Thursday, August 11, 2016

Caleb Christianson, a JPL intern and NanoEngineering Ph.D. student, takes over the Jacobs School's Instagram for a day

Summer interns from UC San Diego. These students represent multiple majores, including computer science and engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, nanoengineering, and Earth sciences.

From left to right: Diana Alsindy, Christian Gutierrez, Hannah Munguia, David Ruble, Neil Chandiramani, Nicholas Lopez, Annie Chen, Nolan Fewell, Kyle Mirzakhanian, Rahul Palamuttam, Matt Epperson, Leon Cheung, and Caleb Christianson. 

Nanoengineering Ph.D. student Caleb Christianson took over the Jacobs School Instagram account (@ucsandiegoengineering) yesterday, August 10, to give us a preview of what it's like to be a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory intern designing and robot that can hover above asteroids! In case you missed it, here's a recap:

A video posted by UC San Diego Engineering (@ucsandiegoengineering) on

A photo posted by UC San Diego Engineering (@ucsandiegoengineering) on

Here is more about the project Caleb worked on this summer, via JPL's newsletter:

Glide, don't land, to study an asteroid
There's intense interest in studying asteroids, but the challenge is getting near them. There isn't enough gravity or atmosphere to allow a spacecraft to touch down without ricocheting off the surface.
But why land when you can glide? JPLer Marco Quadrelli's Electrostatic Glider (E-Glider) was inspired by the idea of dust fountains visible on our moon's surface: when warmed by the sun, these dust particles gain an electrostatic charge. The same principle turns every asteroid or comet's dust into a weak but usable power supply.
Quadrelli's glider would be a low-cost craft attached to foil-like streamers. These streamers would inflate and lift based on the electrostatic energy around them. The glider could then be steered around an asteroid and perform basic science readings on its composition

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