About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.

I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.


Real-Life Nerds: Winners of NASA's Star Trek Replicator Challenge

Maybe we can't walk up to our wall mounted replicators and get a cup of Earl Grey tea, hot, just by asking for it, but 3-D printing does bring us a step closer to making Star Trek style replicators a reality. NASA's February 2016 Star Trek Replicator Challenge asked students to use 3-D printing to engineer the future of food in space, and a panel of judges from NASA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Made In Space, Inc. announced winners this week.

The competition encouraged students to think about future long-duration space missions and to design 3-D printable objects that will help astronauts eat nutritious meals in the year 2050. Students came up with designs ranging from devices for growing and harvesting plants to new ways of preparing, eating and disposing of food.

Kyle Corrette from Desert Vista High School in Phoenix brought home the win from the Teen Group (ages 13-19) with his Melanized Fungarium, which includes an outer protective shell, an irrigation system, and housings for an organic growth bed for fungus, which would provide a sustainable food source for astronauts on long term missions. The melanized fungus uses ionizing radiation, common in space, as an energy source. The fungarium is designed to be produced and used in microgravity.

Picture of junior winner Astro Mini Farm designed by Sreyash Sola. The Junior Group (ages 5-12) winner was Sreyash Sola from Eagle Ridge Middle School in Ashburn, Virginia, who designed an Astro Mini Farm designed to grow fresh crops on Mars. The device includes a printed lens on top to harvest the maximum Martian sunlight possible, and the container can be pressurized to about 1/10th Earth atmosphere so plants can grow. The entire device could be printed using material extracted from the Martian soil.

Each of the finalists won a MakerBot® Replicator for their schools and a PancakeBot for their own home. The teen and junior national winners also get to travel to New York City and join NASA astronaut Mike Massimino for a private viewing of the Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum.

Be sure to visit the NASA website to read more about their Future Engineers challenges.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are actively moderated. Keep it civil.