A team of twenty undergraduates of Physics from Kirori Mal College are set to participate in a NASA sponsored international aerospace competition RASC-AL (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems and Academic Linkage). The Robo Physicist Society of Kirori Mal College, under the guidance of Dr. Sumitra Mohanty (Department of Physics), submitted one of the seven papers on Enabling Long Duration Missions through Holistic Habitat Design which were shortlisted for the further competition.
The competition RASC-AL will be held from 17th to 19th June, 2014 in Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA. Being the only Indian team among the fourteen other shortlisted teams from all over the world, they will be working on designing a transit habitat for astronauts enabling them to stay longer in the space. The project will be partially funded by Delhi University, although there is lack of funds and the college is looking for sponsors.
The Robo Physicist Society of KMC, in the past five years has participated in NASA Great MOONBuggy Race, Lunabotics, the Rover Challenge and for the first time in RASC-AL. “Being the only team to win two awards last year at Lunabotics gave us the confident to participate in RASC-AL this year for the first time.” said Dr. Sumitra Mohanty, “Our team got selected and we are really proud of that.” According to Rashi Monga, a second year student of Physics of the college, they had to study the basics of astronomy and other technical terms to get a better understanding of their project. “Once getting selected in the competition, we were given a call in which we were described what we had to do and what were the requirements from the NASA site. The language was not related to physics basically so we had to start our study from the basics.” If they win the competition, they will be given a presentation slot in the aerospace conference organized by two of the major aerospace societies including AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) enabling them to present their views to scientists and astronauts.
Apart from RASC-AL, the team will also be participating in the annual University Rover Challenge at Mars Desert Research Station in deserts of southern Utah. “This is a completely KMC based project involving no other team.” Said Rashi Monga, “Unlike previously, we have to build a robot which could not only dig but also walk on the rugged terrain of Mars along with conducting scientific data like being able to distinguish which type of bacteria is present in the soil.”
The Robo Physicist Society and the Department of Physics are proud to a part of the competition and plan to do well.
Image credits: KMC Robo Physicists Facebook page