MESA Programs

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NASA/CaSGC Space Program

Lunar Claw

Team Members: Ricky Suarez, Donovan Orozco, Hector Oropeza, Fabian Alvarado, Louise Grego
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Dmitriy Kalantarov and Dr. Mourad Mjahed
Campus: Southwestern College, Chula Vista

The purpose of our project is to build a robotic arm that will collect lunar dust. You'll need a fundamental understanding of mechanical engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics. Collecting lunar dust will allow for knowledge of the lunar surface and access to its contents that would be utilized for future lunar missions.Methods used to approach problems and obstacles in the project have been trial and error, use of 2 Dimensional Arrays, Functions, and for loops in the coding. Performance analysis of the robotic arm with servos and design. These methods have improved the robotic arm’s ability to execute precise movements. The code has optimized the robotic arm’s recognition of boundaries and execution of simple tasks. The results demonstrate the possibilities of improving the task of collecting lunar dust. We have learned many things in our experience. How servo drivers work, servos must be in the same frequency to function, too much stress on servos drivers can cause them to shut down. Thus, you would either have to sacrifice the weight of the collected object or length of the robotic arm, use of 2 D arrays and functions, Cable management, Budgeting, Team Coordination, and repurposing simple objects for proof of concept.

Solar Tracking and Weather Analyzing Rover

Team Members: Straight, A.J. and Gandara, Kyara
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Dmitriy Kalantarov and Dr. Mourad Mjahed
Campus: Southwestern College, Chula Vista
Semester: Summer 2022 

Mars is a planet that sparks the curiosity to explore its weather and environmental patterns. The Solar Tracking and Weather Analyzing Rover will take the role of sensing the weather and environment to show how Mars behaves in terms of dust, temperature, humidity, and CO2. With the future addition of a wind and gas sensor, understanding the weather can help astronauts build a base to protect themselves from the harsh environments. We can also compare the atmosphere in areas that are fully lighted and shaded. Using 3D printed materials promotes the idea of using cost effecting materials and encouraging youth to participate in the
STEM field. Having lithium ion batteries allows the rover to be self-sustainable with the sun while moving independently with Ultrasonic Sensors for obstacle avoidance. We also took advantage of using solar power. Our solar panel rotates on a dual axis with precise tracking. Since we have a lot of sensors on the rover, we thought it would be beneficial to have the solar panel power all of the sensors allowing the rover to have maximum uptime. Finally, we also included a GPS to get accurate times and locations of information coming from the sensors. This can help compare the data collected from the data at different times and locations.

Bumblebee Exploring Mars

Team Members: Oliver Casillas, Jonathan Guerrero, Yahir Ibarra, Genesis Montanez
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Dmitriy Kalantarov and Dr. Mourad Mjahed
Campus: Southwestern College, Chula Vista

Bumblebee is a solar-powered and autonomous vehicle (rover), that will navigate through Mars and map its surroundings. Bumblebee will detect obstacles by using three ultrasonic sensors, detect objects at a certain distance and avoid them, and take a different route. The routes are going to be mapped and saved in raspberry pi, and accordingly, it will sketch the routes to eventually create some sort of map of the area. This rover is going to be powered with solar energy that allows it to store energy in a power bank, catch it with a solar panel, and detect where light is coming from with four photoresistors. Bumblebee is equipped with two DC motors and two motor drivers to allow the rover to move around precisely, and is also, energized by the power bank which stores the solar energy captured. It is mostly programmed with Arduino which makes it efficient to program it, and better to handle the motors and sensors. Arduino Mega was the main board since it is faster than Arduino Uno which will allow it to handle the sensors, DC motors, and other components at the same time. Meanwhile, raspberry pi will allow Bumblebee to map the area and perform a different amount of tasks at the same time in terms of coding. 3-D printing was implemented in the vehicle for two purposes: The first reason is to move the solar panel according to where the photoresistors are detecting light coming from and following it with a servo motor. The second reason is to extend the amount of space available to put all the components since there was not originally a good amount of space for the motor drivers and the boards.