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Clarkson University Team Named Moon Design Competitors

[A photograph for media use is available at]

Clarkson University is one of only ten undergraduate teams that have made it to the finals of a NASA and National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) sponsored competition that challenged university students to think about the conditions astronauts will face when we return to the moon, then design projects that could become part of real lunar exploration.

A total of 15 undergraduate and graduate engineering student teams won the right to compete against each other at the 2009 RASC-AL (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage) forum this June in Florida. rascal2009

"The RASC-AL steering committee of NASA and industry experts was impressed by the creativity, ingenuity and thoughtfulness of this year’s student entries," said Pat Troutman, senior systems analyst at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. "Next generation engineers are going to be crucial in helping NASA get back to the moon, then go onto Mars and beyond."

The student teams submitted a summary of and an outreach plan for their proposed projects. Their work was based on one of four themes: outpost to settlement, initial lunar outpost, bringing the world along with virtual exploration and novel approaches to increase sample return from the moon.

The June forum will give faculty and students the chance to meet with NASA and industry experts, introduce concepts and data from the competition into NASA exploration program planning, develop relationships that could lead to participation in other NASA student research programs and show the benefits of NASA-university-industry cooperation.

Clarkson’s RASC-AL team, advised by Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Professor Pier Marzocca, traveled to Syracuse this semester to present to 900 Eagle Hill Middle School science students. Team leader Andrew J. Colletti, an aerospace engineering senior, and the team gave a scientific presentation on RASC-AL, NASA and the future of math and science careers.

The Clarkson team said that they were impressed with the caliber of the students’ questions, which included subjects like living conditions, temperature control, the viability of transporting animals, water source and who would govern the settlement.

"Thank you as scholars and presenters for bringing this current and important information to our students," said Maureen McCrystal, principal of the Eagle Hill Middle School. "We look forward to what both you and the future society on the moon have to offer us."

The RASC-AL team, who were made honorary Green Hornets, is busy answering additional questions from the middle schoolers via e-mail.

The team is composed of seniors Andrew J. Colletti, James, N.Y., Joseph L. Lazar, Niantic, Conn., Evan L. Krug, Angola, N.Y., David S. Grant, Saranac Lake, N.Y., Wade E. Bartlett, Oneonta, N.Y., Sawyer J. Hamblin, Williamstown, Mass., and Michael J Rockefeller, Newark, N.Y., all aerospace engineering majors; senior Ryan E. King, mechanical engineering, Franklin, Vt.; junior Theodore G. Souza, aerospace engineering, Plymouth, Mass.; sophomores Brendan A Wiedow, physics, Danbury, Conn., Kathryn V O’Leary, mechanical engineering, Danbury, Conn., Evan E. Ekstrom, mechanical engineering, Binghamton, N.Y., and Steven J. Foti, applied mathematics & statistics, Rochester, N.Y.; and freshmen Michael A. Catone, aerospace engineering, Spencerport, N.Y., and Laura Marotta, aerospace engineering, Fayetteville, N.Y.

For more information about the 2009 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage competition, please go to

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University is one of only ten undergraduate teams that have made it to the finals of the 2009 RASC-AL (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage) forum this June in Florida. Front row (left to right): Kathryn O’Leary, David Grant, Joseph Lazar, Theodore Souza, Laura Marotta, Evan Krug. Back row: Faculty Adviser Pier Marzocca, Brendan Wiedow, Michael Rockefeller, Evan Ekstrom, Andrew Colletti, and Ryan King.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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