2 Indian Teenagers Miss NASA 3-D Challenge Award, Ryan Beam’s in-Space Plant Factory Wins

nasa challengeThe prestigious NASA’s 3-D Challenger award has gone to Ryan Beam of California, while the most-anticipated hopefuls — Rajan Vivek from Arizona and Prasanna Krishnamoorthy from Delaware — failed to win it.

The NASA 3-D space Container Challenge asked students to design models of containers that could help astronauts keep things in order in space and the top ten finalists included the two Indian-origin students.

Ryan Beam was able to impress the judges with his ClipCatch design that lets astronauts in space to clip their fingernails without bothering about the clippings floating away and become harmful debris in the future. His Hydroponic Plant Box container answers the problem of containing water in a microgravity environment while still allowing plants to grow roots in it.

Ryan Beam of Scotts Valley, California, designed the winning container in the Teen Group, ages 13-19. His ClipCatch design will allow astronauts on the space station to clip their fingernails without worrying about the clippings floating away and potentially becoming harmful debris.

Emily Takara from Cupertino, California, designed the winning container from the Junior Group, ages 5-12. Her design is a Flower Tea Cage, which uses the surface tension of liquids in a microgravity environment to allow astronauts to make tea. In space, liquids form spheres and adhere to things they touch.

Student challenge winner
Student Emily Takara with her winning design, the Flower Tea Cage, in the Future Engineers 3-D Space Container Challenge.
Credits: Emily Takara

The top 10 entries from each age group are:

Teen Group

  • Ryan Beam, Scotts Valley, California – ClipCatch
  • Heather Mercieca, Monrovia, California – ECOntainer
  • Geoffrey Thomas, Westford, Massachusetts – Expandable Container
  • Rajan Vivek, Scottsdale, Arizona – Hydroponic Plant Box
  • Reid Barton, Los Gatos, California – InstaTube
  • N’yoma Diamond, Croton on Hudson, New York – Store-All Container
  • Treyton Bostick, North Street, Michigan – Grow Plants in Space
  • Casey Johnson, Bedford, Pennsylvania – Paste Dispenser Tube
  • Katherine Baney, Rohnert Park, California – Petri Tower
  • Prasanna Krishnamoorthy, Hockessin, Delaware – Collapsible Container

Junior Group

  • Sarah Daly, Columbia, Maryland – Fly Feeder 7.0
  • Emily Takara, Cupertino, California – Flower Tea Cage
  • William Van Dyke, Kingwood, Texas – Space Terrarium v.4
  • Vera Zavadskaya, Verona, New Jersey – Aquarius
  • Yosef ‘Joey’ Granillo, University City, Missouri – Laundroball
  • Nagasai Sreyash Sola, Ashburn, Virginia – Centrivac Container
  • Emma Drugge, Norwalk, California – Explorer Puzzle Box
  • Joseph Quinn, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin – Secret Container Cup
  • Ansel Austin, Cupertino, California – Galaxy Box
  • Ermis Theodoridis, Katy, Texas – EcoBOX

The 3-D Space Container Challenge, which supports NASA’s In-space Manufacturing Initiative, is the second in a series of Future Engineers 3-D Printing challenges for students focused on designing solutions to real-world space exploration problems.

Rajan’s Hydroponic Plan Box allows space missions to grow plants in the space during their journey that may span over a year or become a plant growing factory in space missions. As NASA is planning to send plant life in its next mission in 2017, this may prove crucial for the mission to grow plants without soil. Moreover, it requires less soil and limited space, suitable for space-borne voyage. Its elasticity allows the container to expand with the plants growing and compress fully when it is empty.

Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s In-Space Manufacturing project chief, said:“Being able to 3-D print technical parts, as well as the lifestyle items that we use every day will not only help enable deep space travel, but can make the trip more pleasant for astronauts.”

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation has managed the competition for NASA called the Future Engineers 3-D Space Container Challenge yesterday. The students were allowed to spend their summer holidays to design the containers using 3-D modelling software, which will be put to experiment initially on the International Space Station and use it for the Mars exploration scheduled for 2017 and 2020.

One comment

  1. Hey, just wanted to point out that I did not design the Hyroponic Plant Box, that was actually Rajan’s awesome design.

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