1. Trenton Abbott, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Aerospace Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Fuh-Gwo Yuan, Tuned Vibration Absorption with Shunted Piezoelectric Transducers

Abstract: Traditionally, the addition of a passive tuned mass damper to a structure has shown increased performance and safety by reducing critical vibrations. These mechanical damping systems are however too bulky or heavy for many applications, especially in the aerospace field. Passive electronic damping systems offer a lightweight alternative using shunted piezoelectric transducers (PZTs). When bonded into structures as an integrated structure, PZTs have the ability to efficiently transform mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa. Different combinations of electrical components such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors, can be connected to the PZT in a shunt, and they will introduce many beneficial effects on the vibrational response of the system. These components act analogous to components in a mechanical damper system and are normally tuned to absorb or counteract the harsh vibrations that occur at the structure’s natural frequency. For this project, a literature review of the current state of this technology was first conducted, and the fundamental equation of an impedance-shunted PZT for a simple 1-D system was derived. This equation enables the performance analysis of any combination of simple electrical components used for the shunt. Various shunts were analyzed and compared to determine the benefits and drawbacks of each system. Simple resistive shunts were found to produce vibrational peak damping that is helpful in weak noise reduction. An inductive shunt produces electrical resonance and can be tuned to suppress a target mode like a mechanical tuned mass damper. This shunt was shown to offer more powerful damping, but at a smaller frequency band. A capacitive shunt was found to change the effective stiffness of the PZT as if extra material was added to the structure. Currently, an integrated shunted PZT system is being modeled with ANSYS to enable a more-detailed, 2-D analysis of damping effects.

2. Shreyas Ashok, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Mechanical Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Tarek Echekki, Backdraft in Reduced Gravity Environments

Abstract: Backdrafts are violent events that occur when oxygen is suddenly introduced to an oxygen-depleted compartment fire. Backdraft events are primarily driven by the presence of gravity currents. However, there has been little research that has explored this phenomenon in reduced or zero-gravity situations. These situations could be relevant when dealing with fires on space stations, or on future bases on the Moon and Mars. In this study, the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator code was used to simulate the backdraft effect in a compartment under various reduced gravity situations. A fire was initially ignited in a sealed half of the compartment. After a certain amount of time, a divider was opened, allowing fresh oxygen to mix with the flame and causing a violent backdraft event. Various aspects of the backdraft, such as heat release, fire growth, and duration were determined. The results of the study suggest that the effects of backdraft are highly nonlinear based on the gravity constant. Even very small values of the gravity constant (on the order of 0.025g) are sufficient to create circulatory gravity currents that power backdrafts. However, in zero-gravity conditions, these circulatory gravity currents are absent, resulting in a significantly weakened backdraft.

3. Joe Brown, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Graduate – Masters, Major: Data Science, Advisor: Dr. Sara Rivero-Calle, Coauthors: Matt Chmelewski & Derek Markey, SeaHawk: North Carolina’s First Ocean Color CubeSat!

Abstract: As part of the SOCON project (Sustained Ocean Color Observations Using Nanosatellites, http://www.uncw.edu/socon), the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) developed and launched the first non-commercial ocean color CubeSat (SeaHawk) on December 3rd, 2018. This is a project led by Prof. Morrison and funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore foundation to proof capability of building a low-cost ocean color satellite using nanosatellite technology. The SeaHawk payload is a high spatial resolution multispectral ocean color sensor: the HawkEye. Some attractive features of the SeaHawk as compared to a previous ocean color satellite, SeaWiFS: it is 130 times smaller, 45 times lighter, the spatial resolution is 7 to 11 times greater, the signal-to-noise ratio is greater than 50% that of SeaWiFS, and the cost is roughly 10% that of SeaWiFS. Thanks to agreements with NASA and the Moore Foundation, all the data will be freely accessible, including the data retrieved from the satellite images and the specifications of the HawkEye instrument and SeaHawk CubeSat. The data could provide significant information regarding the highly variable coastal regions of the world. Graduate students studying Data Science at UNCW have formed a lab group that will be working with the data retrieved from the CubeSat after the commissioning phase. Not only will the students be conducting research, but they will also use their time and resources to perform public outreach and to spread awareness about the advancements made by UNCW as well as STEM opportunities present in Wilmington.

4. Elizabeth Blenk, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Aerospace Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Scott Ferguson, Machine Learning Applications for Aerospace Engineering

Abstract: This research project explores the use of Machine Learning in Aerospace Engineering applications. Machine Learning (ML) is currently being used across many industries as a means of identifying patterns and accurately predicting real-time results. This technology is helping doctors identify cancer and improving the autonomous capabilities of self-driving cars. However, ML has been slow to matriculate into the field of Aerospace, specifically in the design sector. This research is the first step in exploring how ML can be used when navigating the design space for an aerospace engineering problem, specifically by considering the trade-offs between accuracy and number of training examples. To begin, two different ML courses were taken through Google Developers and Coursera. Similar papers on ML were also analyzed to determine what direction the research should take. After completing these classes and background research, data was collected for a problem focused on designing an airfoil. This process required constructing a complex computational framework that links MATLAB, XFOIL, and Excel. Data for over 800 airfoils at varying angles of attack were generated. Airfoil configurations and resultant flow properties were then used in training a neural network with TensorFlow, a software package in Python. Continuing efforts will include completing and adjusting the code to further develop the neural network. Trade offs between accuracy and the number of training examples will then be assessed.

5. Ashley Ciero, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Graduate – Masters, Major: Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Rodward Hewlin, Jr., Coauthors: Nicholas Stanley & William Timms, Development of Experimental and Numerical Tools for Magnetic Drug Targeting in Cardiovascular Flow

Abstract: The aim of the work is to design and develop experimental and numerical tools to investigate the practicality of magnetic drug targeting (MDT) in a patient-specific diseased carotid bifurcation artery for the potential prospects of treating cardiovascular disease. MDT of therapeutic agents using multifunctional carrier particles has the potential to provide effective treatment of both cancer and cardiovascular disease by enabling a variety of localized treatments while minimizing side effects. A computational model was developed using ANSYS FLUENT commercial software to simulate pulsatile blood flow, particle motion, and particle tracking in a diseased carotid bifurcation artery using the magnetic properties of magnetite (Fe3O4) and equations describing the forces acting on particles produced by an external cylindrical electromagnetic coil. An Eulerian-Lagrangian technique is adopted to resolve the hemodynamic flow and the motion of particles under a magnetic field (Br = 2T). The computational simulations demonstrate that the greatest particle capture efficiency results for particle diameters within the micron range, specifically 4µm in regions where flow separation and vortices are at a minimum. It was also determined that the capture efficiency of particles decreases substantially with particle diameter, especially in the super-paramagnetic regime. Particle diameter sizes of 20 nm- 4 μm in diameter were considered. Particles larger than 2 μm were efficiently captured at the desired location by the external magnetic field, and the largest capture efficiency observed was approximately 98%. Overall, the computational simulations indicate a substantial and promising potential for MDT as a treatment technique for cardiovascular disease. Experimental tools consisting of a phase locked particle image velocimetry system and in vitro cardiovascular flow loop was developed to validate flow patterns and the magnitude of drag produced by cardiovascular flow in the carotid artery for the computational simulations.

6. Timothy Chen, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Mechanical Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Chih-Hao Chang, Modeling and Fabrication of Randomly Close Packed Nanostructures using Non-Monodispersed Colloidal Particles

Abstract: Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are viable for sustainable lighting but provide poor emission efficiency. Integrating nanostructures can potentially enhance light extraction. However, the use of random structures is difficult to control, and their geometry cannot be readily designed. The use of periodic photonic crystals can lead to wavelength and angle-sensitive behavior with high fabrication cost. Therefore, there lacks a scalable fabrication method designing broad bandwidth and wide-angle light extraction for next-generation LEDs. A novel method for modeling and manufacturing of light-extraction nanostructures from high-index medium was based on the co-assembly of non-monodispersed nanoparticles for randomly close packing. The first step is to examine the co-assembly process between two distinct diameters at various mixture ratios and distributions. In this algorithm, a specified number of particles are each assigned a diameter size that can vary by 10% and is based on the mixture ratio. The first particle is constrained with its center at the origin, and the second particle is adjacent to the first at a random angle. The positions of the remaining particles are generated by running a MATLAB loop, each using two reference particles. The assembly’s spatial-frequency was analyzed based on ring intensity distribution using FFT. Various mixture ratios were run among different particle size pairings to identify which conditions provide broad spectra band and angle uniformity. Based on the simulated results, randomly close packed nanoparticles were fabricated using transfer coating. The spectra for both experimental and simulated assemblies are similar.  Randomized close-packing can be patterned using colloidal particles with different sizes. The script accurately predicted the spectra of the random assembly. The quantitative analysis of the angular uniformity and spectra bandwidth between the theoretical model and experimental data validates the constructed assembly model. A parametric study determined the optimal conditions for this fabrication method and the accuracy of the model.

7. Nate Faulkner, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Aerospace Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Fuh-Gwo Yuan, Random Decrement Analysis in Structural Health Monitoring

Abstract: My research focused on the use of a different data analysis technique to predict and localize damage in structures. Specifically, I used random decrement analysis to analyze vibrational data from an aluminum plate using a Laser Doppler Vibrometer (LDV) camera. The plate was ‘randomly’ excited using compressed air. Random decrement analysis has the advantage of allowing for random input data, like that seen from turbulent flow over a structure, and from this we can see patterns emerge. These signals change depending on whether they pass through a damaged part of the structure or a healthy part. Based off differences in intact versus damaged structures, possible damage sites can be localized and even the severity and size of the damage can be predicted. By using this excitation technique, I hope to one day be able to apply this to large aircraft and have turbulence encountered during flight be the excitation method, this passive sensing technique could have significant impact on how aerospace structures are maintained.

8. Samson Goodrich, East Carolina University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Bioprocess Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Teresa Ryan, Automated Impact Device for Evaluating a Prototype Ultrasensitive Mass Detector

Abstract: This work aims to improve upon an experimental test apparatus to measure the impulse response of a mechanical system by creating an automated impact device. The mechanical system consists of a single cantilever beam with a set of much smaller cantilevers coupled to the single beam (the primary mass). The set of smaller cantilevers can be functionalized to bind to, with high specificity, and immobilize a target substance on its surface. Potential target substances include various biomarkers and chemicals. Coherence time refers to how long it takes for the vibrations of the smaller cantilevers to synchronize. The synchronization of the cantilevers causes a detectable change in vibration of the primary mass. Changes in the masses of the smaller cantilevers can be inferred from changes in the vibration response in the primary mass. Previous work used simulations and modelling of the system arrays to demonstrate the amount of mass necessary to detect measurable change in coherence time. The goal of this work is to create a device that automatically strikes the base of the primary mass of the system, in a controlled, repeatable fashion, and rebounds off the system immediately after impact to prevent interference with the system’s vibration measurements. An automated impact device ensures highly accurate and precise results for future experimentation performed with this complex coupled system. The interval of impact and amount of force is computer controlled and coupled with a servo motor to control the impact device. An accelerometer is integrated into the impact device as a trigger for the LabVIEW-based data acquisition system, to enable precise measurement of the time that the impact occurred related to the time and vibration data collected from the cantilevers. Device design and preliminary data are presented.

9. Blanton Gillespie, University of North Carolina Asheville, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Chemistry, Advisor: Dr. Bert Holmes, Computational Investigations of Carbene Complexes and Complexed Isomerization Transition States

Abstract: Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are a class of compounds in use as refrigerants, foam-blowing agents, etc. that are destructive to the environment as greenhouses gases, often with high ozone depletion potential. This research deals with the decomposition of these compounds including decomposition into novel gas-phase carbene complexes that may persist through subsequent isomerizations to alkenes. Substituents were surveyed computationally for their effects on these complexes to identify potential systems in which they have experimental relevance. It was found that donating groups on the carbene and higher polarity on the leaving HX contributed to the strongest binding affinity and lowering of isomerization energy. These findings indicate a direction for which systems may be best suited for experimental study as well as having broader implications in aiding the study of non-covalent interactions in different settings.

10.Richard Hall, Duke University, Graduate – Masters, Major: Mechanical Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Leila Bridgeman, The Computation and Verification of a System’s Minimum Dwell Time Under Model Predictive Control (MPC)

Abstract: The guidance and control of cooperative vehicles require control systems to maintain operational constraints while also minimizing performance criteria such as resource usage and convergence time. Model Predictive Control (MPC) is well suited to fulfill these requirements by leveraging constrained optimization to compute control inputs. The stability of a simple system under MPC can be ensured through conventional methods, including the use of Lyapunov equations. If MPC is applied to a system switching between distinct modes of operation, as is often the case in cooperative systems, ensuring stability becomes more difficult. If the system dwells in each mode for a sufficiently long time between switches, the overall system inherits stability from the individual modes. Ensuring long dwell times, however, is not always a trivial task and can increase the overall system cost. Therefore, it is important to find the minimum dwell time (MDT) that will ensure stability. Methods have been developed to calculate the MDT of a system in several recent publications. These methods are largely untested outside of simulations and vary in precision, computational difficulty, and application flexibility. I intend to further develop a subset of these methods to increase their range of application while decreasing their computational difficulty. The different methods will also be verified using a simple, two-unit collaborative system switching between a small set of stable modes.

11. Patrick Gray, Duke University, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Marine Science, Advisor: Dr. David Johnston, Coauthors: Justin Ridge, Sarah Poulin, Alexander Seymour, Amanda Schwantes, Jennifer Swenson, A Drone Imagery Assisted Machine Learning Workflow for Satellite Classifications of Wetlands

Abstract: Very high-resolution satellite imagery (< 5m) has become available on a spatial and temporal scale appropriate for dynamic coastal management and conservation across large areas. Wetlands have the potential to be mapped at a detailed habitat scale with a frequency that allows immediate monitoring after storms, in response to human disturbances and in the face of sea-level rise. Yet mapping requires significant fieldwork to run modern classification algorithms and estuarine environments can be difficult to access and are environmentally sensitive. Recent advances in unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS, or drones), coupled with their increased availability, present a solution. UAS can cover a study site with ultra-high resolution (<5 cm) imagery allowing for accurate training and validation of machine learning algorithms. In this study we first ask if UAS imagery can be used to train and validate satellite based classification algorithms and second assess wetland change over time with this approach. Specifically, we used a support vector machine to classify WorldView-3 and RapidEye satellite imagery of the Rachel Carson Reserve in North Carolina. UAS and field-based accuracy assessments were employed for comparison across validation methods. We created and examined an array of indices and layers including texture, NDVI and a LiDAR DEM. Our results demonstrate classification accuracy on par with previous extensive fieldwork campaigns (93% UAS and 93% field for WorldView-3; 92% UAS and 87% field for RapidEye). Examining change between 2004 and 2017, we found drastic shoreline change but general stability of emergent wetlands. Both WorldView-3 and RapidEye were found to be valuable sources of imagery for habitat classification with the main trade off being WorldView’s fine spatial resolution versus RapidEye’s temporal frequency. We conclude that UAS can be highly effective in training and validating satellite imagery.

12. Maggie Hilderbran, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Undergraduate – Senior, Majors: Astrophysics & Religious Studies, Advisor: Dr. Fabian Heitsch, Numerical Simulations of a Ram Pressure-Driven Rayleigh-Taylor Instability

Abstract: Star formation in the Galactic disk is fueled by continuous accretion of gas from the Galactic halo. This in-falling gas is usually identified in the form of high-velocity clouds (HVCs), so named because their velocities do not match standard galactic rotation patterns. On their passage through the Galactic halo, HVCs are subject to a series of hydrodynamical instabilities, foremost the Rayleigh-Taylor instability (RTI). I perform a systematic investigation of the RTI in conditions relevant to HVCs in the Galactic halo, exploring how the instability contributes to the breakup of these clouds. I use the grid-based fluid dynamics code Athena (Stone et al. 2008) to solve the equations of ideal magnetohydrodynamics, simulating the instability and its growth at the interface between the Galactic halo and the HVC. Many physical effects control the evolution of HVCs, from fluid instabilities to thermal physics and magnetic fields. Step-by-step addition of these effects to the simulated halo-cloud interface provides an understanding of how each impacts the evolution of the RTI.

13. Roark Habegger, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Astrophysics & Mathematics, Advisor: Dr. Daniel Reichart, Astronomical Polarimeter Automation for Skynet

Abstract: The new polarimeter being implemented on Skynet’s PROMPT 8 Telescope is meant to observe the optical component of Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) on a fast timescale, attempting to measure the high polarization expected at the beginning of these events. To complete an entire observation with the polarimeter and return a polarization value and angle for a GRB on this time scale, the instrument needed an automation system that could be triggered and controlled after the discovery of a GRB. By creating an ActiveX Automation Library, Skynet’s software now is able to interface with the polarimeter, adjust it and take observations autonomously. Having this automation in place allows all polarimeter movements in the course of an 8 image observation (at various polarization angles) to occur in under 8 seconds, meaning a GRB can be imaged and the polarization of the initial light determined before the polarization disappears. Depending on the trigger method, the scope could slew to the GRB location before the optical band reaches us, and we would be able to take multiple measurements of polarization.

14. Anna Jackson, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Physics, Presenting with: Robert Bullard & Riley Reid, Advisors: Dr. Jonathan Kollmer & Dr. Karen Daniels, Coauthor: Tristan Emm, Ejecta-Minimizing Protocols for Applications Needing Anchoring or Digging on Asteroids

Abstract: Many asteroids are composed of small fractured rock, which fall under the classification of a granular material. The small size of the asteroid results in a microgravity environment, and very little is known about how granular materials behave in microgravity. As future space missions are looking to explore asteroids, a better understanding is needed about the asteroid’s reaction to external forces to plan safe and effective missions to asteroids. Therefore, the purpose of Ejecta-Minimizing Protocols for Applications Needing Anchoring or Digging on Asteroids (EMPANADA) was to collect data on granular materials reaction to probing in microgravity. We constructed a vertically oriented, flat bed of photoelastic, disk-shaped particles and placed a motor above it to insert a probe into the particle bed at varying speeds. We recorded videos of the particles’ reactions to the probing. In addition to probing 2-D photoelastic particles to observe inter-particle force chains, we probed 3-D sample volumes filled with high fidelity regolith simulants. The 3-D experiment consisted of four boxes, each containing a mound of regolith, along with a motor and probe setup, and GoPros recorded the reaction of the regolith to the probes. We conducted these experiments in the Zero-G Weightless Lab to simulate Martian, Lunar, and Zero-G environments. We are analyzing the reaction of the particles to the probing by comparing the three different gravitational environments to each other and by comparing the varying probe speeds to each other. We are achieving this by using particle tracking methods and by analyzing the brightness of the videos from the ph

15. Haley Harrison, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Nanoscience, Advisors: Dr. Jeffrey Alston & Dr. Ajit Kelkar, Sonochemical Functionalization of Boron Nitride Nanomaterials

Boron nitride nanomaterials (BNNTs) and hexagonal boron nitride platelets (h-BNs) have received considerable attention for aerospace applications due to their exceptional properties. Recent advances in synthesis techniques have prompted the production of commercially available BNNTs, but quantification techniques for confirming BNNT purity are not capable of resolving differences between h-BNs and BNNTs. Matrix compatibilization of BN nanomaterials is tricky; h-BN can be hydrophilic or hydrophobic depending on orientation, and BNNTs are difficult to covalently functionalize. In this work, UV/Vis spectrophotometry is used to calculate a calibration curve for h-BN and BNNT samples. We propose a novel method for determining purity of BNNT samples by comparing the ratio of characteristic stretching and bending peaks in the spectra. We also present novel sonochemical techniques to covalently attach fluoroalkoxy substituents to the surface of BN nanomaterials. Attachment is confirmed via FT-IR, solvent compatibility and the use of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

16. Alena Jones, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Biochemistry, Advisor: Dr. John Z. Kiss, Coauthors: Ibeabuchi Iloghalu, Kelsey Taylor, Megan Toler, Tatsiana Shymanovich & Joshua Vandenbrink, The Effects of Clinorotation on Growth of Different Arabidopsis Thaliana Genotypes

Abstract: Multiple stressors can affect plant development, but some genotypes are more resistant to stress than others. Variation across plant genotypes allows us to identify those that are more resistant to a specific stress factor, such as gravitational acceleration. Plants experience stress from altered gravity conditions during space flights or reduced gravity if grown on the Moon and Mars. Resistant plant genotypes are crucial for possible distant space exploration by humans in the future. Thus, the goal of this study is to find Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes that are resistant to gravitational stresses. One hundred wild-type genotypes from different origins were tested. To simulate gravitational stress, we placed plates with surface sterilized seeds on to a rotating 2D-clinostat for seven days, while the control plates were kept vertically oriented. Morphological parameters such as shoot length, primary and secondary root length, and the number of root hairs were recorded from images using ImageJ software. For each genotype, growth parameters from clinorotated and vertical seedlings were compared with t-tests. Our preliminary data from ten genotypes analyzed suggest that clinorotated seedlings have reduced shoot growth compared to seedlings grown vertically. Two genotypes have similar or increased growth for main root and total root length, number of secondary roots, and root hairs, compared to the controls. Once we have assayed all one hundred genotypes, we will focus on identification of genes involved in resistance to gravitational stress.

17. Ashton Johnston, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Electrical Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Chris Vermillion, Low-Cost Autonomous Navigation and Object Avoidance for a Small Continuous-Track Robot

Abstract: A low-cost autonomous navigation and object avoidance system was devised for a small continuous-track robot. This project focused on improving the performance of the robots navigation system, which blends an inertial navigation system (INS) with odometry. To optimize the position estimates of both systems, a sensor fusion algorithm was designed that blends the INS and odometry position estimates using a weighted averaging method. The weights could be chosen based on outside indicators such as the terrains roughness and slippage profile. The proposed navigation system was tested in a laboratory environment to assess the baseline accuracy of the combined position estimate to that of the purely INS and odometry based position estimates.

18. Andy Kwok, Wake Forest University, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Integrative Physiology & Pharmacology, Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Willey, Coauthors: S. Rosas, J. E. Moore, M. D. Delp, X. W. Mao & T. A. Bateman, Thirty-four Days of Spaceflight Impaired Gait Patterns in Mice

Abstract: Adverse sensorimotor and musculoskeletal adaptions to microgravity during spaceflight pose challenges towards astronauts’ health. Rodent gait analysis has been used to identify for specific sensorimotor and musculoskeletal dysfunction that correlate clinically. Our goal was to measure patterns of gait changes in mice that spent 34 days in orbit aboard the International Space Station (ISS), as part of the Rodent Research 9 missions. Pre-flight gait assessment was performed on 9-week old male C57BL/6 mice (n=20/group) using the DigiGait system at the Kennedy Space Center. Footfall patterns were digitized for timing and anatomic data generating a gait signal. Mice were grouped:  animals aboard ISS (FLIGHT); ground-based habitat mimicking ISS environmental conditions (HAB); or ground-based vivarium controls regularly housed (VIV). FLIGHT spent 33 days aboard the ISS. Unberthing and splashdown of live mice occurred on L+34, and post-flight gait assessment was performed on L+35. Patterns of longitudinal gait changes were observed in the hind limbs, but less in forelimbs of the FLIGHT mice; almost no differences were observed in gait patterns within the HAB or VIV controls between groups in pattern changes. For FLIGHT mice, gait patterns in the hind limbs that significantly (p<0.001) changed including stride length and variance; stride, swing and stance duration; paw angle and area at peak stance; step angle; and stride frequency, among others. Few patterns were observed in the forelimb. Longitudinal gait analysis of rodents provides a non-invasive assay to measure functional responses to spaceflight. The DigiGait system permits identification of gait changes in rodents suggestive of functional impairment.The majority of deficits from FLIGHT’s hind limbs were sensorimotor issues. Gait provides rapid data collection, which is essential for follow-up functional tests and/or tissue harvests planned for measuring the effects of spaceflight with/without countermeasures on health and performance.

19. Angela Krebs, East Carolina University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Electrical Engineering, Advisors: Dr. Zhen Zhu & Dr. Shanyue Guan, Analytical Model of Ocean Energy: Determining Peak Energy Level Potential

Abstract: With the increasing demand of energy usage, people started pursuing different alternatives, especially renewable energy sources. This research aims to investigate the efficiency of harnessing the untapped reserve of renewable oceanic energy. Considering the large amount of energy stored in the ocean, energy harvested from the ocean through tidal waves has the potential to relieve the stress of traditional fuel energy in the coastal regions. The oceanic energy under consideration in this work includes the following three sources: potential, kinetic, and thermal energy. Potential energy can be gathered from the tidal waves’ height variation. Kinetic energy is introduced by the movement and speed at which the current carries the wave. Thermal energy is generated by the heat changes in the ocean, either from the movement of waves or creatures within. To collect the energy in an ocean channel, the energy harvesting devices (different types of electric generators, for example) would be source-specific. Furthermore, it is critical for the design and application of these devices to improve the efficiency in energy conversion. The focus of this study is to investigate all three types of the energy sources, how they change over time, and how they are related to each other. A numerical model will be developed to compare the energy characteristics including peak amplitude, variations, period, and mean values. The input to these models will likely include the constraints and attributes of an ocean channel and local weather conditions. This model will be implemented in numerical simulation software, such as MATLAB, and will be utilized to develop a better strategy of harvesting oceanic energy.

20. Melinda Martinez, North Carolina State University, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Forestry, Advisor: Dr. Marcelo Ardon, Detecting Early-Warning Signals of Forested Wetland Retreat

Abstract: The southeastern U.S. coastline has seen an increase in extensive tree mortality (i.e. ghost forests) due to climate change variability and human activities. Ghost forests are areas that were healthy forested wetlands in the past, but are now transitioning to marshes or open water. Critical transitions occur when ecosystems become increasingly fragile to disturbances, to the point where a small perturbation may trigger a change to a new state. As freshwater forested wetlands transition to other wetland types, the ecosystem services provided become reduced or altered. Given the potential loss of ecosystem services, it is important to anticipate when and where critical transitions are likely to occur, but it has been challenging to map these transitions, which has limited mitigation efforts.Anticipating these transitions will lead to better predictive models by revealing the causal factors and processes, and open windows of opportunities for managers to prevent the loss of ecosystem services. This study uses innovative remote sensing methods, time series modeling, and in situ observations to detect early warning signals (EWS) of forested wetland retreat. By measuring an ecosystem’s loss of resilience over time, we may be able to detect EWS of transitions. Loss of resilience can be measured by the system’s ability to recover from disturbances over time. Remote sensing provides large spatial and temporal datasets that can be used to measure recovery rates of wetland vegetation. Resilience will be quantified using a variety of statistical features of vegetation index time series derived from Landsat imagery (1985–present). Additionally, the potential of spatial/structural indicators of critical transitions will be investigated using high resolution assets (e.g. Rapid Eye, IKONOS, Planet). The purpose of this study is to determine the ability of remote sensing data to detect EWS of critical transitions in forested wetlands to marshes using spatial and temporal indicators.

21. Eric Land, North Carolina State University, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Plant Biology, Advisor: Dr. Imara Perera, Transcriptional Regulation of Seedling Development in Microgravity

Abstract: Currently, human exploration and inhabitance of space is dependent on Earth based resupply missions.  Realization of long-duration space missions will require the development of sustainable life support systems of which plants are an essential component.  It is therefore critical that plant adaptations to spaceflight and microgravity are well understood. To investigate the molecular mechanisms regulating seedling growth in microgravity, our laboratory conducted a flight experiment (Plant Signaling) aboard the International Space Station, utilizing the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS). Arabidopsis thaliana seeds were grown in modular hardware under continuous light with and without centrifugal acceleration for a period of five days in two replicate experiments. RNA was isolated from seedling roots and transcriptional abundances were profiled by Next-Generation Sequencing. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that abiotic stress responsive genes were downregulated in microgravity grown plant roots relative to on-board 1g controls.  Our data indicate 362 transcripts downregulated in microgravity. Interestingly, a significant subset of these transcripts (25%) appear to belong to an Abscisic Acid (ABA) responsive network which is regulated by a hierarchical system of transcription factors. Two master regulators within this ABA transcriptional network, MYB44, and NFYB2 were also downregulated in microgravity grown seedling roots. This pattern, conserved across both experimental replicates, suggests that dampening of ABA-mediated signaling is involved in plant adaptation to microgravity. Current work aims to follow up on these results in a series of ground-based experiments.  A 2D clinostat has been manufactured to incorporate a 3D printed rotor capable of accommodating EMCS seed cassettes.  Seeds will be mounted in flight hardware, hydrated and installed into the clinostats where they will grow under constant illumination with or without rotation. Tissues will be harvested over an experimental time-course and transcriptional abundances of MYB44, NFYB22, and select ABA-responsive transcripts will be assayed by quantitative real-time PCR.

22. Jonathan McCready, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Aerospace Engineering, Advisor: Dr. H. Philip Stahl, Primary Mirror Design and Analysis for the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx)

Abstract: The Habitable Exoplanet (HabEx) mission requires a large optical space telescope which is in its preliminary (conceptual) design phase. If chosen during the 2020 Decadal Survey, it will be tasked to locate planets inside of the goldilocks zone (habitable zone) to examine individual planet’s atmospheric spectra to determine the existence of water. However, to gather this information with utmost precision, the telescope’s primary mirror must meet high performance requirements. In terms of performance, a typical optical space telescope relies heavily on its primary mirror’s stiffness. In general, the correlative consequence of increasing stiffness, is increasing mass. However, due to HabEx’s budget constraints, the mirror needs to be as light as possible. Therefore, to obtain a preferable stiffness, and mass value, an optimization design technique is used. For the optimization process, the mirror’s parameters are iteratively changed using intuition as a guide. Such parameters include, nominal blank thickness, web fillet radius, blank material, etc. With each iteration, modal analyses are conducted until optimal values are found. Next, the mirror is tested statically by running a gravity sag analysis. This imitates the acceleration experienced due to the telescope’s thrust mechanisms in order to approximate the optical surface’s deformation for Zernike polynomial mapping. The resultant mapping shows if unwanted aberrations, such as trefoil, exceed the error budget allocation. If the mirror iteration makes it through all above analyses with optimal values, the static gravity sag analysis is replaced by a dynamic analysis. Where, the thrust vectors from the 16 micro-thrusters are used to obtain induced deformation values for use in mapping Zernike polynomials that are more indicative of reality. In addition to primary mirror performance design, a final effort was given to designing a launch-lock system which acts to compensate for loads that are experienced during launch ascent. Upon completion, two mirrors were proposed. The first, consisted of an open-backed mirror with an iso-grid core made from Zerodur. The second, consisted of a closed-back mirror with a hexa-grid core made from ULE (Ultra Low Expansion). Additionally, a three-point constrained hexapod mounting system was used for both mirror designs. It should be noted that the ULE mirror proved to have the best performance characteristics while also having the lowest mass. However, the Zerodur mirror is still a viable option due its cost of manufacturing being significantly lower than that of the ULE.

23. Nicholas W. Mazzoleni, North Carolina State University, Graduate – Masters, Major: Mechanical Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Matthew Bryant, Toward Synergistic Wind-Solar Hybrid Energy Harvesting on Mars

Abstract: This work considers aerodynamic interactions among an array of tensioned ribbon energy harvesters capable of harvesting both wind and solar energy. Such a harvester could be used to power small-scale devices that could be used to explore Mars, since dust storms can make sunlight temporarily unavailable at the planet’s surface. Each harvester consists of a thin-film solar cell ribbon supported in tension by a pair of piezoelectric bimorph beams in an inverted-U configuration. These ribbons experience aeroelastic flutter when subjected to crossflow, and the energy from these vibrations can be harvested through the piezoelectric beams. The effect of wind speed on the interaction between two fluttering inverted U-shaped aeroelastic energy harvesters configured in a tandem array was investigated, as previous work suggests that synergistic wake interactions can occur between multiple fluttering energy harvesters. An experimental apparatus was constructed and two thin-film solar ribbons were placed in tandem at a fixed separation distance. Each ribbon was given an applied pre-tension, and wind tunnel testing was performed for a range of wind speeds between 7.5 m/s and 12.5 m/s for each ribbon when fluttering in isolation and when fluttering in tandem. Tandem array efficiency was calculated from the experimental data, and it was determined that there is a wind speed at which peak tandem array efficiency (significantly greater than unity) occurs. It was found that this peak corresponds to the wind speed at which constructive interference due to frequency lock between the two fluttering ribbons begins. Results also show tandem efficiency benefits in both the downstream and upstream harvester, as opposed to previous results that show benefits primarily in the downstream harvester. It is hypothesized that these upstream benefits are due to possible base excitations in the apparatus that have been transmitted by the downstream harvester.

24. Jeff Miller, Appalachian State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Physics, Advisor: Dr. Brooke Hester, Coauthor: Claire Brown, Determination of Elastic Modulus of Cells Using Optical Tweezers

Abstract: The elastic modulus of a cell is a parameter to describe its resistance to elastic deformation. Understanding the elastic modulus of a cell provides insight as to how the cell reacts to forces, and also may provide information about cell health. Measurements of the elastic modulus of cells are achieved in this work with optical tweezers using the indentation method. In optical tweezers, a trapped particle can be modeled as a Hookean system where the spring constant is the trap stiffness, allowing the force displacing the trapped particle to be determined. To measure the displacement, a second laser and a position sensing detector are utilized for high-resolution position sensing.  Using the indentation method, the cell on the microscope slide coverslip is raised to axially displace a trapped microsphere from its equilibrium position in the optical tweezers, which causes the bead to indent the cell. During this process, the displacement of the bead is measured. The force exerted onto the bead and the indentation depth are found from the displacement. Using the Hertz Model, the elastic modulus is determined from the force and indentation depth. We present here, an overview of the methods, the instrumentation, and data collected and analyzed with our software written in LabVIEW.

25. Metis Meloche, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Environmental Studies, Advisor: Dr. Evan Couzo, Coauthor: Jacob Taylor, CO2 Emissions from Asheville’s Craft Brewing Industry

Abstract: This study examines CO2 emissions from the fermentation process of beer production at local breweries in Asheville, North Carolina. While some breweries have calculated their overall carbon footprint, for example New Belgium Brewing Company, the CO2 emitted from the fermentation process is left out. Thus, our aim is to calculate the fermentation emissions and look at a more complete carbon footprint of breweries. CO2 emissions will be assessed by calculating the CO2 released from the beer making process using the equation: C6H12O6 → 2 C2H5OH + 2 CO2. The quantity of CO2 will then be compared to the overall carbon dioxide emissions in the public sector of the City of Asheville and the CO2 emissions from energy used at each of the breweries studied. The intention of this study is to determine whether or not local breweries in Asheville produce a significant portion of CO2 levels from the fermentation process. It is expected that there will be small/negligible quantities produced during fermentation.

26. Mariah Mook, East Carolina University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Teresa Ryan, Evaluation of Coupled Cantilevers for Ultrasensitive Mass Detection

Abstract: Small mechanical cantilevers have been used as mass sensors in a number of different sensor designs. When a cantilever bends due to a change in mass, that downward displacement is a repeatable, measurable static response. There are also detection methods that rely on the dynamic response of the cantilevers, in other words how system vibration changes when the mass changes. Research in these sensing mechanisms has pushed the envelope down to atto-, zepto-, and yoctogram sensitivities [1-2]. These ultra-sensitive mass sensing methods can also be used to detect airborne analytes such as chemical vapors, bacteria, or other biomarkers. In space, there is a little understanding of the size distribution of particles.  Smoke particles formed in microgravity are typically larger than in terrestrial settings [3]. This research may support the design of smoke detectors with increased sensitivity and specificity for platforms in space. The mass detection approach in this work uses mechanically coupled arrays of cantilevers. The degree of coupling between sensing elements changes the amount of vibration localization, allowing for optimization of sensor behavior. The degree of coupling is characterized by the coupling ratio. This work compares a calculated coupling ratio based on array geometry to measured results. A set of eight cantilevers are coupled to their nearest neighbors by way of a short perpendicular coupling beam.  Calculated and measured coupling ratio will be compared over a range of coupling beam positions along the length of the main cantilevers.  The coupling ratio measurements will be made using laser Doppler vibrometry scans. This research will identify the range of validity for the purely geometry-based coupling ratio calculations.

27. Conor Mulderrig, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Atmospheric Science, Advisor: Dr. Jessica Matthews, Coauthors: Forest Kane Cook, Brooke Adams, Monitoring the Spread of Invasive Grasses and the Impact on Grassland Management in the Great Plains Using NASA Earth Observations and NOAA

Abstract: Invasive grass species, specifically B. tectorum (cheatgrass), B. japonicus (Japanese brome), and Melilotus (sweet clover), have expanded out of the Great Basin and into the western Great Plains of the United States. Increased development and land use in western South Dakota have provided a gateway for these species to invade and dominate formerly native grasslands. This project evaluated the historic distribution of invasive species, by creating invasive species distribution maps on a county level for South Dakota from 1997-2018. Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) were used to classify regions of grassland and non-grassland in South Dakota. Invasive and native grasses were identified within the grassland regions using Earth Observations and phenological climate data records. Phenology variables from the NOAA Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) climate data record included Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Leaf Area Index (LAI), and Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR). Forwarn Phenology Parameter Products derived from MODIS also provided additional NDVI data. These phenology variables from AVHRR and Forwarn were studied to determine a method to distinguish between native and invasive grasses. The team validated the classification of native and invasive grasses using in situ data to cross reference and compare to the remote sensed data. This comparison also provided insight into the spatial and temporal completeness of the in situ data reporting in the area. Finally, the team used regression modeling to make future projections of land cover classification by county. The methods applied to our case study region of South Dakota will serve as a guide for historic and future invasive grass identification over the Great Plains region. The results will be used to inform local management practices and combat ecosystem threats, such as an increased risk of wildfire and an altered biomass of the region that impact cattle grazing patterns.

28. Christopher Munna, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Physics and Astronomy, Advisor: Dr.Charles Evans, Eccentric Two-Body Radiation: Expanding the Fluxes at Infinity Through Perturbation Theory and Multipole Moment Analysis

Abstract: I present new results on the energy and angular momentum radiated to infinity by eccentric binary black hole inspirals. More specifically, new coefficients in the post-Newtonian (PN) expansions of these fluxes are obtained by combining techniques from black hole perturbation theory (BHPT) and the PN formalism. To that end, after briefly detailing output from numeric fitting, I develop the leading logarithm series, an infinite series of logarithmic PN terms that begins 0PN, 1.5PN, 3PN Log, 4.5PN Log, 6PN Log^2, etc. This series can be derived from the Newtonian mass quadrupole moment, using information from BHPT. Then, I describe the 1PN correction to this series, which entails computation of the three 1PN multipole moment tensors. Finally, I present the full 4PN energy flux at lowest order in the mass ratio, which can be extracted from all these results. Such a calculation will prove useful to the PN community as they attempt to complete our understanding of binary inspirals at 4PN order.

29. Zachary Nasipak, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Physics & Astronomy, Advisor: Dr. Charles Evans, Building Better Simulations of Binary Black Holes

Abstract: The recent detections of several gravitational wave sources has affirmed our understanding of black holes and general relativity, while providing new insights into the nature of black hole binary systems and neutron star-neutron star mergers. A future space-based gravitational wave detector, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), is set to launch in 2034 and will provide high-precision measurements of new gravitational wave sources. Extreme-mass-ratio inspirals (EMRIs) make up one class of binary systems that LISA can detect. EMRIs are systems composed of a stellar mass (1-60 solar masses) black hole spiraling into a supermassive (>10^6 solar masses) black hole. To detect EMRIs, we first need to simulate their dynamics and their gravitational wave signals. EMRI dynamics are well modeled by calculating a quantity known as the gravitational self-force. When simulating EMRIs with a spinning supermassive Kerr black hole, three-dimensional self-force calculations become computationally expensive with current techniques, prohibiting researchers from simulating their gravitational wave signals. To improve the efficiency of these computational techniques I built a developmental three-dimensional code that calculates a similar, but more tractable, self-force effect: the scalar self-force. Using this code, I have at least doubled the efficiency of various steps in self-force calculations. Some of these numerical techniques have been incorporated in a community code, the Black Hole Perturbation Toolkit. I also generalized computational methods to study resonant self-force calculations, which can enhance the evolution of EMRIs. Preliminary results of generic three-dimensional and resonant orbits are presented. This work supports the larger research effort of modeling EMRIs efficiently and accurately so that their predicted motion can be used for gravitational wave science.

30. Elise Olivolo, Fayetteville State University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Computer Science, Advisors: Dr. Sambit Bhattacharya & Dr. Bogdan Czejdo, Presenting with: Catherine Spooner, Jordan Hupp, Raymond Kimble & Kesharra West, Automatic Detection of Surface Oxidation

Abstract: There is a need to automatically identify deterioration of surfaces in areas of limited accessibility. We can encounter many of such surfaces in space objects, such as the International Space Station. On Earth, we can encounter them in areas such as the blades of a wind turbine or the underside of a drilling platform. The automatic detection of this deterioration would allow for a remote machine to scan surfaces more frequently, leading to faster response times for maintenance needs. There are different types of deterioration that need to be inspected. In this study, we have concentrated our research on automatic detection of oxidation. In space, this deterioration is caused by atomic oxidation, which oxidizes many metals including silver, copper and osmium. In addition, surfaces containing carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen bonds are strongly affected. Our goal is to carry out experiments using machine learning to delineate oxidized objects within images and determine the amount of oxidation.  Our project utilizes a deep neural network to segment oxidized surfaces. To create our data set, we used software supported training data collection where the training data are polygons around rusted portions. Our deep network uses multiple convolution and de-convolution layers. The images are loaded into the input layer of the net, and then passed through several convolutional layers, in which a filter examines only a small group of pixels at a time. This filter moves over the whole image and records the result of each convolution at each location. After the convolutional stages, the network re-expands the images, and presents a prediction to us in the form of a picture in which pixels are labeled as oxidized or not oxidized.

31. Ashle Page, Duke University, Graduate – Masters, Major: Bioethics & Science Policy, Advisor: Dr. Nita Farahany, Bioethics in Space

Abstract: Humans may be living in outer space sooner than we think. Because of the elevated potential for detrimental effects to human health in space, ethical standards must be established prior to the widespread formation of human space settlements. This research offers a framework for analyzing the bioethics of humans in space by analogizing the uncertainty in establishing a precautionary and liability framework for health risks in space by using models for medical experimentation on Earth. An exploration of conventional bioethics principles, international guidelines for medical research, and regulations in the United States will parallel a precautionary framework for ensuring protections for humans during space travel. In the process of colonizing space, humans will face unfavorable physical and psychological conditions, and the presence of humans in space will inevitably increase the geographical separation of the human race. Terraforming other planets—a proposed concept of transforming a planet’s landscape into an Earth-like environment— would also involve strain on human health as space travelers attempt to adapt to the outer space environment. NASA researchers have categorized these dangers as those caused by the microgravity environment and confining spaces, in addition to the weakening of bodily systems caused by space travel. Like the dangers of space exploration, medical experimentation and clinical trials on Earth involve high levels of danger and uncertainty. Bioethical concepts for human subject research have been explored significantly within the last century, prompting global regulations under the United Nations, the World Medical Association, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Using this precedent as a framework, this research involves the application of these models to charting out bioethical concepts for humans in space.

32. Julian Quintero, East Carolina University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Teresa Ryan, Evaluation of UAV Atmospheric Sensor Configurations on Satellite Signal Acquisition

Abstract: Sound propagation has been studied since the sixth century B.C. Aristotle was the first person to discover sound traveled in waves. Like other waves, sound is affected by the medium in which it travels. It is well known that many aspects of the immediate acoustic environment affect the amount of transmission loss in sound. These aspects include the terrain type, geometry, and local weather parameters such as wind, temperature, and humidity. To understand how sound propagates in different atmospheric settings, atmospheric profiling is necessary. Atmospheric profiling is being used to build a mathematical model that can predict sound propagation due to different environment scenarios. To record atmospheric metrics, a commercially available sensor, the i-Met XQ, is used to record temperature, pressure, humidity, GPS location and time. To obtain reliable data when retrieving the atmospheric profiles, the devices require to have acquired a significant number of satellites to pair the data points with precise GPS location. In prior work, a DJI S1000 UAV was used because of its flat deck and payload capacity. The DJI S1000 is a larger model that is more difficult to handle due to its size and weight. The smaller UAV was deemed to be more efficient in regard to flight time and ease of operation. For ease of use, a transition to the use of a Phantom3 Standard is desired, but requires design and testing of fixturing for optimal mounting of the i-Met-XQ sensors. This work will present test flight data evaluating various sensor mounting configurations.

33. Gregory Rapp, Appalachian State University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Applied Physics, Advisor: Dr. Brooke Hester, Coauthor: Jeff Miller, Automation of Calibrated Temperature Determination of Optically Trapped Particles

Abstract:Optical tweezers use a focused laser beam aligned through a microscope which allows the user to apply piconewton forces to microscopic objects. When an object is suspended by the focus of the laser the object will heat up due to the light-material interactions of the particle and medium the particle is in. Optical tweezers are commonly used to perform medical and biophysical research and knowing the increase in temperature caused by the laser is critical to interpreting data acquired by optical tweezers. Using a custom built LabView program that can automatically measure the temperature of a trapped particle, we are able to quantify the temperature increase caused by the trap laser. Here we present our work on the temperature determination of an optically trapped particle.

34. Kaetlyn Ryan, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Advisor: Dr. Imara Perera, Coauthor: Colleen Doherty, Evaluating the role of circadian clock in gravitropic responses

Abstract: Plants face a continually changing environment, full of stressful events. To reconcile this, plants coordinate activities like growth with cyclical environmental events like the sun rising. Specifically, the plants circadian clock controls the timing of activities so they are matched to the timing of events in the environment. As a result, most of the plants activities, including growth, are aggregated so that they are more likely to happen at a specific time of day. Gravity, which is a key difference between Earth and space grown plants, influences growth through signaling pathways. We wondered if the response to the loss of gravity could be affected by the time of day the change in gravity occurs. One way to test the effect of gravity on plants is to observe the effect on root bending in response to an inconsistent/random gravity vector exposure. Altered gravity can be modeled by growing plants on a rotating clinostat. To evaluate the role of the circadian clock in the gravity signaling pathway, we perform these gravity alteration assays on plants with mutations in their circadian clock. Preliminary research has shown that clock mutant CCA1 showed significantly less deviation in root position from its original position (prior to clinorotation) than the wild type, suggesting that the circadian clock may influence the signaling pathways of gravitropism. For this project, we look at two additional clock mutants, elf 3-2 and prr7 compared to their wild type equivalents. These mutants are considered to have less severe alterations to their clock, so these results will indicate how significant the connection between clock and gravity is. Understanding how the clock affects the response to gravity can help us understand how plants sense gravity and may have implications for the effects of the clock on gravity responses in other organisms, including humans.

35. Kate Richardson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Undergraduate
– Sophomore, Major: Physics and Computer Science, Advisor: Dr. Rachel Smith, Coauthors: Micah Acinapura & Tierra White, Visualizing Spacecraft Missions with OpenSpace Software

Abstract: OpenSpace is new interactive visualization software that uses real data gathered from spacecraft and telescope missions, along with the latest data visualization techniques, to help bring the universe to educators, scientists, and the general public. This open-source software is currently in beta-phase, with project development partly supported by NASA and involving several institutions. Here we report how we incorporated a few of the most recent NASA missions into OpenSpace, implementations that were led by K. Richardson while interning at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in 2018. Each visualization module included an accurate model of the spacecraft, its flight path, on-board instrument timing, and data collected. Mission data was retrieved from standardized files called SPICE kernels that are compiled by the Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility team. SPICE kernels comprise navigation and ancillary information in an accessible format for use by a variety of science teams. Since images taken using onboard instruments from each mission are non-standardized, a Python script was written to download the photos and create metadata files for each image individually. Visualizations of the Juno, Dawn, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN), Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Stardust, and Deep Impact missions were created in the Lua programming language. A new method was also developed for the trails of the Juno, MAVEN, and LRO missions to account for the separate traveling and orbiting phases, and adjustments were made to include Juno’s non-square instrument field-of-view. Overall, this project helped achieve one of the major goals of OpenSpace — to use innovative data visualization tools and methods to communicate how scientists investigate the universe.

36. Nathaniel Scott, Appalachian State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Applied Physics, Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Burris, Coauthors: Brooke Hester & Scott Hancock, Automation in a Laser Tweezer Raman Spectroscopy Apparatus

Abstract: The Biophysics and Optical Sciences Facility (BiyOSef) at Appalachian State University maintains a custom-built and partially automated Laser Tweezers Raman Spectroscopy (LTRS) apparatus using custom LabVIEW software. Laser tweezers utilizes optical forces produced through refraction and reflection to trap particles in a laser beam, while Raman spectroscopy measures a unique spectral fingerprint of materials due to unique shifts in vibrational modes of the molecules of the materials. Combining both methods increases our resolution of the Raman fingerprint by capturing and manipulating biological cells, microbes, proteins, and other micron-sized particles in a fluid. Through the use of optical trapping of individual particles and confocal methods, we can effectively reduce noise that interferes with our Raman signal thereby isolating the Raman signal more effectively. The alignment of the apparatus takes considerable time, requires months of training, and has the potential to be inconsistent when done manually. Utilizing a simplex algorithm and automation, we have been able to maximize our resolution and minimize the time necessary to achieve results. We present here the analysis of the data collected and processed through our automated LabVIEW program.

37. Kellyn Montgomery, North Carolina State University, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Geospatial Analytics, Advisor: Dr. Helena Mitasova, Canopy structural patterns for identifying yield variability in grain sorghum

Deriving crop information from remotely sensed data is a critical component of food security and sustainability efforts such as precision agriculture, soil conservation, and agroecological modeling. Small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have emerged in recent years as a versatile remote sensing tool used by scientists and agricultural producers for collecting data at very high spatial and temporal resolutions. UAS can provide precisely-timed, fine-grained data for informing management responses to intra-field variability for maximizing crop productivity while minimizing natural resource degradation. Vegetation indices, like Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, calculated from remotely sensed spectral information have been shown to strongly correlate with crop health and are widely used in industry and throughout the literature. Many multispectral sensors for UAS, however, are limited by high cost and low spectral resolution. Furthermore, there has been very little exploration of the use of 3D models of canopy structure to provide information about crop health, population, and stand uniformity. Thus far, techniques for quantifying the geometric properties of morphological surfaces have been limited to terrain landforms. This research goes beyond spectral analysis for remote crop monitoring to investigate the relationship between grain sorghum yield and patterns in canopy height spatial variance of photogrammetric canopy surface models obtained by a small UAS with a consumer-grade RGB camera. Techniques used for quantifying geomorphologic surface structure were evaluated for their usefulness in characterizing canopy structure. Additionally, we analyzed the impact of parameters used in image processing and point cloud interpolation on canopy model geometry and feature identification. This approach for leveraging 3D canopy structure provided valuable information for characterizing crop productivity and may improve crop yield predictions when combined with spectral data.

38. Darren Stroupe, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Physics, Advisor: Dr. Britt Lundgren, Analysis of Mg II-Absorbing Galaxies in the UltraVISTA Survey Within the Framework of a Rest-Frame UVJ Color Space

Abstract: We present a study using QSO spectra to probe the halos of foreground galaxies in the COSMOS field. Intervening Mg II absorption lines in Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) quasar spectra were paired with galaxies in the UltraVISTA catalog at an impact parameter less than 200 kpc. A sample of 60 strong Mg II absorbers with a rest-frame equivalent width Wr (2796) ≥ 0.37 Å, impact parameter rp ≥ 20.7 kpc, and redshift range of 0.30 < z < 2.21 were analyzed within the framework of a rest-frame UVJ color distribution. A bimodal population of 43 star-forming and 17 quiescent absorbers was found, with the star-forming population further divided into 23 blue (BSF) and 20 red (RSF) star-forming absorbers. A color excess in quasars backlighting the extended halos of BSF absorbers, larger than that of RSF absorbers by more than a factor of 6, and an interstellar medium obscuration (Av) in RSF absorbing galaxies, larger than that of BSF absorbing galaxies by nearly a factor of 2, support a model wherein metal-enriched gas is blown out into galaxy halos by star formation-driven winds.

39. William Smith, Winston-Salem State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Biology, Advisor: Dr. Rafael Loureiro, Coauthors: Hayden G. Glenn, Samantha E. Stafford & Zediah Jeune, OMNICROP Phase II – Martian Crop Modeling

Abstract: OMNICROP uses a database composed of labeled data such as light quality and quantity, general climate characteristics and soil quality from successful farming sites to build a model that can sort and select the most successful crops for a particular set of circumstances. This process provides either earthbound farmers or off-world colonists with the a-priori information needed to start successful, productive food production while preventing costly and time-consuming activities that derive from on-site experimentation. The model can also be used to be directly linked to self-managing cultivation chambers food seedling physiology assessment and phycopathology treatment on earth and for deep space travel crop cultivation. This particular version of the model includes data from crops grown in analog Martian Regolith soil (MS). Our initial results are derived of the comparison between five different algorithms, showing, in this case, the superiority of the algorithms based on an ensemble of decision trees, especially the boosted trees ones where our best estimator was the XGBoost. The results showed that MS samples yield can be predicted with a 76% accuracy rate using controlled atmospheric, light and water input systems. Frequent reuse and data input from other sources will assist the model to learn and continually re-calibrate itself providing increasingly accurate results over time.

40. Joseph Tolsma, North Carolina State University, Graduate – Ph.D. Major: Genetics, Advisor: Dr. Colleen Doherty, Coauthor: Imara Perera, Interactions between the Circadian Clock and Microgravity

Abstract: Circadian rhythms are regular oscillations of an organism’s physiology with a period of approximately 24 hours. In Arabidopsis, circadian rhythms regulate a suite of physiological processes including transcription, photosynthesis, growth, and flowering. An exploratory evaluation of RNA-seq data from Arabidopsis space flight experiments showed enrichment of clock-related genes involved in the response to microgravity conditions. Further evaluation using a root-bending assay provided further evidence that the circadian clock is involved in the response to gravity. The time of day when the root bending assay was performed changed the response angle in plant roots. Finally, WT plants and a circadian clock mutant, CCA1 OE, were grown on a 3d clinostat and exhibited different responses to a simulated microgravity experiment. This project will utilize clock mutants and root bending assays to evaluate the impact of microgravity on the circadian regulation of transcription using an RPM (random positioning machine). These experiments will enable us to better understand how the interaction of the between the endogenous circadian clock may influence the gravity response.

41. Nicole Stumbling Bear, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Biology & Science Education, Advisor: Dr. Ben Bahr, Remembering the Apollo Program to inspire student research projects on brain health concerns due to space travel challenges

Abstract: The Apollo Program (1960-1972) solved the challenges of sending astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, providing precise navigation on another celestial body, and assuring life support for lunar exploratory missions. UNC-Pembroke’s contribution to the NC Space Grant Consortium includes neuroscience experiments focusing on challenges future missions will face to protect astronaut’s brains from i) turbulence/G-forces associated with the large rocket designs necessary for deep space travel and ii) cosmic radiation that may increase Alzheimer-type protein accumulation stress in the brain. Different levels of brain insults can occur during launch procedures for aerospace missions and related training. Current studies prepare cultures of rat brain explants containing neuronal circuits vital for memory encoding in order to study the effects of traumatic brain injury and blast shockwaves. Interesting, neurotrauma can induce progressive synaptic compromise and tau pathology, clear risk factors for subsequent neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly, mild impact injuries and radiation exposures may eventually lead to delayed symptomatic induction (e.g., cognitive rigidity) as well as increased susceptibility for dementia later in life. Focus is presently on the screening of novel drugs that promote protein clearance and synaptic protection (Bahr 2014 Rejuvenation Res 17:382-384; Smith et al. 2016 Exp Neurol 286:107-115; Farizatto et al. 2017 PLoS ONE 12:e0182895), for developing an effective treatment and/or preventive strategy since health effects after shockwave exposures and deep space radiation can continue for long periods. UNC-Pembroke continues to provide important research training for students at pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate levels in order to prepare them for further studies of neuronal repair mechanisms. From Borman, Lovell, and Anders, first witnesses of the rare Earthrise, to the chosen 12 that walked on the Moon with the help of 400,000 talented workers, the Apollo Program continues to inspire young scientists to unlock new ideas for bold and safe space exploration.

42. Bryan Toton, North Carolina State University, Graduate – Masters, Major: Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Lisa Chang, Eat Prosperity

Due to the rise in atmospheric temperatures of our planet, storms are becoming more severe, polar ice caps are melting, and people around the world are starving and praying for help. We need an economically sustainable solution to reverse the heating of our planet that will provide for the common welfare of people. By transforming the landfill into an energy factory, Eat Prosperity will provide substantial relief by converting your food waste into algae feed for livestock consumption. Up to 40% of all food is thrown into the trash and deposited into the landfill. There is a notable landfill crisis, as China no longer accepts our recyclables. Businesses are being forced to throw away their recyclables and the landfills are quickly approaching their peak capacity. The majority of methane emissions at the landfill are due to the decomposition of food products. When our waste breaks down, it produces a liquid called leachate that is collected in large tanks to be burned up and released into the atmosphere. By separating our food scraps at the consumer level, we will be able to convert compostable food waste into a potent nitrate source, that can be pumped as a feedstock for bioreactors producing algae. The methane at the landfill is combusted and released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide as a “not as bad”solution. Carbon emissions could be trapped and utilized as a carbon feedstock for algae growth, thus vastly improving the growth rate of algae and reducing carbon emissions. Algae feed can reduce the methane emissions of cattle by 99%, and improve their overall health and growth rate considerably. The fate of our communities will rely on how well we decide to recycle properly. Utilizing NASA Bioreactor technology, Eat Prosperity will aim to reduce global methane emissions by at least 25%.

43. David Torres, North Carolina State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Aerospace Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Robert Gargiulo, Fault Tree Analysis

Abstract: During the Summer of 2018, I supported the Safety Mission Assurance Directorate (SMA) Operations Support Division (QA-20) at Stennis Space Center. The mission of the SMA team is to prove safety, risk, reliability, independent assessments, configuration management and quality assurance guidance, and services for all NASA Stennis Space Center (SSC) programs, facilities, and supporting infrastructure. The office actively participates and contributes to the Agency-level Safety Mission Assurance (SMA) effort. Over the course of the Summer, I participated in three projects. Two of them were focused around fault tree analysis (FTA) and the third focused on relief valves for the E-1 engine test stand.

44. Sabrina van der Gracht, Elon University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Computer Science, Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Labin, Spacecraft Health and Early Warning

Abstract: DashboardModern spacecraft are designed to produce and downlink much more telemetry data than is practical for manual monitoring. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is conducting an internal research project to determine the use of big data mining techniques in autonomously identifying anomalies and unexpected system changes in a telemetry point. Minimal Effort Telemetry Data Mining (METDM) uses data from the Van Allen Probes to test this algorithmic approach. The Spacecraft Health and Early Warning Dashboard is a user interface that displays anomalous data through a customizable dashboard of dynamic graphs. This internship focused on creating a Java-based web application. The internship facilitated the implementation of data visualization techniques in a dashboard view. Exploring a variety of graphing libraries showed that the most effective tool for the scope of the project was HighCharts. HighCharts allowed for detailed customization. It permitted the overlaying of several different formats of graphs. It was used to create contextual graphs with highlighted segments of a telemetry point, overlaid views of nominal and test data, as well as statistical charts of histogram distributions. The Spacecraft Health and Early Warning Dashboard compliments METDM by displaying anomalies in a visual format for Mission Operations.

45. Emily Ury, Duke University, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Ecology, Advisor: Dr. Justin Wright, Coauthor: Emily Bernhardt, Can we monitor saltwater intrusion from space?

Abstract: Saltwater intrusion is a symptom of coastal change that impacts ecosystems beyond coastal margins and estuaries. In North Carolina, there is evidence of saltwater intrusion reaching miles from the shore. Current efforts to monitor the effects of saltwater intrusion on vegetation are typically small in scale, site specific, and conducted on a case by case basis. By leveraging the power of satellite remote sensing, we propose a new approach to monitor the progression of saltwater intrusion over time. On the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, where forested wetlands  feature prominently on the landscape, we are using vegetation stress responses as proxies for the movement of marine salts in land. Sea level rise, channelization, storms, and droughts, each influence the movement of marine salts into freshwater wetlands. We are using the Landsat 5 record to study how wetland vegetation has changed over time. Through comparison of several vegetation indices across wetlands in Eastern North Carolina, we are able to detect areas of vegetation stress. By comparing these stressors to climate records, we can better discern the mechanism of stress, meaning we can infer if salinity,  inundation, or their interaction are associated with areas of vegetation stress, reduced growing season lengths, or tree mortality. In general, we find that elevation, proximity to coast, and distance to channel are the most significant predictors of vegetation stress.  Additionally, we find that forested wetland trees near the Pamlico Sound show more symptoms of stress than forested wetland trees near the Albemarle Sound, which is consistent with higher salinity observed in the Pamlico. Our findings also suggest that certain forest types and soil characteristics may confer more protection against saltwater intrusion and that this should be explored further to inform wetland protection and restoration in this region.

46. Nicholas Wright, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Nanoscience, Advisor: Dr. Hemali Rathnayake, Multifunctional Molecularly-Engineered Materials for Space Power Cross-Cutting Technologies

The overall goal of this research is to explore and understand the fundamentals of molecularly engineered machines (MEMs) through designing, preparing, characterizing, and fabricating robust devices for space applications by using MEMs. Natural MEMs are found in all living organisms and are best known as biological molecular machines, essential agents of movement. These molecular motors consume chemical energy by the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to perform mechanical work that is continuous and unidirectional. In an effort to try and mimic nature, the first goal of this research is to design artificial molecular motors to exhibit controlled mechanical motion and to perform sophisticated tasks. This research field, however, is still in its infancy. Making functional MEMs that are comparable to their biological counter parts still requires further research. In order to accomplish this, linearly-fused polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, commonly known as acenes, are a class of promising organic compounds that exhibit opto-electronic applications. The proposed synthetic pathways explored and used in this research are discussed and characterization of the product material using 1H NMR, FTIR, UV-Vis, and Fluorescence were taken. The yielded product produced a novel polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon that requires further research to bring MEMs out of its infancy.

47. Erika Van Goethem, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Chemistry, Advisor: Dr. John Papanikolas, Coauthors: Jason Malizia, Emilee Armstrong & Emma Cating, Spatially Resolved Carrier and Acoustic Dynamics in Tungsten Disulfide and Tungsten Diselenide Nanoflakes

Abstract: We have combined ultrafast pump-probe spectroscopy and optical microscopy to directly image charge carrier (exciton and electron-hole pairs) dynamics in individual tungsten disulfide (WS2 NFs) and tungsten diselenide nanoflakes (WSe2 NFs) with high spatial (~700 nm) and temporal resolution (~500 fs). This project aims to gain a fundamental understanding of how structural features influence the function of transition metal dichalcogenide (TMDC) materials. A nanoflake is excited by a femtosecond pump pulse (425 nm), focused by a microscope objective to a diffraction limited spot, photoexciting carriers in a localized area of the structure.The probe pulse (850 nm) monitors the pump-induced change in transmission (or reflection), which is indicative of an excited carrier population. Results show that in WS2 NFs, photoexcited excitons decay into free carriers, while WSe2 NFs display more complex dynamics. The chalcogen atom determines whether the excited state of the material is more or less absorptive to the probe. Both WS2 and WSe2 NF edges have dangling bonds that create trap states in the band gap, providing a lower energy pathway for carrier relaxation and decreasing the lifetime. Both nanomaterials also display a periodic modulation in the pump-probe signal across the NF surface, resulting from the coupling between the excitons and the probe photons (called polaritons).  WS2 and WSe2 NFs display low frequency acoustic modes attributed to a radial breathing modes, longitudinal acoustic modes, and shockwaves. We observe the shockwave propagating along the nanoflake surfaces using the spatially-separated pump-probe configuration. The pump pulse generates the phonons at the initial excitation spot and probe pulse detects their arrival at another. The shockwaves propagate at ~7200 m/s (WS2) and ~4400 m/s (WSe2) from the excitation location across the NF surface.

48. Christopher Yoder, North Carolina State University, Graduate – Ph.D., Major: Aerospace Engineering, Advisor: Dr. Andre P. Mazzoleni, Performance enhancement strategies for extra-terrestrial balloon tether-sail trajectory guidance systems

Extra-terrestrial balloon systems have been proposed as exploratory platforms for various planets for years. Most notably, this concept was validated by the Vega 1 and 2 aerostats which were used to explore the atmosphere of Venus. Such systems move with the winds at their designed float altitude obtaining in situ atmospheric measurements. Since the trajectory of the balloon is governed by the wind, there currently exists no way to control the path taken by the balloon. Thus, developing a trajectory control system for extra-terrestrial balloon systems is desired.Previous work on tether and sail based control systems have used a basic sail geometry, but have not addressed methods for potentially improving the performance of the sail. There exist numerous aerodynamic performance enhancements, such as flaps and airfoils designed for specific Reynolds number regimes, which have the potential to increase the performance of a tether-sail trajectory control system for scientific balloons. The goal of implementing such enhancements is to produce the required guiding force while reducing the mass and size of the tether-sail control system. This work seeks to quantify the effectiveness of aerodynamic flaps and ballast mass on improving the sail performance for balloon and sail systems. First, a review of previous work and a system overview are presented. Second, a discussion of approximate Reynold’s number regimes is presented along with a description of the airfoil used for the atmospheres of Venus and Titan. Next, an aerodynamic analysis using Athena Vortex Lattice (AVL) is integrated into the sail model. Finally, the benefits of flaps and ballast mass selection are demonstrated by comparing the sail roll angle values from the optimization algorithm. It is found that both ballast mass and aerodynamic flaps can improve the sail performance.

49. Eric Vetter, North Carolina State University, Graduate – Ph.D. Major: Physics, Materials, Advisor: Dr. Jun Liu, Coauthor: Kyunghoon Kim, Fundamental Studies on the Thermal Spin-Transfer-Torque: Towards the next generation nonvolatile memory for space exploration

Abstract: The next-generation memory chip for space missions requires larger data capacity and higher data density with lower power consumption and shorter access time. One promising candidate is the spin-transfer-torque (STT) based spintronic memory device. The objective of this project is to experimentally study the mechanism of the novel thermal-induced STT and demonstrate the ability to locally manipulate a memory bit. We aim to address a few fundamental questions on the thermally-driven STT: (1) how are the spin currents generated thermally and how do they diffuse? (2) How is the STT generated, what is the conversion efficiency, and how to improve this efficiency Understanding these mechanisms will pave the way for the novel thermal STT-MRAM memory to be used in future space missions. To fully realize the predicted advantages of thermal STT, it is important to directly observe thermal STT and quantify its magnitude. To avoid the parasitic effects in conventional electrical detections, we used a non-contact magneto-optical approach to optically generate and detect the thermally-driven STT. The measurement system based on the time-resolved magneto-optic Kerr effect (TR-MOKE) has been successfully set up in the PI’s lab. We have carried out a proof-of-concept task to understand the thermally-driven STT. We prepared a ferromagnetic structure and have successfully observed a rapid demagnetization of the magnetic layer on a sub-picosecond timescale and partial recovery of the magnetization that is complete after a few picoseconds. We also measured the spin accumulation and provide an analysis of spin transport using spin diffusion equation to explain the spin accumulation. We also detected the precession in an in-plane magnetized layer. Thus, we have demonstrated a successful sample with clearly observed spin accumulation and precession signal.

50. Megan Yaffey, Appalachian State University, Undergraduate – Senior, Major: Chemistry, Advisor: Dr. Libby Puckett, Coauthor: Holland Howard, Development of a Protein-Based Detection System for Organophosphates Using pH-Dependent EGFP

Abstract: Organophosphates are toxic compounds found in pesticides and chemical warfare agents, and low-level exposure to them can be extremely harmful to the environment and human health. Organophosphorus hydrolase (OPH) is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of these compounds, rendering their harmful effects inactive. The current project is focused on generating a detection system for the presence of organophosphates through the fusion of OPH and the pH-dependent reporter protein, enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). In the OPH-EGFP fusion protein, the hydrolysis of organophosphates by OPH releases two protons, thereby lowering the local pH and producing a measurable decrease in the fluorescence of EGFP. The goal of the project was to create a unique vector containing the fusion construct using recombinant DNA technology including PCR to amplify the genes of interest, gene isolation by gel electrophoresis, overlap extension PCR to fuse the genes together, restriction enzyme digestion to create sticky ends, ligation of the gene construct into the expression vectors pFLAG-MAC and pET-21a, and transformation into DH5α competent cells. PCR primers were designed to select for the EGFP and OPH gene sequences and to create ends capable of being incorporated into the corresponding expression vectors. Primer annealing temperatures were optimized for all primers, and both OPH and EGFP genes were successfully amplified by the primers intended for the pET-21a vector. The pFLAG-MAC primers were found to be insufficient in the amplification of the OPH gene. The fusion of the genes by overlap extension PCR was unsuccessful, necessitating the continuation of this project and the adjustment of PCR parameters.

51. Sara Wasserman, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Undergraduate – Junior, Major: Chemistry, Advisor: Dr. Amanda Wolfe, Aluminum Chloride Mediated Synthesis and Antibacterial Evaluation of the Naturally Occurring Substituted Phenanthrenequinone, Denbinobin

Abstract:The viability of space exploration and colonization is reliant on the stable and sustained health of astronauts. The restricted conditions of space travel pose unique complications to the treatment and prevention of common diseases, especially communicable diseases such as bacterial infections. The development of a robust arsenal of medicinal compounds for use during prolonged periods of space travel is therefore critical. This study represents an initial investigation into the synthesis and potential antibacterial properties of the naturally occurring substituted phenanthrenequinone denbinobin. Denbinobin is a known anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-HIV agent that shows promise as a new antibacterial agent which may combat drug resistant bacteria. Denbinobin will be prepared via a seven-step chemical synthesis and evaluated for antibacterial activity against a panel of Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria via a standard broth microdilution assay. Precursor intermediate compounds of the denbinobin synthesis have been produced in moderate yield via the aluminum chloride mediated ring closure of stilbene. The results of this study will bolster the literature on the synthesis and bioactivity of denbinobin, providing new insight into a potentially useful medicinal compound for space exploration.

52. Durham Technical Community College HASP Team, James Cowell & Meredith Murray, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Robotic Arm Materials Matching and Manipulation: RAM3

53. NCC Balloon Team, George Green, Nash Community College, High Altitude Balloon Payload Design

54. Edgecombe Community College Balloon Team, Garrett Parker, Edgecombe Community College, Improvements for High Altitude Balloon Payload Design and Telemetry

55. Edgecombe Community College Balloon Team, Copland Lachapelle, Edgecombe Community College, Edgecombe Community College’s High Altitude Balloon Team

56. East Carolina University Rover Team,Team members: Evan Diener, Andrew Grena, James Morris & Morgan Watkins, East Carolina University, ECU NASA Rover Challenge

57. North Carolina State University AUVSI ARC Team, Team members: Spencer Freemen, Hannah Oliver & Colin Moore, North Carolina State University, Autonomous Unmanned Aerial System Design and Integration

58. University of North Carolina at Charlotte Robotics Team, Team members: Paul Pham, Matthew Trusnovic, Austin Joyner, Jessi Whiteside, Cristian Garcia, Travis Tessier & Thomas Rollins, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Astrobiotics

59. University of North Carolina at Charlotte IEEE Team, Team members: Nathaniel Belles, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte Area Robotics- SoutheastCon Hardware Competition 2019

60. North Carolina State University HPRC Team, Team members: Sean Aiton, Michael Casper & Gabe Buss, North Carolina State University, NASA Student Launch- NC State

61. North Carolina State University AIAA Team, Team members: Kevin Gitushi, Christopher Scott & Rachita Shah, North Carolina State University, Remote-Controlled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Carrier Operations

62. North Carolina State University Underwater Robotics Team, Team members: Amalan Iyengar, Jake Keller & Vincent Patella, North Carolina State University, Design and Fabrication of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle