A team of undergraduate students from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources has earned entry into the 2012 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage or RASC-AL competition. RASC-AL is a prestigious student design competition in which competing teams submit abstract proposals that describe solutions to one of four challenge themes.

“Our abstract proposes a plan for a manned mission to Mars,” said Jonathan Yancey, a junior chemical engineering student who serves as team leader. “The abstract details several solutions to problems hindering a Mars mission, including radiation, mission logistics, food storage, astronaut health and artificial gravity.”

In addition to the abstract, the teams are required to prepare a poster and oral presentation for the RASC-AL Forum, to be held June 11-13, in Cocoa Beach, Fla.

This is the first time a West Virginia University team has submitted an abstract for this competition.

“We organized our team over winter break and began working on our proposal when spring semester began,” explained Yancey. “We each researched topics for two weeks and wrote and revised the abstract over the course of one week.”

Scoring is based on the project evaluation criteria established by the RASC-AL steering committee and includes a section for education and public outreach activity.

“We intend to build awareness and interest within the organization and we hope to make the submission to RASC-AL an annual project,” Yancey said.

During the forum, qualifying teams will have the opportunity to interact with industry experts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; tour the Kennedy Space Center; and build relationships that may lead to internships, jobs or NASA student-research programs.

The WVU RASC-AL team is comprised entirely of students from the Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration. SPACE was established to provide students an emphasis toward developing and furthering space exploration.

WVU’s efforts are support by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, which is dedicated to building research infrastructure and promoting science, technology, engineering and math education in the state.



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CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon
304-293-4086; mary.dillon@mail.wvu.edu