2022 Student Research Symposium

Banner for 2022 MDSGC Student Research Symposium, July 29, 2022.

The 2022 MDSGC Student Research Symposium will be held in person on Friday, July 29, beginning at 8 a.m. EDT. The venue is the Mt. Washington Conference Center in Baltimore, MD. For GPS navigation, aim for “Johns Hopkins At Mt. Washington, Smith Avenue, Baltimore, MD” (link) and park in the nearby visitor parking lot/garage. Here is an image from Google showing the relative locations of parking and the conference venue:

Annotated google image showing visitor parking and conference venue relative locations.

This year’s symposium will showcase presentations by student interns and researchers working at sites across Maryland. The cohort of presenters represent diverse institutions, including: Capitol Technology University, Hagerstown Community College, Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, NASA, Towson University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland College Park, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore. We congratulate our students on a successful summer and look forward to seeing more of their work in the future!

The DRAFT program follows and will be updated.

2022 MDSGC Student Research Symposium Program

7:30 a.m.
Registration opens.

8:00 a.m.
Poster setup and networking. Coffee, tea and pastries provided.

Session 1, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

9:00 a.m.
Welcome and Introductory Remarks — Dr. Matt Collinge, MDSGC Deputy Director

9:10 a.m.
Avionics Bay Design and Components Integration of MSU’s Liquid Propellant Rocket — Marc Caballes (UMCP/MSU)

The rocketry team at Morgan State University (MSU) is currently designing a single-stage liquid-propellant rocket (LPR) to achieve an apogee of 50,000 feet. Due to the complexity of an LPR, each component of the rocket will have specifications that must be followed to meet the desired apogee when launched. One critical component of the rocket is the avionics bay since it is responsible for collecting the necessary data, such as the apogee, temperature, pressure, velocity, and ensuing communications with the deployment sensors for easy recovery after launch. Hence, this paper focuses on the avionics bay design of MSU’s LPR and the integration of the DAQ Hat instrumentations. Furthermore, this task entails programming the selected Raspberry Pi 4B model to obtain the readings from the temperature and pressure sensors connected to MCC DAQ Hat devices and logging the data into multiple SD cards for redundancy. Lastly, when the correct code is uploaded and all the connections are correctly done, testing each component individually can proceed to ensure they are operating properly. A high-resolution camera will be connected to the Raspberry Pi flight computer to record the rocket flight, which can be installed into the system. All the subsystems will be integrated into the payload system. Overall, the team achieved both design and integration of the necessary components of the avionics bay of MSU’s LPR. 

9:20 a.m.
Relative Sea Level Rise in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor — Robert Long Jr. (MSU)

Sea level rise and land subsidence have been widely recognized as major drivers of geomorphic and ecological change in the Chesapeake Bay area. The Relative Sea Level Rise (RSLR) in the Baltimore Inner Harbor is the combination of absolute sea level rise (ASLR) due to global warming, and land subsidence (LS) due to tectonic downward movement. In this study, two sets of data were analyzed: the NOAA tide gauge in Inner Harbor which has actively monitored the changes in sea level since 1902 for 118 years and the GPS station BACO, 10 miles north of the Inner Harbor tide gauge station, which has recorded land surface elevation change from 2008 to 2019. A piecewise trend of the RSLR is summarized based on the linear trend before 1992 in the twentieth century and the quadratic trend since 1992. The 11-year BACO GPS data indicate a land subsidence rate of 1.90 mm/yr in trend. We estimate a uniform ASLR of 1.1 mm/yr by removing LS rate of 1.90 mm/yr from a RSLR of 3.0 mm/yr during 1902-1992 and its acceleration of 0.1422 mm/yr^2 after 1992. Results suggest that Baltimore should implement more flood prevention plans specifically in Inner Harbor as it is in the coastal area and is heavily affected by the land subsidence issue.

9:30 a.m.
Science in Space — Taliyah Jones (UMES/USNA)

This presentation highlights the experience at the United States Naval Academy. The goal was to create an experiment that would be recreated by K-16 participants as well as assist the STEM team in outreach. The experiment created focused on corrosion prevention. The outreach the STEM department performed included Summer Heroes Youth Program in June and STEM Educator Training in July.

9:40 a.m.
Gas Mixing System for CMFX — Mohamed Nasser (UMBC)

The Centrifugal Mirror Fusion Experiment is a magnetized plasma experiment in a mirror configuration. Using MRI magnets and an ultra high vacuum (UHV) chamber, the experiment will confine high temperature plasma at fusion conditions to produce energy from fusion products. The ultimate goal of the experiment is enabling the commercial availability of compact thermonuclear fusion reactors. The team has designed the Gas Mixing System for the Centrifugal Mirror Fusion Experiment (CMFX) to control the concentration of the helium, hydrogen, and later in the project, deuterium mixture . The system shall deliver the mixture to the HPV chamber. Using a gas puff valve, a mixture with a number density up to n=10^ 19 m^ -3 will dispense into the HPV chamber in 1-1000th millisecond. The Gas Mixing System will operate weeks on end without having to resupply the system with gas as each puff would dispense 0.0002% of the occupying pressure in the system’s volume.

9:50 a.m.
Various Forms of Soft Robotic and Autonomous Applications — Anthony Reyna (CTU/UMES)

Throughout the internship during the summer of 2022 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore(UMES), a variety of technologies related to automation and soft robotics were explored. Ongoing efforts reported in recent technical articles published by researchers at several universities and research laboratories were studied. Pick and place tasks using commercially available soft grippers attached to industrial robotic arms installed in the UMES robotics laboratory were implemented. Also, a Raspberry Pi-based small robotic device, popularly known as GoPiGo was programmed to perform simple line following application and pick and place operations using a novel soft gripper put together in the laboratory using 3D printed flexible filaments. Finally, trials were conducted using “ Programmable Air” an Arduino Nano microprocessor-based soft robot controller that can blow and suck the air out of inflatable elastomer shapes cured on 3-D printed molds with appropriately designed pneumatic channels. Soft components were molded using elastomers based on MIT’s Inflatibit soft robots, integrated with IRobot Create 2 ( the base platform for the Roomba vacuuming robot) platform and controlled using a Raspberry Pi and “Programmable Air”. Some refinements will be necessary before the task assigned for the set-up is properly completed. During the internship, opportunities were provided to participate in aerial imaging missions using a drone, programming a 3-axis Cartesian robot (FarmBot) to seed and irrigate on a raised bed and work with other robotic devices such as a robotic boat and ground robot that are under development in the UMES laboratory with a team of students.

10:00 a.m.
Impacts of Covid-19 pandemics on air quality for selected populated cities across the globe — Will Klein (HCC/UMES)

Air pollution is a global health concern and has led to millions of premature deaths. In overpopulated cities, pollutants such as CO, NO2, O3, PM2.5, PM10, and SO2 have disastrous effects on human health and exacerbate respiratory illnesses. COVID-19-related lockdowns and restrictions have played a major role in air quality and human health. The cities observed in this study are Kolkata, Milan, Los Angeles, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Sydney. The biggest contributors to air pollution in Los Angeles and Sydney were natural wildfires that increased concentrations of PM2.5. In Kolkata trash burning, diesel engines, and coal combustion led PM2.5 and NO2 to increase during the winter months. Milan’s topography promoted PM2.5 concentrations by casting a thick and protective fog over the area during the winter months. The deforestation of the rainforests in Brazil promoted PM2.5 by causing droughts in São Paulo, which made the city very dusty and worsened the air quality. Shanghai is the most populated city in this study, and rapid socio-economic development, vehicle, and factory emissions, and also a heavy reliance on coal-powered heating lead to heightened Particulate Matter and Ozone levels. By analyzing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemics on air quality, the scope for environmental restoration is seen as people and governments learn what contributes to air quality, and how humans can manipulate it. The findings from this study, and other contemporary ones, could aid in efforts towards combating climate change and sustaining human life.

10:10 a.m.
Interaction Between Environmental Factors — Nigel Campbell-Christie (MSU/UMCP)

This project attempts to combine several behaviors seen in nature through animals that form large groups and potentially can show how patterns can develop in any large groups of creatures.  Utilizing efforts of past biologists and roboticists, the research conducted with the kilobots hopes to unlock as many secrets of the animal world as possible by studying the behavioral patterns formed in nature and understanding how to replicate and improve upon those processes.

10:20 a.m.
Poster Flash Talks

      • Space Junk: The Debris Strikes Back — Madelyn Pollack (UMBC/NASA)
      • Thermo-Acoustic Refrigeration — Sean Beahn (TU)
      • Mg II Emission from Low Mass Galaxies at Half the Age of the Universe: Implications for Reionization — Ying Qin (JHU)
      • Commissioning and Integration of the Asteroid Large aperture PHotometry exoplAnet transit (ALPHA) Observatory — Julianna Reese (UMCP/CTU)
      • Magnetic Perpetual Motion? — Daniel Roland (TU)
      • Gecko Inspired Dry Adhesive Tape — Khalil Bethea (MSU/UMES)
      • Thermodynamics Aboard the S.S. John W. Brown — Aaliyah St. Jules (TU)
      • Lunar Rover Wheel Testing — Evan Lewis (CTU/UMCP) & Ali Arnaout (UMBC/UMCP)

Group Photos, 10:30-10:45 a.m.

Poster Session, 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Thumbnail image of space junk poster by Madelyn Pollack.

Space Junk: The Debris Strikes Back — Madelyn Pollack (UMBC/NASA)

Space junk, orbital debris, space trash. No matter what term is used to describe these man-made orbiting objects no longer capable of performing their assigned functions, they cause a constant danger to active missions in the near-Earth environment. This presentation will introduce the relationship between orbital debris events and public opinion of spaceflight in the U.S. (Click image for full size.)

Sean Beahn poster thumbnail

Thermo-Acoustic Refrigeration — Sean Beahn & Jasmine Patel (TU)

We report on the design and construction of a thermos-acoustic tube, in which a standing wave creates higher pressures (and hence temperatures) at the nodes than at the center. A layered plastic “stack” enables sound waves to pass through easily, but impedes the flow of heat. Hence a temperature gradient develops along the stack. We present some preliminary results, and discuss how a more advanced version of this demonstration allows the James Webb telescope to reach the ultra-low temperatures necessary for astronomical observations deep in the infrared band. (Click image for full size.)

Ying Qin poster thumbnail

Mg II Emission from Low Mass Galaxies at Half the Age of the Universe: Implications for Reionization — Ying Qin (JHU)

Galaxies today are surrounded by ionized gas, whereas, more than 12 billion years ago, the Universe was filled with neutral gas. This transition from the neutral state to the ionized state is known as cosmic reionization and is believed to be caused by energetic photons which leaked from galaxies. However, galaxies come in a variety of masses, and it remains to be known the masses of the galaxies that reionize the Universe. In this project, we stack 30 galaxies below 10^9 Msun 8 billion years ago and measure the Mg II, O II, and O III emission fluxes from the stacked spectrum. We find the observed Mg II line flux is ~10% of the intrinsic flux predicted by models. This number can be used to calculate the contribution of low mass galaxies to reionization together with the known numbers of these galaxies during the epoch of cosmic reionization. (Click image for full size.)

Julianna Reese poster thumbnail

Commissioning and Integration of the Asteroid Large aperture PHotometry exoplAnet transit (ALPHA) Observatory — Julianna Reese (UMCP/CTU)

The purpose of this project was to commission an observatory at Capitol Technology University (CTU) to track, identify, and perform orbit determinations on near-Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids and comets. Over the commissioning process, the observatory dome, cameras, and telescope were assembled and configured to move synchronously. The associated software was configured with them to automatically make observations according to designed plans, making the process of collecting data simpler and more accurate than if done manually. Additionally, observations could be monitored and control administered remotely via AnyDesk. Each component was calibrated to ensure proper tracking, alignment, guiding, and focus.

       Upon completion of commissioning activities, various observations were made, including 17 unique NEOs. The sensitivity of the system allows objects as faint as 17th magnitude to be detected. Each set of data was processed to account for noise and to identify and track the object(s) captured, then submitted in a report to the Minor Planet Center (MPC). After making several successful reports, the MPC awarded the ALPHA Observatory its own code, W58. (Click image for full size.)

Daniel Roland poster thumbnail

Magnetic Perpetual Motion? — Daniel Roland & Aaliyah St. Jules (TU)

We investigate both theoretically and experimentally the possibility of a magnetic “perpetual motion machine” originally described by the medieval physician Pierre de Maricourt and later popularized by the Jesuit scholar Jean Taisner. A permanent magnet pulls an iron ball up a ramp, only for it to fall through a hole, return to the bottom of the ramp, and repeat. Due to losses by friction and demagnetization, the motion cannot be perpetual. But we investigate whether even a single loop is possible in principle. We derive and experimentally confirm an empirical force law and use this to obtain intriguing preliminary results. (Click image for full size.)

Khalil Bethea poster thumbnail

Gecko Inspired Dry Adhesive Tape — Khalil Bethea (MSU/UMES)

Normal adhesive tape people use in day-to-day life can only be used a few times before adhesion wears off and can also leave behind unwanted residue. Velcro tape is a technology that serves the same purpose as adhesive tape, but it requires a mating surface. This new form of tape can bypass these drawbacks and requirements by imitating the physical attributes of a gecko’s foot. Geckos can stick to surfaces using a physical concept called Van der Waals Forces because on their feet are very tiny hair-like structures. These “hairs” stick to surfaces because of very small attractive forces at the atomic level. This behavior can be imitated by creating thin pieces of plastic with microscopic hairlike structures similar to the foot of a gecko. (Click image for full size.)

Aaliyah poster thumbnail

Thermodynamics Aboard the S.S. John W. Brown — Aaliyah St. Jules, Jasmine Patel, Sean Beahn, & Daniel Roland (TU)

We explore the uses of steam engine indicators to characterize the performance of different engines aboard the Liberty Ship S.S. John W. Brown, one of the only two reciprocating-engine steamships still surviving from World War II. We first use a historical indicator (a steam-driven analog device) to reproduce a pressure-volume diagram for a small water pump. We then replicate this diagram using modern laboratory equipment and a PASCO interface. Finally, we repeat this for both cylinders of a small marine steam engine. In all cases we use our diagram to calculate engine power, and to diagnose its overall “health”. (Click image for full size.)

Evan and Ali poster thumbnail

Lunar Rover Wheel Testing — Evan Lewis (CTU/UMCP) & Ali Arnaout (UMBC/UMCP)

The goal was to design a testing apparatus capable of testing the wheel that will be used by a lunar rover project, collecting data such as soil (lunar regolith) pressure created by the wheel, rolling resistance of the wheel, and soil displacement created by the wheel. (Click image for full size.)

Omodia poster thumbnail

Vibration-Induced Elasto-hydro-dynamic Adhesion of Thin Elastic Sheet — Isaac Omodia (UMES/Harvard), Kausik S. Das (UMES), & L. Mahadevan (Harvard)

When a thin elastic sheet is vibrated close to a wall, it leads to an adhesive effect first described by Weston-Dawkes et al. Here we quantify and describe the adhesive force as a function of the vibration frequency, vibration amplitude and the size of the elastic sheet. We show that the adhesion force increases with increasing frequency, amplitude and radius of the thin elastic sheet. (Click image for full size.)

Lunch, 12:00 – 12:55 p.m.

Session 2, 12:55 – 2:00 p.m.

12:55 p.m.
Reconvene in presentation room

1:00 p.m.
Space Diplomacy in Action — Marlen Avelar-Gomez (JHU/NASA)

The expansion of space innovation and exploration is possible through diverse partnerships and with the support of the Office of International and Interagency Relations (OIIR) at NASA. This summer a graduate student from rural North Carolina had the opportunity to witness diplomacy in action and apply classroom lessons to meaningful work. Follow her journey as she dives into a new field of interest and confirms her commitment to public service. 

1:10 p.m.
The USNA Summer STEM Experience — Michael Mullaney (UMBC/USNA)

This presentation will describe the experiences had by an MDSGC intern at the United States Naval Academy. Over the course of the summer, the interns helped with the USNA STEM center’s outreach programs, including SeaPerch, SET (Stem Education Training) Sail, and SHYP (Summer Heroes Youth Program). Michael focused his project on creating an educational bridge building kit while going through the engineering design process.

1:20 p.m.
Design and Analysis of a Liquid Propellant Rocket’s Nose Cone and Airframe — Nykiea Bowens (UMCP/MSU)

Two important elements for a liquid rocket are the nose cone and propellant tanks. One purpose of this project is to analyze the nose cone shape, length, and material selections. OpenRocket simulation and MiniTab analysis are used to seek a relationship between the nose cone factors and the altitude reached in flight. The analyzed data shows which factors have a significant impact on the altitude, providing a statistics-based recommendation among the shape, length, and material. The collected and examined data only offers insight into the critical factor; it does not suggest a particular shape, length, or material. The second purpose of this work is the 3D model progression of the propellant tanks created using OnShape computer-aided design. Overall, the results of this project will be used for Morgan State University’s Liquid Propellant Rocket (LPR).

1:30 p.m.
Summer Internship Experience on the AIRSPACES Project at UMES — Arya Das (UMBC/UMES)

During the internship in the summer of 2022 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore(UMES), a variety of robotics and automation technologies including soft robotics were explored. Ongoing efforts reported in the latest technical articles published by researchers at several universities and research laboratories were studied. Recent articles published by the AIRSPACES project team were also studied. Pick and place tasks using commercially available soft grippers attached to industrial robotic arms installed in the UMES robotics laboratory were implemented. Simple flexible automation tasks were also implemented using the six-degree of freedom industrial robot and a four-degree of freedom SCARA robot equipped with a vision system in the laboratory. Preliminary trials were also conducted with “ Programmable Air” an Arduino Nano microprocessor-based soft robot controller that can inflate and deflate elastomer shapes cured on 3-D printed molds with appropriately designed pneumatic channels. During the internship opportunities were provided to participate in aerial imaging missions using a drone, programming a 3-axis Cartesian robot (FarmBot) to seed and irrigate on a raised bed and work with other robotic devices such as a robotic boat and ground robot that are under development in the UMES laboratory with a team of students. Significant effort was devoted to attaching, calibrating, and programming several water quality sensors on a robotic boat and conducting field trials with the set-up in a UMES pond. Valuable experience was gained in working with the Arduino microprocessor board to record the geo-located sensor data and navigating the boat autonomously using PIXHAWK open source autopilot.

1:40 p.m.
Painterbot: Tracing Images With Bézier Curves Using Turtlebot3 — David Kirkpatrick (HCC/UMCP)

I use a modified Turtlebot3 robot to draw pictures using Bézier curves. I briefly describe our robot’s physical design. I discuss my program which converts images to paths using Bézier curves. I use a carrot tracking algorithm with a PID controller to follow the paths produced. I present the robot’s drawings and discuss the results.

1:50 p.m.
Mathematical Physics (& Concluding Remarks) — Dr. Dick Henry, MDSGC Director

The history of physics is a history of discoveries,  which are not properly understood at the time of discovery!  Deeper understanding develops over decades:  with the happy result that fundamental physics is, today, almost entirely simple, easily understandable, high-school algebra.

MDSGC offers our sincere congratulations to our student presenters, a huge thanks to our internship mentors, collaborators, and supporting staff, and our hope that all attendees will have enjoyed and learned from these presentations!

Preserving Dark Skies for Astronomy

Flyer for Dark Skies talk

Happy April! International Dark Sky Week is coming up later this month. We are delighted to invite you to attend a special two-part event in celebration of dark skies!

  • 4/15/22 @ 7pm ET – Dark Skies Presentation: Join us on Friday, April 15th at 7pm in room 361 of the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy (Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus). Dr. Sarah Marie Bruno (JHU), cosmologist, will discuss the impact of satellite constellations on ground-based astronomy, and the importance of preserving dark skies for astronomy and beyond. Light refreshments will be served directly following the talk.

    Preserving Dark Skies for Astronomy: The starry night sky has inspired humanity from the dawn of our history. However, the night sky we can see from Baltimore in 2022 looks vastly different from the skies that Galileo Galilei observed with his telescope or the skies that inspired the star stories of indigenous peoples in North America. Artificial lighting from ground-based sources and reflections off satellites can impact astronomy and impede our ability to witness the natural beauty of the skies. The Milky Way, once a fixture of human experience, is now hidden from view for over two thirds of the world’s population. Sadly, light pollution is only getting worse with the increasing number of commercial satellites flooding low-Earth orbits. While satellite constellations such as SpaceX’s Starlink will likely boost the global economy and increase internet accessibility worldwide, they will introduce additional light pollution and foreground contamination which may greatly impede astronomical observations from the ground. Specifically, solar reflections, radio frequency transmission, and thermal emission will impact ground-based astronomy in the optical, radio, and microwave frequencies, respectively. Bruno wilI (1) discuss the projected impact of the growing space industry on the field of astronomy, (2) present proposed strategies for mitigating these effects, and (3) reflect on the importance of preserving the dark sky environment not only for astronomy, but for human health and wellbeing. 
  • 4/15/22 @ 8:30pm ET – Observatory Open House: After Dr. Bruno’s talk, we will migrate up to the roof of the Bloomberg building for an observatory open house. We expect that observing will be possible beginning around 8:30pm. We will use the telescope in the observatory to view the stars and planets and an additional smaller telescope on the roof to observe the Moon. Join us in celebrating the beautiful dark skies above Johns Hopkins campus! 

Please note that due to space limitations on the Bloomberg roof, this event is restricted to the first 50 registrants. Please sign up here to attend.

The event is free to attend and free parking will be available on the Upper Muller Lot (located next to the Bloomberg building and accessible off of San Martin Drive.)

 Note: This event (both talk and observatory night) is subject to rescheduling depending on the weather. The following Friday (4/22) is a backup day. Registered attendees will receive an email by the evening of April 14th confirming whether the event will take place April 15th or be postponed to April 22nd. 

MDSGC Summer Exchange Internship Program

Each year, student interns are placed at participating MDSGC universities for a paid 10-week engineering internship experience. Visit the 2022 Summer Exchange page to view information about this year’s projects. The application deadline for the 2022 program was March 13, 2022.

The MDSGC Summer Exchange program supports qualified students from participating universities to partake in hands-on summer engineering internships at any of the other participating institutions. Interested students should contact the faculty coordinator (see below) at their home institution. Currently, the participating institutions and faculty coordinators are:

Capitol Technology University
Prof. Marcel Mabson

Hagerstown Community College
Prof. Ed Sigler

Morgan State University
Prof. Guangming Chen

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Prof. Carlos Romero-Talamás

University of Maryland, College Park
Prof. Mary Bowden

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
Prof. Abhijit Nagchaudhuri

Any questions may be addressed to the faculty coordinator at your institution or Matt Collinge at MDSGC.

RockOn Workshop – Summer 2022

Screenshot of RockOn 2021 homepage.

RockOn, a workshop at Wallops Flight Facility for sounding rocket payload design, is an exciting chance for teams of students to kickstart payload projects at their home institutions. Participants in the workshop will build a working scientific payload and then see it launch on a real sounding rocket!

MDSGC secures a number of slots for each year’s workshop and encourages Maryland students to submit applications! Make sure you are familiar with the information on the RockOn page, especially the Workshop and Travel details found under the “Information” tab. (Note that the 2022 workshop, as in 2021, will be largely virtual.) Then, complete our application below!

Application for RockON Workshop

Application for RockON Workshop

Are you a U.S. citizen or permanent resident? *
If offered a RockON slot, will you bring a vehicle to RockON, and if so are you willing to carpool with other attendees for transportation between lodgings and the workshop locations? *
Are you interested in a shared hotel room option? *

2021 Student Research Symposium

Banner for August 4 2021 student research symposium

The 2021 MDSGC Student Research Symposium was held via Zoom on Wednesday, August 4, beginning at 9 a.m. EDT.

This year’s symposium showcased presentations by student interns and researchers working at sites across Maryland. The cohort of presenters represented diverse institutions, including: Capitol Technology University, Hagerstown Community College, Morgan State University, NASA Wallops and NASA Ames, Towson University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and West Virginia University. We congratulate our students on a successful summer, under trying circumstances, and look forward to seeing more of their work in the future!

The full program follows.

2021 MDSGC (Virtual) Student Research Symposium Program

8:45 a.m.
Zoom meeting opens.

Session 1

9:00 a.m.
Introductory Remarks — Dr. Matt Collinge, MDSGC Deputy Director

9:10 a.m.
Radiative Cooling — Ms. Grace Cunningham (WVU / UMES)

The earth is cooled through a process known as radiative cooling. Radiative cooling is seen in many substances and allows a substrate to cool itself below ambient temperatures. Finding substances that use radiative cooling will allow us to cool surfaces without the use of energy.

9:20 a.m.
Science in Space — Ms. Taliyah Jones (UMES / USNA)

This presentation highlights the various activities done to understand science applications in space. It also follows the journey to create a homemade piston launch system that can operate pneumatically and hydraulically.

9:30 a.m.
Space and Technology Internship at the USNA STEM Center — Mr. David Paton (UMBC / USNA)

Throughout this 10-week internship, I was tasked with researching space related physics topics such as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, rotational motion, and gyroscopic motion to make a module that could help educate others about how they impact engineering design in space. I began by looking into rockets, but specifically rocket stability, and how the balancing of the aerodynamic forces is essential for the rocket to achieve stable flight. This involved extensive research into the effect of both the center of gravity (CG) and the center of pressure (CP), and their location along the body of a rocket. I ended up developing a one-page module that allows the STEM center to teach students and educators how to approximate the CP on a rocket and verify that it would be able to achieve stable flight before launching it. Ultimately, I was able to teach this module to 60+ teachers at the SET Sail event in July and provide them with a better understanding about engineering design and rocket stability.

Since finishing the rocket module in mid-July, I have moved on to magnetism and started to work on creating a maglev that would be used within a 1-hour magnetic principles module. I have not completed it yet, but I still have 2 remaining weeks to complete it, and I have made substantial improvements to its design. Working alongside the tool shop on campus, I submitted engineering drawings and had three versions manufactured out of wood, and I am waiting to test the final version. Although this wood version is incomplete, I have been able to utilize Legos to make a modular maglev model that can be customized to one’s preferences and allows for manipulation of both the train tracks and the car to test different designs. It has been very successful thus far and I plan on using both the wooden and Lego maglev in the development of a module.

9:40 a.m.
CMFX Hardware and Design — Mx. Leah Dorsey (CTU / UMBC)

This presentation will cover the hardware selection and design process for subassemblies on the Centrifugal Mirror Fusion Experiment (CMFX). The gas puff valve system and capacitor rack redesign will be discussed in detail.

9:50 a.m.
Interaction Between Emergent Behaviors — Mr. Charles Demery (MSU / UMCP)

Using kilobots, two emergent behaviors will be put in the same environment to see how they interact with each other. The first emergent behavior is based off potential cell repair with kilobots using gradient to find and surround damaged cells. The second is based off typical herding behavior of animals. The two emergent behaviors have a similar end result using two different parameters. When put in the same environment it seems the behaviors don’t interact as the herding kilo bots form separately from the gradient kilobots who focus only on one kilobot to surround.

10:00 a.m.
Getting from Point A to Point B in Five-Dimensions — Mr. Ozzy Weinreb (TU)

The standard line element in general relativity contains 4-dimensions (3 spatial and one temporal). It seems plausible that adding mass as a 5th coordinate will more accurately describe the physical world. This talk will motivate the use of this 5-dimensional line element. A particular form of 5-dimensional metric will also be presented along with some attempts at testing this metric physically.

10:10 a.m.
Physics of the Alternate Tooniverse — Mr. Victor Terranova (TU)

In physics, there is an idea that multiple universes may exist. One of these possible universes is the cartoon universe. The differences between our universe to that of the Looney Tooniverse will be observed in this presentation. .

10:20 a.m.
Q&A BREAK

We will pause for questions to the first group of presenters. Questions may be entered in Zoom chat or online Q&A tool — be sure to specify to which presenter your question is addressed. If time permits additional questions will be taken from the audience — use “Raise Hand” function to be called on by moderators.

10:30 a.m.
Poster Flash Talks

      • Documentation and Improvements to a NASA Flight Safety Risk Tool — Mr. Brandon Gardner (UMES / NASA WFF)
      • Balloon Flight Data Analysis — Mr. Kijjiketchme Southern-Fox (UMES / NASA WFF)
      • Interference to NASA GPS Applications: Lunar Missions & Climatology — Ms. Emma Griffith (UMD / NASA HQ)
      • Optimizing a Mathematical Model for the Intensity of the Extragalactic Background Light — Ms. Maegan Jennings (TU)
      • Rolling Railgun: A Lab Activity for Introductory Electromagnetism — Ms. Taylor Pettaway (TU)
      • Redesign of the 2020 Morgan State Mining Robot Scooper Mechanism — Ms. Emma Brown (UMCP / MSU)
      • Flywheels as Batteries — Mr. Colin Choudhary (TU)
      • Feasibility of using Wifi for high-speed communications with High-Altitude Balloons, drones, and other platforms — Mr. Ethan Hart (UMES / CTU)
      • Discovering the Beyond: Design and Analysis of Morgan State University Liquid Propellant Rocket — Ms. Margaret Ajuwon (MSU)
      • Participation in RockOn 2021 Sounding Rocket Program Launch by NASA — Mr. Marc Caballes and Mr. Sam Alamu (MSU)

Virtual Poster Session


10:45 a.m. — 11:20 a.m.
Poster Session / Break. Stand up and stretch! Then sit down again and peruse our virtual poster session. Click images for full size versions. At 11:20 a.m. we will reconvene for poster Q&A. Enter questions in the online Q&A tool. If possible, remain connected to the Zoom meeting (muted) during the break to reduce time required to restart after the break.

Thumbnail of intern Brandon Gardner's poster
Documentation and Improvements to a NASA Flight Safety Risk Tool — Mr. Brandon Gardner (UMES / NASA WFF)
Thumbnail of intern Kijjiketchme Southern-Fox's poster
Balloon Flight Data Analysis — Mr. Kijjiketchme Southern-Fox (UMES / NASA WFF)
Thumbnail of intern Emma Griffith's poster
Interference to NASA GPS Applications: Lunar Missions & Climatology — Ms. Emma Griffith (UMD / NASA HQ)
Thumbnail of Noam Kaplan's poster
Portable UAV Design for Wildfire Safety Efforts — Mr. Noam Kaplan (UMD / NASA Ames)
Thumbnail of Maegan Jennings' poster
Optimizing a Mathematical Model for the Intensity of the Extragalactic Background Light — Ms. Maegan Jennings (TU)
Thumbnail of Taylor Pettaway's poster
Rolling Railgun: A Lab Activity for Introductory Electromagnetism — Ms. Taylor Pettaway (TU)
Thumbnail of Emma Brown's poster
Redesign of the 2020 Morgan State Mining Robot Scooper Mechanism — Ms. Emma Brown (UMCP / MSU)
Thumbnail of Colin Choudhary's poster
Flywheels as Batteries — Mr. Colin Choudhary (TU)
Thumbnail of intern Ethan Hart's Poster
Feasibility of using Wifi for high-speed communications with High-Altitude Balloons, drones, and other platforms
— Mr. Ethan Hart (UMES / CTU)
Thumbnail of Margaret Ajuwon's poster
Discovering the Beyond: Design and Analysis of Morgan State University Liquid Propellant Rocket — Ms. Margaret Ajuwon (MSU)
Thumbnail of poster by Marc Caballes and Sam Oludayo Alamu
Participation in RockOn 2021 Sounding Rocket Program Launch by NASA — Mr. Marc Caballes and Mr. Sam Alamu (MSU)

11:20 a.m.
Q&A for Posters

We will reconvene for questions related to poster presentations and any remaining questions for earlier presenters. Questions may be entered in Zoom chat or online Q&A tool — be sure to specify to which presenter your question is addressed. If time permits additional questions will be taken from the audience — use “Raise Hand” function to be called on by moderators.

Session 2

11:30 a.m.
Robotics and Embedded Systems Applications with Arduino UNO and Raspberry Pi — Mr. Arya Das (UMBC / UMES)

Sensing, actuation, and control are integral to smart devices with embedded microcontrollers. Arduino and Raspberry Pi microcontrollers and single-board computers can be interfaced with various sensors and actuators and incorporated in mechanical devices to perform a variety of intelligent functions using appropriate software programming. In this presentation use of C++(Sketch), Scratch, Bloxter, and Python programs compiled and executed on Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards interfaced with various sensors and actuators will be elaborated. A novel application using a soft gripper mounted on a mobile robotic device embedded with a Raspberry Pi board will be outlined. Path following application using a light sensor will also be demonstrated on the mobile device using three different methods including proportional, integral, and, derivative (PID) control. The different methods will be compared using path following error data collected and plotted using MATLAB software. With appropriate trials well-tuned PID gains have been identified that ensure accurate path following at different speeds of the mobile robotic platform. A Python program has been developed that allows the user to input any desired speed and the device accurately tracks the path using PID control using interpolated gain values autonomously. The internship also provided an opportunity to get exposure to other activities in the Robotics and Manufacturing Automation Lab at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore(UMES) including industrial robotic arms, soft robotics, and digital agriculture applications using FarmBots, drones, robotic boats, and ground robots. 

11:40 a.m.
Impact of COVID-19 on air quality — Mr. Will Klein (HCC / UMES)

Air pollution is a global health concern and has led to millions of premature deaths. In overpopulated cities, pollutants such as PM2.5, ozone, and NO2 have disastrous effects on human health and exacerbate respiratory illnesses. COVID-19 related lockdowns and restrictions have played a major role in air quality and human health. The cities observed in this study are Milan, Kolkata, São Paulo, Los Angeles, and Sydney. The biggest contributors to air pollution in Los Angeles and Sydney were natural wildfires that increased concentrations of PM2.5. In Kolkata trash burning, diesel engines, and coal combustion led PM2.5 and NO2 to increase during the winter months. Milan’s topography promoted PM2.5 concentrations by casting a thick and protective fog over the area during the winter months. The deforestation of the rainforests in Brazil promoted PM2.5 by causing droughts in Sao Paulo, which made the city very dusty, and worsened the air quality. By analyzing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemics on air quality, the scope for environmental restoration is seen as people and governments learn what contributes to air quality, and how humans can manipulate it. The findings from this study, and other contemporary ones, could aid in efforts towards combating climate change, and sustaining human life.

11:50 a.m.
Hot Intern Summer: Data Acquisition System Design, Assembly, and Integration for the Liquid Propellant Rocket — Ms. P. Wilson (CTU / MSU)

The summer internship and exchange program hosted by Maryland Space Grant Consortium (MDSGC) consists of a 10-weeks internship program in the five participating universities in Maryland. The goal of this internship study is to design, build, and test the Data Acquisition (DAQ) system to be integrated into the liquid propellant rocket (LPR) design at Morgan State University. The study involved programming both Arduino and Raspberry Pi to measure the pressure and temperature readings of the propellant tanks and combustion chamber, in order to make a comparison between the two microcontrollers. Arduino boards (UNO and Nano), along with temperature and pressure sensors, were used to build the DAQ system. Arduino codes were written in the sketch files and uploaded to measure the temperature and pressure readings from the MAX6675 and barometric pressure sensor respectively. These collected results from the DAQ system were compared with results from the several temperature and pressure meters under different conditions (e.g., cold water, hot water) for the Arduino-based temperature sensor and air compressor for the pressure transducer. Results indicated that the developed DAQ system is capable of measuring temperature and pressure with minor errors. The results of this study may benefit the ongoing liquid rocket design at Morgan State University with the aim of reaching 13,000 ft altitude.

12:00 p.m.
3D Modeling, Design Analysis of the Rocket’s Fins using SolidWorks and OpenRocket Simulator and GPS Systems Testing of a Liquid Propellant Rocket — Mr. Justyn Bunkley (UMBC / MSU)

The Morgan State University, ARROW Rocketry Team, is developing a single-stage liquid-propellant rocket (LPR) with a targeted apogee of 13,000 feet. Due to the complexity of the LPR, each component of the rocket must be studied and investigated thoroughly. The ARROW Rocketry Team has decided to use a Featherweight GPS System to track the position of the liquid propellant rocket. During Morgan State’s previous launching of their solid-propellant rocket, an unexpected error occurred in which the Featherweight GPS recorded incorrect data. One of the leading hypotheses of this error is the location of the tracking device inside the rocket that causes system interference with other devices. A reliable GPS system is needed to accurately record the apogee and location of the liquid propellant rocket. To conduct an experimental analysis of the reliability of the Featherweight GPS system, the MSU Rocketry Team isolated the tracking device and placed it inside the nose cone rather than in the altimeter bay. During the rocket launched on the second day of July 2021, the data collected from the Featherweight GPS system was 98.74% similar to the result of the simulated data. Thus, the MSU Rocketry Team decided to use the Featherweight GPS system on their liquid-propellant rocket. Moreover, a wide variety of research and peer-reviewed journals that deal with the rocket’s nose cone and the characteristics of its airframe are already publicly accessible. However, there are only a few in-depth studies that deal specifically with the rocket’s fin. Thus, this research not only focuses on studying the property of the GPS system, but as well as how different factors, such as the types of fins – clipped delta and trapezoidal; the number of fins – 3 and 4; fin materials – carbon fiber, aluminum, and fiberglass; and its geometric dimensions – root chord, sweep angle, and chord height, affect the rocket’s overall performance. Through the usage of the OpenRocket Simulator, a wide variety of data was collected that shows possible outcomes on both the rocket’s apogee and stability. Additionally, a factorial design – Design of Experiments (DOE), was created using the data collected through the Minitab Statistical software to perform statistical analysis in finding the significant factors and creating both surface and contour plots. Results indicated that the best design to reach the maximum apogee is a three (3) clipped delta-shaped tail fin design made of fiberglass material. The fiberglass material is desirable for a rocket fin because of its chemical and physical properties. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio. It has a similar strength to materials with much greater densities and much greater strength than most materials of similar density. It is very durable and resistant to most forms of moisture and corrosion.

12:10 p.m.
HelicitySpace Internship — Ms. Grace Warznak (UMCP / UMBC)

From mid-May to the end of July, Grace Warznak had an internship with the HelicitySpace Corporation at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County through Maryland Space Grant Consortium. The internship involved writing code and machining parts for the assembly of the first iteration of the Helicity Drive, a fusion space propulsion system using peristaltic magnet compression.

12:20 p.m.
SS. John W. Brown Steam Engine — Ms. Jennifer Scheiderer and Ms. Katie Shaw (TU)

We are modernizing the method of measuring horsepower and efficiency on one of the last two surviving liberty ships. We faced many challenges getting a functioning set up and still have future challenges for the main engine.

12:30 p.m.
Transiting Exoplanets  — Mr. Christopher Pamah (TU)

A slightly in depth look at the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission and how we plan to aid the confirmation of exoplanet candidates. I will also discuss how to select candidates for follow up observations, calibrating images, and the application of photometry to obtain the desired light curve. 

12:40 p.m.
The Scourge of Online Solutions and an Academic Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram — Mr. Jacob Buchman (TU)

We report on preliminary results of a statistical study of student performance in more than a decade of calculus-based introductory physics courses. Treating average homework and test grades as proxies for student effort and comprehension respectively, we plot comprehension versus effort in an academic version of the astronomical Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (which plots stellar luminosity versus temperature). We study the evolution of this diagram with time, finding that the “academic main sequence” has begun to break down in recent years as student achievement on tests has become decoupled from their homework grades. We present evidence that this breakdown is likely related to the emergence of easily accessible online solutions to most textbook problems, and discuss possible responses and strategies for maintaining and enhancing student learning in the online era.

12:50 p.m.
Final Q&A

We will take questions for the final group of presenters and any remaining questions for earlier presenters. Questions may be entered in Zoom chat or online Q&A tool — be sure to specify to which presenter your question is addressed. If time permits additional questions will be taken from the audience — use “Raise Hand” function to be called on by moderators.

1:00 p.m.
Concluding Remarks — Dr. Matt Collinge

MDSGC offers our sincere congratulations to our student presenters, a huge thanks to our internship mentors, collaborators, and supporting staff, and our hope that all attendees have enjoyed and learned from these presentations!

Interactive Astrophysics Stories

At the MDSGC Observatory, we’re always looking to share our enthusiasm about the Universe and its many fascinating phenomena. Therefore, we’re pleased to present this short series of interactive online astrophysics stories!

#4: Detecting Exoplanets via Transits

Snapshot of a simulated planetary transit across the face of its host star.

Since the first discoveries starting in the 1990s (see post below), the continued search for new exoplanets and the study of their properties has grown into a major area of astronomical research. As additional effort has been invested and new technologies have been developed, the primary techniques for finding and characterizing new exoplanets have also evolved. Follow this link over to our Exoplanet Transits story at ObservableHQ to learn about how astronomers have discovered most of the exoplanets we now know — and where we’re still looking to improve our knowledge!

#3: Hot Jupiter Systems

Still frame of an animation of a Hot Jupiter planet orbiting its host star.

Until the 1990s, the only planets known to science were the nine* of our own solar system. As technology progressed and astronomers began to focus their efforts on looking for planets around other stars, they received several great surprises in the form of just how different the first discovered “exoplanet” systems were, compared to ours. In the decades since, intense efforts have revealed a more detailed picture, and we now understand planetary systems to be a widespread if not universal phenomenon — as astronomers had hoped all along. But the earliest discovered systems continue to play an important role in our new understanding. Follow this link over to our Hot Jupiter story at ObservableHQ to learn more!

(*Those were the days, eh, Pluto?)

#2: Imaging a Star Cluster

Image of stars in Messier 67 taken from the Maryland Space Grant Observatory.

When it comes to practical astronomy, whether we’re idly admiring the night sky or concentrating closely on a telescopic view, star clusters are some of the most interesting things up there. The image above shows a portion of the star cluster Messier 67 obtained from our Observatory. (Another prime example of a star cluster is also one of the Fall sky’s highlights: the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.) So what, apart from simple visual appeal, makes star clusters interesting for astronomers?

Follow this link over to our interactive Star Cluster Image story at ObservableHQ to learn more!

#1: The Earth-Moon System

Still frame from animation of the Earth-Moon system at the epoch of the dinosaurs, showing Earth's tidal bulge.

It was Fall as we wrote this, and in Earth’s northern hemisphere the days were getting shorter. DayLIGHT, that is! But did you know that actually, the length of Earth’s day is increasing as time goes on? What’s that all about, and what in the Universe could be responsible?

Follow this link over to our interactive Earth-Moon System story at ObservableHQ to find out!

After reading, send us your questions and let us know what you think at mdsgo@jhu.edu!