NASA, June 6, 2014
NASA has selected 13 undergraduate teams from minority-serving institutions across the United States to test their science experiments in microgravity conditions. The teams will travel on a Reduced Gravity Education Flight (RGEF) with NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) the week of July 7.
Each team designs, flies and evaluates a reduced-gravity experiment that aims to fill technology needs and knowledge gaps previously identified by NASA. They will test their experiments aboard a specially modified aircraft able to simulate a reduced-gravity environment. The aircraft flies approximately 30 sets of rollercoaster-like climbs and dives, producing periods of near weightlessness and hypergravity ranging from 0 to 2 g’s.
“We are excited that our program provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring scientists and engineers to study and understand their craft. By participating in this innovative program, the students gain useful skills through collaborative planning and teamwork,” said Frank Prochaska, RGEF program manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The 2014 MUREP teams are from Austin Community College, Austin, Texas; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Dallas County Community College District, Dallas; Gadsden State Community College, Gadsden, Alabama; San Jose State University, San Jose, California; Texas Southern University, Houston; University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Robeson Community College, Pembroke, North Carolina; University of Houston; University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida; University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico; University of Southern California, Los Angeles; University of Texas at El Paso; and, University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg.
MUREP is committed to the recruitment of underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to sustain a diverse workforce. Participation in NASA projects and research stimulates students to continue their studies at all levels of higher education and earn advanced degrees in these critical fields.