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.

Cady Coleman Visit

Astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman

Today, SEDS had the honor of being invited to a special luncheon sponsored by the Barrett Honors College and TEDx, featuring Astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman.  After being introduced by Barbara Barrett (who has also been trained as an astronaut), she gave a very entertaining and informative talk, regarding life in space during her six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) during Expedition 27.

Focusing mainly on the scientific research performed on the ISS, Coleman gave an overview of the various types of research the astronauts do.  From fluid dynamics to combustion, there is quite a bit that goes on in the orbiting laboratory.  She even cited some exciting research being done in collaboration with ASU’s very own Biodesign Institute.  The work being performed on the ISS provides great insight into aspects of nature that cannot be observed under the effects of gravity.  Flames behave differently, and perfect crystals can be grown in the microgravity environment.  Coleman mentioned her favorite experiments to perform involved fluid dynamics, and when she performed certain tasks, such as adding air to the fluid, the fluid did not behave as the scientists back on Earth predicted.  There are many questions still waiting to be solved, thanks to our astronauts on the ISS.

Coleman also shared a fun video of her playing a flute duet with the legendary Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, while she was in space and he was on Earth!  After her talk, she had a Q&A period, and the students attending had the opportunity to ask her their own questions of what it was like to live in space.  She even stayed to meet each of us in person, when all our questions were answered.

This is actually second time SEDS has had the opportunity to meet Cady Coleman.  We were invited to meet her at a similar luncheon two years ago, before her most recent trip to space.  Like last time, she was an overall wonderful person and always a pleasure to meet.  We at SEDS would like to thank Dr. Coleman for visiting ASU once again and sharing with us her spectacular experiences.  We wish her well on all her future endeavors!

SEDS with Cady Coleman and Barbara Barrett on March 1, 2012


Welcome to our brand new website!

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space at Arizona State University (SEDS ASU) is a chapter of the national SEDS organization.  We are a group of students dedicating to being active in the space industry, because we believe in enabling humankind to become a space-faring civilization.  We do this through engineering projects and outreach events.

Engineering projects allow us to develop our skills in creating certain technologies.  Our three primary on-going projects are high-powered rocketry, robotics, and high-altitude balloons.  We have a team building a high-powered rocket to compete in the 2nd Annual SEDS National Rocket Competition, which our chapter won last year.  Our team ASU Lunabotics is developing a lunar mining rover to compete in the 3rd Annual NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition in May 2012 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  SEDS ASU is also in charge of the ASU ASCEND team, which creates payloads to go on high-altitude weather balloons to do science in the upper stratosphere.

We also highly value outreach events, because in order for the exploration and development of space to continue, it is important that youth are excited and interested in space.  We accomplish this by going to elementary, middle, and high schools, giving presentations about various space-related topics.  Our ASU Lunabotics team has also helped a team of home-school students win the recent FIRST Robotics Competition!  In addition to this, we also celebrate world-wide space events, such as World Space Week and Yuri’s Night.

We hope you enjoy our new and improved website!  Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter!  For more information, head to the Contact page.