New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
A group of senior undergraduate students came together as part of a non-traditional capstone design project. The assignment was to take part in the NASA RASC-AL competition and required adjustment to the class curriculum. Two examples are that a direct point of contact from the customer would not be possible as there is no specific person at NASA meant to act as the customer and the submission deadline was after the semester concluded. The students were all from the mechanical engineering department and had a fascination with space technology but came from vastly different demographic backgrounds representing multiple spheres of diversity. This diversity brought unique and unexpected approaches to the project. The project required close interaction of the group throughout and after the semester to accomplish a very difficult goal: the design of a full scale lunar ice extraction facility capable of running autonomously and producing at least 100 metric tonnes of ice per year. The operational plan is to be accompanied by a detailed budget and launch plans to begin taking effect in 2025. Having no experience working with one another prior to this project, the group was required to quickly develop a productive team ethos to address such a large challenge. The aim of this study is to assess the outcomes and reactions during a project from a diverse group of students attempting to complete an unusual capstone design. Accompanying this are pre-, intra-, and post-project surveys to assess effectiveness of the group on key project issues. The primary research questions to answer are: does the perception of the group regarding effectiveness positively correlate with the feelings of ownership of the project and feelings that the individual students’ passions are being considered. Further, because the competition is staged and set to go on the full academic year, the students are interviewed regarding plans on continuing the project beyond the current semester when the majority of the team will have graduated.
Zusack, S. A., & Patil, R., & Lachenman, S., & Johnson, C. A., & Schubert, P. J., & McDaniel, N. (2016, June), Capstone Design Project Experience: Lunar Ice Extraction Design Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26442
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