Project/blog link:2017: A Space Odyssey BASIS Advisor: Kolb Ettenger Internship location: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Onsite Mentor: Jason Reimuller, Author, Project PoSSUM
2017: A Space Odyssey will examine how a new generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers plan to traverse the vast wastes of space and learn more about our place in the universe. Instead of learning about the engineering challenges that lie ahead, I plan to experience them first-hand. I will intern with the engineering team at R-3 Aerospace, who are building a novel rocket engine that will dramatically lower the cost of traveling into space. This will give me an understanding of the engineering involved at the nuts-and-bolts level of spacecraft. I will participate in the civilian astronaut training program, hosted by the Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesophere (PoSSUM) program. My training at PoSSUM will be a valuable insight into the human element of space exploration, a field known as bioastronautics. This foray into bioastronautics will include experiences ranging from high-g conditioning to learning how to use a spacesuit. Finally, I will explore cave systems in the American southwest to analyze the environment and life-forms likely to be found on the subsurface of Mars and other planets. Learning how to analyze these subterranean microbes, known as extremophiles, will be key to humanity's exploration of space.