Dartmouth Undergraduates Recognized by NASA


A team of Dartmouth students have been selected to participate in NASA’s 2011 Microgravity University program, which enables college students to perform research in a zero-gravity environment.


(courtesy Microgravity University)

Team TEFNUT (Thermal Exchanger For Null-gravity hUmidity Transport), consisting of undergraduates Sean Currey ’11, Broghan Cully ’11, and Julianna Scheiman ’11 and Thayer dual-degree candidates Max Fagin, Michael Kellar, and William Voigt, developed the project for the “Engineering Design Methodology and Project Initiation/Completion” course at the Thayer School of Engineering. The course, through which Team TEFNUT was sponsored by NASA’s Glenn Research Center, encourages students to engage in real-life problem-solving projects for industry sponsors.

The research project will develop a dehumidifier that will use porous graphite to extract moisture from a spacecraft’s cabin. Microgravity University will allow the group to test the project in June. The system, if successful, could be installed in a future spacecraft, replacing a less efficient system currently in use on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.

“We are very fortunate to have been selected for this program so that we can test our project in a gravitational environment similar to that of an in-flight space shuttle,” says Cully. “Besides the educational importance of this flight, our group is extremely excited to float around in zero gravity.”


Intern Sean Currey ’11 seals the Storage Safe Fuels test rig in test cell CE-13A at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. (Image credit: NASA/Bernice Beznoska)

Team member, Currey, who interned with NASA’s Glenn Research Center this past summer, was also nominated to the 2011 NASA’s Student Ambassadors. The honor acknowledges his remarkable contributions to NASA as an intern.

“I am so honored to have been selected for this program,” says Currey. “In the future, I hope to design complex manned spaceflight vehicles, and this program will prepare me to work with people from diverse technical and social backgrounds.”

As an ambassador, Currey will receive educational opportunities and career guidance from current NASA staff members.

Tiffany Pollack