Looking Back, Moving Forward

2013 has been a fantastic year to Arizona State University’s chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS-ASU). Just a few of the things we have accomplished this year include hosting a very successful convention, winning the chapter of the year award, and having several of our members elected to the national organization. As we reflect on our accomplishments this last turn around the sun, we want to give you a peek at our current efforts to extend the reach of students into the final frontier.

For SEDS-ASU, fall semester was a whirlwind of excitement, culminating over a year of planning that resulted in the soaring success of SpaceVision 2013. Four days of panels, booths, late-night brainstorming, keynote speakers, mixers, and a five-star banquet ended with SEDS-ASU being awarded Chapter of the Year. With our industry partners, over 23 chapters, and 400 students attending, SpaceVision 2013 showed that ASU is a mecca for ideas that expand the borders of human reach into the cosmos.

Amidst the hubbub of talks on faster than light travel and the discovery of huge stores of water beneath Gale Crater, the council of chapters and the board of directors met behind closed doors. The results of this being two of our own members welcomed into the national administration. Jack Lightholder has been awarded the Vice Chair, and John Conafay is to be Treasurer.  Congratulations to both of them, and we wish them luck in their new positions on the national committee.

Looking to the future, we see a second launch of the Dust Devils microgravity experiment aboard a ZERO-G flight. Investigating the coagulation and electrification of dust particles in a weightless environment, the Microgravity team hopes to find inspiration for a model of the mechanism behind protoplanetary disc formation and the genesis of asteroidal masses. This mission will take off from Johnson Space Center this April.

Finally, a new startup project called MarsTrac is making headway towards its goal of bringing open source to outer space. Using publicly sourced plans and leveraging 3D printers, the group aims at designing off-world construction equipment using in-situ resources. Concurrently, SEDS-ASU has been investing time in certifying members in machine shop skills and building a crash course in 3-D design. If last year was any indication, Arizona State University has only just begun making its mark on the universe.