after their proposal to build a habitat for astronauts got shortlisted for the contest.

The participants say that their design would enable a longer stay in space for astronauts, who are travelling through NASA's future space mission, ORION.

The group of 20 undergraduate students from Kirori Mal College, ‘Robo-physicists’, is one of the 14 teams from across the world to participate in the final round of the competition RASC-AL (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems and Academic Linkage). The competition will be held in Florida in June.

“In this competition, we have to design a transit habitat for cis-lunar space (space between the earth and the orbit of the moon). Most of the ongoing missions are in lower earth orbit, but our design will enable missions beyond lower earth orbit,” said one of the participants Shivani Lochab.


The team is working in collaboration with University of North Florida, said Dr Sumitra Mohanty of Kirori Mal College, who is mentoring the students. She said that the team in collaboration with University of North Florida had submitted an abstract on the planned mission to launch the transit habitat.

“Now we are trying to get sponsorship for the students,” said Dr Mohanty, adding that DU has agreed for a partial funding.

“We are working hard to make an excellent technical report to be presented at the forum,” said Lochab.

The teams with the top two winning papers will be invited to present their design projects to industry experts at a major aerospace conference.

The college team would also participate in the University Rover Challenge which is held annually at the Mars Desert Research Station in the remote, barren desert of southern Utah in the United States.

Dr Mohanty said that the students have designed a prototype of a mars rover that will traverse wirelessly on Martian soil.

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