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Cerritos College Students Develop Tools for NASA’s Moon Exploration

Only community college in the nation selected for Phase II of Micro-g NExT 2022

Team Falcon CleverCerritos College’s student team was selected to advance to phase II of NASA’s 2022 Micro-g NExT challenge for the second consecutive year.  Team Falcons is the only community college team in the nation advancing to the final stage of the highly competitive event for 2022.

NASA’s Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) is part of its Artemis Student Challenges. Undergraduate students design, build and test a tool or device that addresses an authentic, current space exploration challenge. This challenge enables students to develop a tool or device needed by NASA and test their tool during a simulated mission in NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where astronauts train for spacewalks.

Team Falcons chose to design a lunar extravehicular activity (EVA) sample size location calibration marker. Nine students on the team developed the CLEVER (Cerritos Lunar Expandable Viewing Equipment for Rocks) design concept for a marker that is different from the one used by Apollo astronauts. The team developed a design proposal along with an outreach plan to engage students of all ages in engineering design and other STEM fields. In the coming months, Team Falcons will work with a NASA mentor to refine its design and prototype it for testing at Johnson Space Center. The team’s design could be used in future space missions. 

Cerritos College has also participated in NASA’s NCAS on Campus program since its pilot phase in 2019. The program will open for application on February 9, 2022.

“Participating in Micro-g NExT allows students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to contribute to real NASA missions,” said Janet Mclarty-Schroeder, chair of physics, astronomy, and engineering, that has coordinated all NASA opportunities on campus. “Our students continue to demonstrate they are capable of achieving great work among their peers at four-year schools despite many university teams having greater resources than community colleges.” 

For more information about NCAS, please visit https://www.cerritos.edu/sem/NCAS.htm or contact Janet McLarty-Schroeder. Follow Team Falcons’ adventures on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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