Texas A&M Zooms Experiments Into Space
Check out this week’s case study: Ad Astra Per Zoom: Texas A&M Uses Our Software To Shoot Experiments Into Space. This case looks at how Dr. Joseph Morgan, professor in the Electronic Systems Engineering Technology Program at Texas A&M University, coordinates with multiple groups of students around the country over Zoom to develop projects for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Some of these experiments have been delivered to the International Space Station.
“One of the projects that we’ve been doing in connection with NASA and CASIS is part of a program by NASA’s private partnership to help high school students launch projects to the International Space Station,” explained Dr. Morgan. “My lab, called the Mobile Integrated Solutions Lab (MISL), has designed and developed a small form factor which contains a series of integrated circuits used to monitor the experiments sent to the space station.”
Part of this program involves mentoring three groups of high school and middle school students in the Denver area. Dr. Morgan has assigned one of his own students at the university to mentor each group.
“To be able to communicate with our student groups in Denver, we used Zoom,” he said. “It allowed us to discuss software changes that need to be made and present the integrated circuit board to the students so that they can better familiarize themselves with what they are working with. For this, it was absolutely necessary that we use something that lets us show everything being put in front of the camera clearly. Zoom was capable of reaching the level of quality we needed.”
“Because we’ve developed these hardware platforms, our students are able to get high school and middle school students excited about electronics and software development,” said Dr. Morgan. “But we’re doing all of that essentially through a virtual presence and the decision we’ve made after using a number of solutions is that Zoom is the most straightforward, easiest to use, and clean environment for this purpose.”
Zoom also connects Dr. Morgan’s team with private sector firms and partners around the world. “Rather than trying to describe the things we do with words or pictures, our use of Zoom lets us actually act upon our desire to express what we’re speaking about and present our materials as we would if we were standing in the same room,” said Dr. Morgan. “This allows the private sector firms that we work with to gain insight into our work that is represented by more than a few static images.”