Earlier this month, the Cislunar Explorers project was invited to participate in an exhibit of the three EM-1 secondary payloads selected in the NASA Centennial Challenges CubeQuest Ground Tournaments last year. The Cornell Chronicle wrote an article with more information about the event, which “highlighted new technologies in the aerospace industry, including those that may enable future exploratory missions to Mars or deep space asteroids.” The event was a success with over 350 attendees, including multiple members of Congress as well as a number of staffers.
The Cislunar Explorers team exhibit included a live demonstration of water electrolysis for the production of hydrogen and oxygen propellant, as well as prototypes of the spacecraft aluminum bus structure as well as its 3D printed titanium propulsion nozzle. All of this can be seen in the image above alongside the exhibit’s informational poster and slideshow.
Participants had the opportunity to meet with lawmakers, astronauts, and the general public while showcasing their projects. The Cislunar Explorers was pleased to exhibit alongside our neighbors on EM-1, the other CubeQuest payloads–Team Miles and CU-E3–and to learn more about their projects and the unique technologies they will be demonstrating as part of their missions. Besides the CubeQuest payloads, other EM-1 secondary payloads such as NEAScout were represented, as well as technology development projects such as Kilopower, a small-scale fission nuclear power system under development to support human outposts on the Moon and Mars.
In the article, team leader Mason Peck explains the motivation for NASA to put on this event and for the Cornell Cislunar Explorers team to participate:
“The up-close-and-personal approach to this event helps personalize what might otherwise be inaccessible to people who don’t read technical journals,” Peck said. “Despite how exciting I think our research into a rocket engine that runs on water and sunlight is, a journal article isn’t enough. Telling this story in person can have greater impact than trying to do so through the usual academic channels. When we take our ideas to D.C., we’re trying to ensure they have the best chance to make an impact.”