Grades 9th -12th

The curriculum is based upon content aligned with the NASA’s mission directorates of Earth Observations, Lunar Explorations, and Aeronautics Research, Science (Earth and Space Science), and Space Technology. Across a three-year period, participants will matriculate in three colleges that comprise the Early STEM Institute: The College of Hydrology, The College Lunar Explorations, and The College of Acoustic Damping.

College of Hydrology: Design of a Nature-Inspired Water Purification System -Year One 2022-2023

The project will provide the recruited students with a real world experience on evaluating water quality, understanding ecosystem health, and the processes in nature which purify water as part of the hydrologic cycle. The students will then use the understanding gained from the study to design water purification systems for the water runoff from local sources. They will use the NASA GLOBE protocols and the lab equipment in the environmental laboratory in the department of civil and architectural engineering at TSU. 

The end goal of this project is the design of a water purification system for the TSU Wetland.

College of Lunar Explorations: Design of Airless Tires Year Two 2023-2024

This project will introduce the recruited students to the basics of engineering design, particularly machine design, as well as to additive manufacturing technologies. The students will go through the comprehensive process of visualization, conceptualization, analysis and design of the wheel. They will gain knowledge on important engineering concepts such as material design, mechanical strength, functionality, economy, and sustainability. They will also gain exposure to advanced concepts in mechanics such as pre-stressing, topology optimization, hysteresis, superelasticity and micromechanical analysis. 

The end goal of this project is the design of a wheel that does not need inflation to use in vehicles for space exploration where conventional pneumatic tires cannot be used.

College of Acoustic Damping: Design of Acoustic Liners for Jet Engines Year Three 2024-2025

The liner will be tested in an acoustic impedance tube which will be obtained from the Acoustics Branch at NASA Glenn Laboratory. The project will introduce the recruited students to basics of acoustics, as well as additive manufacturing. The students will also obtain exposure to acoustic mechanical simulation of structures using finite element analysis. 

The end goal of this project is to come up with the three-dimensional geometric design and structure of a compact, lightweight acoustic liner that will optimize the ability for absorbing sound.