Boise State University

BSU student head to NASA to test rock grabber

Boise State University students are headed to the Johnson Space Center next month to test their prototype for a rock-gathering device that could be used by astronauts in space.

Boise State is one of 18 schools from across the country selected by NASA to create what are called Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams. The teams of students will work in a micro-gravity program that uses the same 6.2 million gallon pool astronauts use to train for spacewalks.

Students will direct divers in the pool, who will test the device that was invented to pick up rocks on an asteroid mission. They call the device a Zero Operable Interplanetary Delivery Based Ergonomics Grabber. The acronym is ZOIDBERG, a character in the TV show “Futurama.”

Team members include: Camille Eddy, a mechanical engineering junior, Boise (she introduced President Obama on his trip to Boise in January); Colton Colbert, a mechanical engineering senior, Boise; Eli Andersen, a geosciences senior, Murtaugh; Jacob Davlin, a mechanical engineering junior, Nampa; John Cashin, a materials science and engineering sophomore, Boise; Scott Warren, a mechanical engineering senior, Agoura Hills, Calif.; Christopher Ruby, an electrical engineering sophomore, Raleigh, N.C.; Marina Autina, a physics junior, Boise; and Zachary Chastaine, a physics junior, Orange, Calif.

Their story will be chronicled next week for the Statesman by Kathleen Tuck, the director of research communications and promotions in Boise State’s Office of Communications and Marketing. Watch for Tuck’s first report late Monday afternoon.