Meghan is co-leading the systems engineering for a rover that will actually launch to the moon in 2021.
“One of the most inspiring challenges of humankind is exploring the unknown, and space provides us with an unlimited potential for exploration.”
This rover will break new ground for space exploration: it will be the first-ever commercially scalable design, using affordable components and weighing less than 4.4 pounds. Companies could purchase and customize it for their own space endeavors.
This incredbile feat is Meghan’s first engineering project.
“I don't have all of the technical skills, but systems is a good segway from my physics background. You already have that mindset of analyzing every little detail. So I do well with looking at the big picture, but also the nitty-gritty of the different subsystems.”
She started working with the Carnegie Mellon lab that's heading up this project in the fall, then took on the co-lead role this summer as her Honors Brackenridge Fellowship project. She helps ensure things are in order for the project's NASA reviews.
“We get so comfortable building and innovating for Earth’s surface, but developing this kind of technology requires the thought and design that can withstand the vacuum of space and operate on a surface with 1⁄6 the gravity.”
To account for gravity differences, the team off-weights the rover with a helium balloon. They also have to mitigate the electrostatic moon dust that can kick up when the rover lands, and use special test materials that simulate the moon’s surface.
Meghan hopes this hands-on leadership experience will give her an edge when she applies for graduate schools in engineering.
Cross boundaries like Meghan.
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