Introducing the Blue Origin Student Payload Competition Finalist - Team MiFiRE!
Amidst a stressful time of unknowns, the MIT Portugal Program is happy to announce the finalist team selected to represent us in space! Congratulations to the MiFiRE team!
MiFiRE (Microgravity Fine Regolith Experiment) is a research project within the field of planetary geology.
The experiment was developed by students Vítor Martins, Ivan Sá, Ana Caldeira and Maria Marques, from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Porto, with Professor Rui Moura mentoring the group. The team is looking forward to working with Cody Paige, a PhD candidate from MIT’s Human Systems Lab in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Cody will assist the team making the experiment space ready.
The MiFiRE experiment has the ambitious goal of understanding how fine mineral particles adhere in the microgravity environment of space and how they ultimately start to combine by accretion or coagulation.
The team will use a JSC-1 lunar regolith simulant, one cube of cut basic igneous rock and one cube of cut metallic meteorite, placed in a small payload. A video imaging system will film the whole free float using small HD cameras, with the goal of detecting the different electrostatic relations of free floating regolith and clasts.
The ultimate goal is to shed some light on the role of electrostatic forces in the joining of fine mineral particles with one another as well as the joining of these fine particles with larger particles and their respective surfaces. The microgravity environment is ideal for this type of experiment because it simulates the conditions of early planetary formation.
It was difficult to only select one team! We’d like to thank all the applicants for their inventive ideas and teamwork. Team MiFiRE, we are looking forward to seeing your experiment in space!
Meet our winning team!