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2011-2012 Funded Research






University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Linxia GuFracture characterization of Adhesively Bonded Composite Joint
Linxia Gu, Mechanical Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE

This research will develop a prediction model for the life and strength predictions for adhesively bonded composite joint. specifically we will utilize finite element method to study the dynamic crack propagation of notched titanium plate repaired with a 4-ply boron/epoxy prepreg patch The insights gained through this research could be incorporated into the efficient repair/design of future aircraft, and extended to composite gas tank design, etc.

Biomechanical activities of space travel
Linxia Gu, Mechanical Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE

The proposed activity aims to help build long-term collaborative partnerships with K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers by involving the teachers in engineering research and helping them translate their research experiences and new knowledge of engineering into classroom activities. The teacher will develop interdisciplinary hand-on activities aimed at expanding the curriculum and attracting underrepresented students into engineering disciplines. The outcome will be assessed and shared with the community.


Jeff HawksRobotic Pleural Catheter Insertion
Jeff Hawks, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

The management of pneumothoraces is a clinical priority for the Lunar Outpost, ISS Contingency, and Outpost Contingency missions.  The objective of this research is to develop an autonomous method for delivering a chest tube for pneumothorax management.  While astronauts are given basic medical training, chest tube insertion can be difficult for a novice.  Robotic chest tube insertion would decrease possible complications caused by using improper force and oversized incisions.  Parameters such as insertion speed, repeatability, and the effect of variable tissue mechanics will be investigated through measurements from laboratory experiments during the prototype design process.  A robust and reliable robot prototype will be designed, built, and tested experimentally to evaluate efficacy.  This research is intended to serve as a preliminary study into the feasibility of autonomous chest tube delivery.  Data gathered through these experiments are expected to lead to publications, further NASA collaboration, and funding for future projects.

Carl NelsonImpact of Master Control Interface Design on Skills Performance During Robot Tele-Operations
Carl Nelson, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

This project aims to gain insight into the effects of human-robot control interface design on the performance quality of robot tele-manipulation. The cognitive effect of controlling increased numbers of degrees of freedom (DOF), or kinematic joints, in tele-manipulation has not been explored. We hypothesize that increasing the number of DOF will lead to decreased operator performance, and that using controllers whose kinematic configuration is dissimilar to that of the robot being controlled will likewise lead to poorer performance. Using a reusable virtual environment, a set of simple skills tasks will be created. Performance measures will be based on kinematic data from the instrument tips of the simulated manipulator. A variety of mechanical control interface configurations will be used, distinguishable by the DOF characteristics (e.g., rotational vs. translational), the number of DOF, and the geometry of the mechanisms. Findings from this project are anticipated to give important insights into optimal strategies for designing robotic tele-manipulation systems and interfaces in such a way as to enhance performance.


Microgravity SEED 2012
Carl Nelson, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

UNL was chosen to work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and its partner Cbana Labs to validate performance of environmental monitoring sensors for the International Space Station (ISS). Cbana Labs has developed a series of volatile organic compound (VOC) detectors based on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology. One of Cbana's sensors is a MEMS-based gas chromatograph with a micro flame ionization detector (FID). UNL’s role is to build an apparatus to test a lunchbox-sized version of the FID device, which will help detect potentially harmful gases in the crew cabin of the ISS. Decades of work on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station have shown that flames, even micro-flames, behave quite differently in microgravity. Testing the performance of an FID device in microgravity, compared with the ground experiments, will give valuable insight on whether the current design is suitable for space flight or if redesign is needed.


K.P. RajurkarElectro Discharge Machining (EDM) of Advanced Materials for Aerospace Applications
K.P. Rajurkar, PhD. Department of Industrial and Mangement Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The aerospace and defense industry being one of the critical and vital technological foundations for the strategic and economic well being of US contributes substantially to the gross national product. To meet the ever growing demands of lighter and stronger aerospace components new advanced materials such as Titanium alloys, Inconel and Hastealloys are being used. Titanium alloys have highly desirable properties of toughness, strength, corrosion resistance, thermal stability and light weight required for aerospace applications. However, titanium’s poor thermal conductivity, strong alloying tendency, and chemical reactivity with cutting tools pose very difficult challenges for making aerospace components using conventional machining processes such as turning, milling and drilling. Therefore, this study focuses on developing knowledge and technology for efficient machining by using Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM ).

Research Tasks:

  1. Conduct an extensive literature review of properties of titanium alloys, their applications in aerospace and defense industries, and limitations of machining processes currently being used in machining titanium alloys.
  2. Conduct experiments using EDM system available at the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, UNL. Titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) workpices will be machined by solid copper and tungsten electrodes as well as cell electrodes made of small thin wires of same materials. It is expected that electrodes made of thin wires will provide a better process performance.

Experiments and Measurements:

  1. All experiments will be conducted using the EDM systems available at UNL. The Wire-EDM system is shown below.
  2. Material removal rate will be estimated by weighing the workpiece before and
    after machining. A profilometer with a stylus of diameter 3 micrometers will be used to measure surface roughness. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) will be used to examine the surface characteristics such as craters and re-solidified layer.

Future Proposal and Curriculum Development and Dissemination:
A proposal for a comprehensive study will be prepared in collaboration with NASA Marshall Manufacturing Center for aerospace applications. Research results will be incorporated in manufacturing courses.


DBFDesign Build Fly
Kevin Cole, PhD., Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

The Design-Build-Fly (DBF) competition presents students with an annual challenge for a radio-controlled electric-powered airplane. The student teams are required to develop a suitable design through analytical evaluations, fabricate the design through practical manufacturing methods, and demonstrate the flight capabilities of this design. This contest allows students to work as part of a team and put the analytical skills taught in the classroom to use.  For the University of Nebraska, this contest is especially challenging, as the University does not offer an Aerospace Engineering degree.  This competition allows DBF team members to bridge the gap between their engineering studies at UNL and Aerospace Engineering.

Photo: Kearney Lackas shows the UNL Design-Build-Fly vehicle airframe for 2012.


Lunabotics TeamLunabotics Team, UNL Aerosace Club
Kevin Cole, PhD., Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

The Lunabotics Challenge is an international competition for student-built autonomous robots to simulate mining on the moon.  The UNL team has 15 students that meet at least once a week. Our most important goal is to get a prototype built very early on to allow significant drive testing while the other components are being assembled and built. We are currently assembling our prototype. Our drive system design will use tank-drive and tracks. For the mining process, we plan to use a simple bucket and scoop system. Our programmers will strive toward full autonomy but we will have backup controls if necessary. We will also attempt to use a Microsoft Kinect with its camera and depth sensors for obstacle and range detection.


USLINASA University Student Launch Initiative

Kevin Cole, PhD., Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

The NASA University Student Launch Initiative, or USLI, is a competition that challenges students to design, build, and launch a reusable rocket with an experimental payload to one mile above ground level. The University of Nebraska – Lincoln Rocketry Team is competing with its Deimos launch vehicle and testing aerial mounted wind belt technology as one of 42 university teams from around the country. Through participating in this project, students of many engineering disciplines learn to work together as an effective team completing design milestones, technical reviews, and system testing. Project management, hands on learning, and application of class room material play a major role in team success.  Students are ultimately engaged in scientific research and real-world engineering practices with NASA engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Photo: AIAA UNL Rocketry Team members Matt Mahlin and Bryan Kubitschek with Deimos rocket under construction.


KettlerIron-Oxide Cements in Clastic Sedimentary Rock: Iron Isotope Evidence for Carbonate Precursors

Richard Kettler, PhD., Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

There are many enigmatic deposits of iron oxide in permeable rocks at and near the Earth’s surface.  Spherical iron oxide concretions have been found in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone and boxworks with spectacular, intricate banding are observed in the Triassic Chinle Formation (known as “Wonderstone” ).  The attached image shows two box-like concretions from the Navajo Sandstone of southern Utah.  Enclosed in the largest concretion is a residual core consisting of iron-oxide cemented sand whereas the smaller concretion (immediately above hammer in image) contains only bleached, friable sand.  We interpret the iron-oxide cement to be products of subsurface oxidation of siderite-cemented masses by microbes.    We can test this hypothesis by using iron isotopes.  Most iron oxides have 56Fe:54Fe ratios similar to those for the bulk crust of the Earth.  Siderite contains iron that is typically enriched in 54Fe relative to 56Fe.  Our interpretation is that the microbes were able to oxidize some of the concretions completely to make iron oxide (e.g., the smaller concretion in the image).  The low 56Fe:54Fe ratios of the parent siderite should, therefore, be preserved in such cements.  The residual cores are likely to have higher 56Fe:54Fe ratios reflecting loss of 54Fe and adsorption of 56Fe on sand grains.

Ram BishuDevelopment of a Taxonomy for EVA Work Load Assessment
Ram Bishu, PhD., Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

NASA JSC will develop a suit architecture dependent model to estimate the amount of effort needed to perform task.  They willconduct a series of studies to systematically evaluate the effort needed to perform a multitude of physical and cognitive tasks based on mission expectations while unsuited, wearing a pressurized suit, and in shirt sleeves and assess the impact of extra physical and cognitive effort needed due to suit architecture.  Currently, NASA does not have sufficient in-flight data gathered in this area but for developing future planetary and reduced gravity suits, NASA needs a workload assessment tool as a means to identify consistently the current limitations/capabilities of current suit in order to enhance crew performance, fit, and comfort. This proposal seeks will develop taxonomy for EVA work load assessment.  The methodological plan will involve development of  a candidate list of EVA tasks, develop a taxonomy on how to measure their performance and how to assess their work load.  The taxonomy will be developed here while the actual assessment will be done at Anthropometric and Biomechanics Lab at JSC, Houston.



UNL Engineering Students Visit JSCEngineering Learning Community Trip to Texas & E-Week
David Williams, College of Engineering, Unversity of Nebraska - Lincoln

JSC TRIP - The UNL Engineering Department hosts an annual trip over spring break for undergraduate students to learn about and explore engineering careers.  These efforts are a part of the College’s ongoing efforts to retain more students in engineering career paths.  This year's trip to Houston included a visit to Johnson Space Center during which the students were able to speak to NASA researchers, astronauts and interns working on engineering and technology projects.  In addition, this group toured ExxonMobil and Kiewit Offshore industries and students were able to speak with professional engineers as well as meet alumni in the area.  Students who have participated in these trips have been retained at a 20% better rate when compared to the first-year students in their cohort.

E-WEEK - A tradition since 1913, E-Week is dedicated to recognizing and rewarding engineers’ accomplishments.  Students celebrated the end of the academic year by participating in events like the Mr. & Ms. Engineer Pageant, Pi-K Race, Kickoff Tailgate Party, Quiz Bowl and many other activities. The week culminates with the annual E-Week Open House during which senior engineering students display their research projects, corporate representatives host booths to promote their companies, and high school students partake in information sessions and hands-on activities that highlight the benefits of becoming an engineer.



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University of Nebraska Medical Center

Ka-Chun (Joseph) SiuImpact of Environmental Distraction on Skills Performance and Fatigue during Telesurgery
Dr. Ka-Chun (Joseph) Siu, Environmental, Agricultural, and Occupational Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha NE

During space travel, using telesurgery through interactive telepresence may be the only viable option for providing for surgical care. However implementing telesurgery requires extensive training to perform the surgical procedures in demanding environments like space exploration. Telesurgery involves multiple components, and interference among these components causes interruption as well as distraction to the surgeon. Particularly, sources of distractions are related to communication, equipment, working environment, and procedural events. Even from a patient safety perspective, distraction during surgery can induce undesirable surgical errors. Therefore, in this project, the first aim is to investigate the impact of distractions on telesurgical skills performance among performers with different surgical experience levels, and the second aim is to examine the impact of distractions on telesurgical skills performance when performers experience fatigue.


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University of Nebraska at Omaha

Nick StergiouSensory Interaction in Patients with Benign Paroxysmal Postional Vertigo During Locomotion in Space
Nick Stergiou, Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facilty, University of Nebraska at Omaha

One of the potential challenges of astronauts during spaceflight is potential mild vestibular disorder or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This vestibular disorder influences locomotor abilities, which are essential for astronauts to successfully complete space missions, especially manned missions to Mars or our Moon. BPPV is treated as a mild level vestibular disorder because the symptoms of vertigo are intermittent. Most patients tend to ignore the symptoms of vertigo without treatment because of its mildness; however, studies showed that patients with this mild vestibular disorder indeed change their postural control during standing and eventually can have detrimental effects such as falls at an older age. To our knowledge, no study has assessed BPPV during locomotion. The current proposal will develop and validate a novel locomotor sensory organization test to evaluate dynamic control during locomotion in order to ensure that astronauts are fit for spaceflight and able to conduct NASA’s mission. Our proposal will include several graduate and undergraduate students in this project, thus cultivating Nebraska’s workforce. In a similar manner, our project provides opportunities and activities to students in STEM disciplines along the full length of the education pipeline and partnering with the Neuroscience Laboratories at NASA. These results will provide the groundwork to investigate sensory interaction during locomotion.


Dr. Blanke & Jennifer YentesRestoration of function post-spaceflight through exercise rehabilitation
Dr. Daniel Blanke, School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha

There are known medical implications to spaceflight, hence, astronauts undergo strict fitness regimens, nutritional regulations, and laboratory testing in order to ensure only the healthiest candidates are allowed to travel in space. The extensive screening of astronauts is thought to reduce the risk of medical problems during space travel. However, astronauts suffer from extreme muscle wasting and weakness from unloading and disuse during spaceflight. Similar muscle wasting and weakness results from certain chronic medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Patients with COPD and elevated levels of oxidative stress can be used as a model for exploring possible rehabilitation protocols in astronauts returning from space. This program will measure function before and after a six-week exercise intervention. We propose an exercise intervention to identify the effect of intervention on physical activity levels as well as gait pattern functioning. All patients with COPD will receive 16 exercise sessions over a six week period of time that focuses on cardiorespiratory and strength training components. This project is an extension of Jennifer Yentes, MS, doctoral dissertation, “Mechanisms of Mechanical Abnormalities in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.” Chun Kai Huang, a doctoral student in the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, will be primarily working on this project. This project will involve collaboration with Dr. Melissa Scott-Pandorf, Exercise Physiology and Countermeasures Project, through the Johnson Space Center.


Grif ElderUndergraduate Research in Mathematics
Griff Elder, Phd., Department of Mathematics, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The project pilots one in a collection of four graduate level algebra courses (some master's level, some PhD level) that will be taught in rotation at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. This year, the course is a  two semester Seminar on Hopf Algebras, using the new book by Robert Underwood "An Introduction to Hopf Algebras". There are some exceptional students at UNO. These courses will keep them challenged, prepare them for undergraduate/masters research and also prepare them for entrance into a PhD program


Azad AzadmaneshArea Coverage Analyses & Experimentations in Sensor Networks
Azad Azadmanesh, PhD., Department of Comtuper Science, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The area-coverage problem refers to the coordination and placement of sensors to efficiently cover a sensor field, so that the coverage needs of the application are guaranteed. This project will investigate the area-coverage problem by developing a simulation software product and a prototype. The simulation software will allow us to experiment with various coverage-algorithms for distributing sensors, and will have the capability of comparing these algorithms in terms of performance and efficiency. The prototype will include the deployment of a number of sensors and their coordination to implement some chosen applications often used in sensor networks. Such applications may include the localization and tracking of objects. The soundness of the research study will be achieved by allowing the software product to guide the deployment of the prototype and the prototype to calibrate the software in terms of the environmental behavior and characteristics of the prototype.


Sara MyersExternally Powered Orthosis to Improve Mobility After Long Duration Space Flight

Sara Myers, PhD., School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The effect of microgravity experienced during space flight has a strong physiological impact on astronauts, resulting in numerous negative changes including muscle atrophy. It has been demonstrated that the calf muscles in individuals returning from space have decreased force output, with more dramatic deterioration seen as mission time increases. The rehabilitation that is needed to strengthen calf muscles after returning from microgravity is a long and burdensome process. As future mission durations increase, it will be necessary to develop a method for post-flight recovery that assists astronauts with activities of daily living. The purpose of this proposed research is to design and build an externally powered ankle-foot orthosis for use by astronauts after returning to Earth to counter calf muscle atrophy until full muscular recovery.  The device will target the ankle-foot complex, specifically the calf muscles that are used in forward propulsion during walking. The externally powered ankle-foot orthosis will be worn around the lower limb similar to current ankle-foot orthoses. The proposed orthosis will produce a significant plantar-flexor torque at the ankle joint at the end of stance, helping to further propel the person wearing the device. Adjustability within the strength of the orthosis will permit for healthy recovery for individuals as they regain strength. The project will encompass building an externally powered ankle-foot orthosis as well as human subject testing. Shane Wurdeman, a PhD student in the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility will work on this project. The project will also strengthen collaborations with Melissa Scott-Pandorf of Johnson Space Center, who is serving as a consultant on this project.


Roxanne SteelePlant genetic biodiversity assessment using massively parallel sequencing
P. Roxanne Steele, Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Plant genetic variation in ecosystems enhances the genetic diversity of other organisms and improves population performance and ecosystem services.  Describing and understanding the extent of genetic variation in a natural community can help conservation planners in making decisions about environmental restoration and ecosystem protection.  Typically, the evaluation of biodiversity in an ecosystem involves assessing species richness; however, criteria used to define species vary across organisms and between taxonomists.  In this study, we aim to characterize the plant genetic variation at population and community levels in an endangered grassland prairie in the sandhills of Nebraska using massively parallel (MP; next-generation) sequencing.  Toward this end, we will conduct field work to collect plant samples in the three dominant plant families in the prairie – Asteraceae (sunflowers), Poaceae (grasses), and Fabaceae (legumes) – and extract total genomic DNA for Illumina sequencing.  Expected results of sequencing include complete plastid genomes, mitochondrial genes, and nuclear ribosomal DNA.  These data will be analyzed for sequence variation at inter-individual, inter-specific, and inter-generic levels to inform species identification and biodiversity assessment and provide pilot data for an extended study across flowering plants at the site.


David SmithFAA Physiological and Survival Training Attendance for Professional Pilot Curriculum Capstone Course (AVN4060) Students
David Smith, Aviation Insitute, Unversity of Nebraska at Omaha

A group of 12 UNO Aviation Institute Professional Pilot students will attend Aircrew Physiological and Survival training at the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City on 23 and 24 February, 2012.  Physiological training includes the bodily effects of unpressurized flight, night and disorientation in instrument conditions, capped by a session in the hypobaric altitude chamber.  Survival training topics include emergency egress procedures and use of floatation and signaling equipment; these skills will be reinforced by a practical session in the training pool on site.  This training is an invaluable work-force development activity for these students who intend on pursuing careers in commercial, corporate or military aviation fields.


Jim RogersTechnology for Collaborative Biomedical Research
Jim A. Rogers, Mathematics, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The high complexity of biochemical networks necessitates the world-wide scientific community as a whole to study and contribute to evolving, globally shared models of biological processes. Our group launched a new collaborative platform for creation and simulations of virtual cells. In parallel, the world-wide community created a standard exchange medium for biological models. However, supporting only a narrow type of models, this standard cannot be used to exchange virtual cells created in our platform. Thus, the purpose of this project is to continue our group's participation in the development of the international standard and its inclusion in the modeling platform. The technologies around which this proposal centers are becoming the centerpiece of new classes developed at UNO to promote STEM education. Hence, further development and support obtained through this project will be an important step for continued efforts in the STEM education direction.


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Metropolitan Community College



Metropolitan Community College


Kendra SibbernsenEarly Undergraduate Research at a Community College
Kendra Sibbernsen, PhD., Metropolitan Community College

Abstract:" Over the past 5 years, students from Metropolitan Community College have participated in two areas of research, cosmic ray detection and high-altitude ballooning. MCC High Altitude BallooningWith an emphasis on inquiry, the students designed their own research questions, took the data, analyzed it, and presented their results. The cosmic ray experiments took place mostly over summer sessions and the high-altitude ballooning was offered in a short workshop format spanning several weeks during the school year. In this presentation, the successes and challenges of offering early undergraduate research (EUR) at a community college will be shared, as well as suggestions for collaborations and grant opportunities."





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College of Saint Mary



College of Saint Mary


Brena MauckIntegrated Research Project
Brena Mauck, PhD., Director of Math & Biology, College of Saint Mary, Omaha NE

The purpose of this project is to cultivate a research culture among College of Saint Mary faculty and students by integrating more research activities into courses and labs throughout each student’s academic career.  The faculty is working collaboratively on a research topic that will allow students to conduct individual research projects in biology or chemistry.   All projects will correlate by the common theme of water quality. Students working under this mini-grant will organize seminars to that will allow all CSM students to practice presenting their research.  Additionally, journal clubs will be available for students to explore the primary literature related to the many aspects of water quality and its impact.  Students involved with this mini-grant will coordinate seminars discussing different types of science careers.  Such seminars will invite local scientists to campus to speak to the science students.  These local scientists will help faculty incorporate hypothesis-driven research exercises into the labs that students generally take as freshmen and sophomores.  A review of the literature on the value of exposing students to more research experiences earlier in their academic career will be completed in the hopes of publishing this project in a pedagogical journal. Where appropriate, NASA education materials will be incorporated into classes to improve the quality of and interest in the course material. The overall goal is to increase students and faculty involvement in conducting research projects and in discussion of research topics to help generate greater enthusiasm for research on the CSM campus.

Photo:  Dr. Brena Mauck, CSM Assistant Professor of Biology and Program Director of Math and Biology, with CSM student, Emily Sissala, a senior biology major.  Emily will graduate in December.  She is from Council Bluffs, IA.

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ESU #1

Lee BrogieKICKStart II
Lee Brogie, Science Teacher, Wayne Community Schools, Wayne, NE

To promote science teaching and learning, KICKStart II is designed to excite and invite teachers into the world of standards based science education.  Participation in this workshop will promote collaboration among teachers and science professionals, model standards-based lessons that cross grade bands, impart Depth of Knowledge indicators, reinforce the Nebraska State Science Standards (comprehensive science standards, grade band standards, and curricular indicators), introduce teachers to the Nebraska Table of Specifications for Science, and provide resources for continued professional growth. This workshop is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Nebraska NASA Space Grant, NASA Aerospace Education Services Project (Angelo Casaburri guest speaker), Nebraska Public Power District (Chad Johnson, guest speaker), Educational Service Unit #1, Educational Service Unit #8, Northeast Nebraska participating schools, and Vernier Technologies.

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Travel Grants

Anthony Nguy-RobertsonTravel Grant to American Geophysical Union
Anthony Nguy-Robertson, Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE

Green leaf area index (gLAI) is an important biophysical characteristic used in climate, ecological, and crop yield models. There is a need for a rapid and accurate estimation of gLAI on a global scale. Traditionally used vegetation indices (VIs) have shown to saturate at moderate-to-high gLAI (e.g. NDVI) or are less sensitive to gLAI at low-to-moderate values of gLAI. The goal of this study was to determine the best suitable VIs for use in a combined vegetation index for estimating gLAI in crops in the entire wide dynamic range of gLAI. The study area consisted of three fields in eastern Nebraska, USA under different management conditions for the years 2001-2008 for a total of 24 field-years. The dynamic range of maize was 0-6.5 m2/m2 and soybean was 0-5.5 m2/m2. NDVI-like indices were the most sensitive to gLAI below 3 m2/m2 while Simple Ratio (SR) and the Chlorophyll Indices (CI) were more sensitive to gLAI above 3 m2/m2. MTCI was the only VI that was equally sensitive to gLAI in the entire dynamic range; however, it was species-specific. Only Red Edge NDVI and CIred edge were not species-specific. In order to benefit from different sensitivities of the indices to low-to-moderate and moderate-to-high gLAI, this study suggests building relationships using VIs in specific dynamic ranges of maximal sensitivity to gLAI. We suggest using NDVI and Simple Ratio (maize: RMSE = 0.71 m2/m2; soybean: RMSE = 0.53 m2/m2) for MODIS data. We suggest the using non-species-specific VIs, Red Edge NDVI and CIred edge (RMSE = 0.63 m2/m2) for MERIS data. For users which prefer to use a single index, we suggest a scaled combined vegetation index using Red Edge NDVI and CIred edge (RMSE = 0.56 m2/m2); however, this approach reduces the sensitivity of the specific indices in the dynamic range of which they are most sensitive.


Carl NelsonVisit to Cbana Labs in Support of Microgravity SEED Research Project
Carl Nelson, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

UNL was chosen to work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and its partner Cbana Labs to validate performance of environmental monitoring sensors for the International Space Station (ISS), in particular, a micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based gas chromatograph with a micro flame ionization detector (FID). The UNL Microgravity team leaders and faculty advisor will travel to Cbana Labs in Illinois to receive training on proper use of the micro FID technology in preparation for microgravity testing of the device at Johnson Space Center in April 2012.


MarsMars Revealed: Evolving Technology, Advacning Science
Terresa Greenleaf, Winnebago Pulic Schools

In studying the planet Mars we will use a variety of hands-on , inquiry based activities to gain a better understanding of how to better utilize  technology as an instructional tool in the science classroom. By using Mars as a jumping off point for the study of geology (Earth’s and Mar’s), mineralogy (Earth and Mars’), reflective spectrometry, and also the interaction of society and space exploration.


Pam PetersenLiftOff
Pam Petersen, York Middle School Science teacher

Pam has been chosen to attend the LiftOff 2012 Space Explorations and Innovations workshop this month in Houston, TX.  This aerospace workshop will take a look at the historic impact of space exploration and what the future holds.  The emphasis of this program is on STEM education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Pam will tour NASA and the Space Center as well as experience many hands-on, inquiry based science lessons to incorporate into her classroom.  Pam will also hear from many NASA scientists and engineers as well as having the opportunity to share ideas with fellow teachers.  Pam has taught eighth grade Earth Science at York Middle School for 10 years and is always looking for ways to improve her teaching.  She is the mother of two teenagers, Ali – 18 and Evan – 13.  Pam also gets to share her love for science by teaching Science Methods at Concordia University.


Jennifer YentesAmerican Society of Biomechanics
Jennifer Yentes, UNMC/UNO, Biomechanics Core Facility

Jennifer Yentes is a fourth year doctoral student in the Graduate Studies, MSIA program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is currently working at the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility at UNO as a graduate research assistant under the direction of Dr. Nick Stergiou. She is traveling to the 2012 American Society of Biomechanics to present work stemming from a previous NASA Fellowship. She is also a co-author on five other poster presentations at this conference. This meeting takes place August 15-18th in Gainesville, Florida.