Student PI: Adriana Ordonez

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Janet Tinoco

Abstract: Emerging space economies have different rates of involvement and contribution to the space sector. However, despite different objectives and challenges, investing in the space economy contributes to the socio-economic development and growth of these countries. The main objective of this research is to investigate space in emerging economies. More specifically, through literature reviews, subject matter expert interviews and survey data analytics, we investigate both the benefits of space technology and applications to socio­economic development and space industry development and support. In our research, investigating the industry, politics and law is critical to understanding the future opportunities for space in emerging economies. Our main focus of research will be pertaining to nations in Latin America as compared to focusing on the whole global scale.

Student PI: Andrew Heiles

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sandra Boetcher

Abstract: The increase in renewable energy will require energy storage to sustain the grids. To solve this, the United States has invested in developing new energy storage technologies. One of the key technologies identified by the Department of Energy is the application of thermal energy storage (TES) and its use within buildings. One method of TES is the use of phase change materials (PCM), which rely on a high-latent heat to store thermal energy at the set temperature. Various PCMs have been researched to identify key material properties, and heat transfer experiments have been performed to investigate the behavior under simplified boundary conditions. This study aims to perform experiments with PCM in more realistic boundary conditions for TES applications. This will be done using a heat exchanger test loop that provides temperature-controlled air flow to a test section, similar to conditions in a residential air conditioning system. A test section that allows for examination of the PCM during melting and solidification will be constructed. Using image processing and liquid crystal thermography, the heat transfer behavior of the PCM and the air will be investigated. This will allow researchers to better analyze the interaction between forced convection in a working fluid and natural convection in PCM. These results will help inform the design of TES systems that can be integrated into the residential systems and allow for the improvement of numerical tools for more universal design improvements.

Student PI: Annika Anderson

Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Canales Garcia

Abstract: Colonizing and terraforming Mars is the largest endeavor humanity will undertake this century. This cannot be done without first surveying the planet and its moons, Phobos and Deimos, for the sake of future infrastructure and communication systems. It is then instrumental to design a framework of low-cost orbits capable of fulfilling the needs of the scientific community and private sector. Due to the irregular geometry of the Martian moons and their corresponding nonuniform gravitational fields, orbits must be designed within the context of the circular restricted three-body problem investigating libration points as possible stable solutions. Additionally, this project seeks to use resonant orbits with repeated flybys of the system for easy access to science orbits. The exploration of these science orbits will be constrained within the Mars-moons system. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the resources needed to operate independently. This can be achieved through the creation of orbital infrastructure, such as the use of orbital depots. Orbital depots serve as a proposed method of maintaining spacecraft fueled within the Mars-moons system. Lastly, the expected cost for building the orbital framework for future missions is considered within the scope of the proposed project.

Student PI: Sahil Ghate

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Foram Madiyar

Abstract: The rapid technical development of ultrashort laser systems is creating exciting possibilities for very precise localization of laser energy in time and space. A promising three-dimensional microfabrication two-photon polymerization method has recently attracted considerable attention with ultrashort laser pulses. This method will be utilized to fabricate micropyramid with nano side slits for surface-enhanced plasmonic interaction with incident light of a specific wavelength. When a biomolecule is close to the LSPR region, the electrons and bonds vibrate energetically, changing the impedance of the system. This impedance change will be measured for C-Ractive protein, an inflammation biomarker. The calibration curve with spiked CRP in PBS and plasma will be used to measure the unknown concentrations of CRP in real-life samples.

Student PI: Shital Pandey

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Khem Poudel

Abstract: As people’s reliance on computers and the Internet has grown, digital currency has risen in popularity. Over the last several years, new kinds of currency, such as cryptocurrencies, have been constantly emerging. Within the software business, virtual forms of currency have opened new opportunities in banking, data storage and data collection. In terms of market value, cryptocurrency is extremely volatile, with a slew of unknowns that make it difficult to forecast and analyze future pricing. With the ability to predict crypto prices, one can make a prediction for stocks since the popular coin, Bitcoin, affects stock prices.

Although machine learning has been successful in predicting stock market prices using a variety of time series models, it has been limited in its use to predicting cryptocurrency prices. The reason for this is obvious: Cryptocurrency values are influenced by a variety of factors, such as technological advancements, internal competitiveness, market pressure to produce, economic troubles, security concerns, political factors and so on. Because of their tremendous volatility, they have a huge profit potential if smart inventing tactics are used. Unfortunately, cryptocurrencies are less predictable than typical financial predictions, such as stock market projections, due to their lack of indexes. This research proposes three recurrent neural network (RNN) algorithms for predicting the values of three different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The three models — namely, gated recurrent unit (GRU), long shot-term memory (LSTM) and bidirectional LSTM (bi-LSTM) — will be analyzed depending on the mean absolute percentage error (MAPE). Twitter is becoming more and more popular as a news source, impacting buying decisions by alerting users about the currency and its rising popularity. As a result, a cryptocurrency user or trader might get an edge by immediately recognizing the influence of tweets on price direction. So, we can effectively anticipate the direction of price movements using a linear model that will take tweets along with Google Trends data as input.

Student PI: Taylor Johnson

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rafael Rodriguez

Abstract: In response to the growing global population and subsequent need to more efficiently use fresh water resources, the objective of this study is to advance the knowledge in the field of aeroponic systems by determining the optimal droplet size for absorption of the nutrient solution to the roots of a vegetable, such as lettuce. Further, this study intends to determine how effectively the optimal conditions for one variety of vegetable can be applied to grow other vegetables. The applicant is requesting $6,500 to build and simultaneously test four aeroponic chambers to evaluate the effects of varying droplet sizes on the growth of the plants to determine optimal root absorption. The impacts of this research will not only benefit the development of a sustainable agricultural technique that can compete with the demand from a growing global population and more efficiently use available fresh water but also has the potential to be a sustainable technology utilized in future space exploration.

The global population has grown by 6 billion people over the last century and is trending to approach 9.7 billion people by the year 2050. Agriculture accounts for 70% of global fresh water usage. Agricultural technologies must be developed to accommodate for the increase of food production to meet the demand of the growing global population and the resultant increase fresh water used in agriculture. Aeroponic systems, which reduce water usage by over 90%, are a promising solution to supply an increasing quantity of crops while simultaneously demanding less fresh water usage. By progressing the research in the field of aeroponic systems, crop yield and fresh water usage can be improved, which overall leads to a more efficient and environmentally friendly crop growing technique with many potential future applications. The aeroponic system will be designed to test optimal droplet size for root absorption for a vegetable within an aeroponic system. Lettuce will be grown in the test environment due to the relatively brief growth time from seedling to maturity of 30 to 45 days, allowing more opportunities to collect data. Each of the four aeroponic chambers will be tested in an indoor, controlled environment with the same nutrient solution atomized into four different droplet sizes per test environment. The nutrient solution will be monitored with pH and electroconductivity sensors. Temperature, relative humidity and light intensity will be recorded above and below the surface of each aeroponic chamber. The droplet sizes per aeroponic chamber will range from 30 to 100 microns to determine optimal droplet size for root absorption. Performance metrics of the lettuce grown in the aeroponic system will be compared to a control group of soil-grown lettuce and will be based on mass of the crop yield, plant width, length and stem diameter, number of leaves, number of roots, root diameter and water usage.

The indoor environment will control the lighting to supply the necessary ultraviolet light for consistent plant growth. A microcontroller will command the system, regulating the intervals at which the nutrient solution is supplied to the roots and would communicate the real-time status of the system, including sensor data from the aeroponic chambers, to an online monitoring platform to ensure continuity in the system. The project will conclude in May 2023, after collecting data for several trials with the aeroponic system. The requested funds will be utilized to purchase the necessary equipment to build four aeroponic chambers. The findings of this study will be disseminated to the Embry-Riddle academic community as well as the sustainability engineering community. The conclusions found in this research will advance the study of aeroponics by determining the optimal droplet size for lettuce root absorption. The impacts of this research will advance the implementation of a more efficient and sustainable methodology for using fresh water in agriculture as well as developing potential food sources in arid regions and sustainable food sources for future space applications.