The National Aeronautics and Space Administration initiated its EPSCoR program in 1994 through its office of Human Resources and Education. NASA EPSCoR is now under the Office of Education and involves programs in 27 states and Puerto Rico. Nebraska has received more than $10 million in NASA funds since 1994. The NASA Nebraska Space Grant at the University of Nebraska at Omaha administers this program in Nebraska. Currently, four NASA EPSCoR projects are being funded in Nebraska. These proposals rose through state and national review processes among other eligible jurisdictions. The $750,000 awards have a 100 percent matching requirement, span three years, and address specific, high-priority NASA technology and research development needs. In the most recent award competition, NASA EPSCoR received 50 proposals from around the country and awarded 27 grants. Nebraska was one of only six jurisdictions to receive two research awards.
Miniature In Vivo Surgical Robotics for Long-Term Space Flight
Dr. Shane Farritor, Unversity of Nebraska - Lincoln & Dmitry Oleynikov, University of Nebraska Medical Center
The project objective is to design, simulate, and test miniature in vivo robots to support surgery during long-duration space missions. The project explores the use of a new technique called Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES). There is evidence that the small robots developed through this project could be an important component of a medical system used in future planetary missions, but the benefits may also accrue to earth-based surgical teams and patients.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Real-Time Location System (RTLS) Enhancement for Inventory Management and Logistics of Space Transportation Systems
Drs. Erick Jones & Lance Pérez, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
This project investigates the use of in order to streamline astronauts' inventory and logistics tracking onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and other missions. The proposed RFID-based RTLS will be integrated with and possibly enhance the existing Inventory Management System (IMS) tools used by NASA to keep track of inventory in space. The integration of these technologies will allow for a system that has the ability to make automatic inventory updates and can provide the location of misplaced equipment. RFID allows the inventory to be updated without requiring astronauts to individually scan items via a barcode system.
Differential Symbolic Execution
Drs. Matthew Dwyer and Sabastian Elbaum, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
This project investigates a new approach for reducing the cost of verifying and certifying high-confidence software. This approach, called differential symbolic execution, precisely calculates the effects of software program changes. Software designers spend a good deal of time upgrading their software by extending or adding new functionality as well as locating and eliminating bugs. Each time a change is applied to the software, the system must be re-validated to assess that no unintended behaviors are introduced.
Satellite Contaminant Research
Drs. Daniel Thompson and Ned Ianno, University of Nebraska - Lincoln & Drs. Scott Darveau and Christopher Exstrom, University of Nebraska - Kearney
The research will provide NASA with important quantitative information on the physical, chemical, and optical properties of photofixed volatile contaminant materials. These organic materials, found in coatings and adhesives, are known to "darken" under the sun's UV radiation and lessen the efficiency of satellite solar panels. NASA has a vested interest in reducing the effects of these contaminants, which ultimately disrupt spacecraft temperature control, leading directly to premature system failure.