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Michelle L

- Research Program Mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate


human factors, human spaceflight, space architecture, behavioral health, biomechanics

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Living on Mars

Imagine what it would take to live on a foreign planet, void of any terrestrial necessities we need to survive: gardens, grocery stores, tap water... What would you need to bring with you to survive a one-year expedition on Mars? In this project, we will explore the interesting art/science of "environmental control and life support", a subsystem that has been on all human-rated spacecrafts, from Apollo to the International Space Station. You will determine an appropriate crew size, mission duration based on orbital trajectories and available technology, a habitat volume, and map out consumables for maintaining life on Mars. Depending on time, you might explore how different mission parameters, such as the inclusion of a greenhouse or extravehicular activity (spacewalks) change what you have to bring to Mars. You will learn about human physiology, space life sciences, historical and current technologies for life support, and how to conduct a trade study. This project is perfect for anyone interested in complex aerospace systems, with an interest in human spaceflight, and is good with iteration and uncertainty.

Michelin Stars

Your local billionaire and her three friends are looking to take a trip to space, and they want you to design their menu. They're used to Michelin-star restaurants, so definitely no feeding them potatoes for every meal (looking at you, The Martian). You will develop a nutritious, fun, and delicious menu. You'll need to be able to demonstrate to NASA mission control and launch teams that what you are proposing will be nutritionally adequate and its mass and volume are reasonable for launch. You will learn about nutritional science, spaceflight payload considerations, culinary art, and presentation. This project is perfect for someone interested in space, space health, and getting creative!

Coding skills


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