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Student team named finalist in NASA competition; presentation live online June 17

SELENE LogoA team of students and faculty from Morehead State has been named as a finalist in a NASA competition and will present their project live online.  

The Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competitions fuel innovation for aerospace systems concepts, analogs and technology prototyping by bridging gaps through university engagement. RASC-AL is open to undergraduate and graduate university-level students studying fields with applications to human space exploration including aerospace, bio-medical, electrical and mechanical engineering, life, physical, and computer sciences.  

MSU's project, SELENE, is named for the Greek Goddess of the moon. It seeks to learn more about the discovery of water on the lunar surface following the intentional crashing of NASA's LCROSS Satellite into the moon's south pole. The project's goal is to aid NASA in its plan to use the moon as a steppingstone to travel to Mars. Just as last year, MSU's team partnered with a group of students and faculty from UT Delft, an engineering school based in The Netherlands.  

Only five teams were chosen for the final round of the competition. The MSU team presents their project online Wednesday, June 17, at 10 a.m., during the 2020 RASC-AL Forum. This year's themes asked students to develop new concepts that leverage innovations to improve NASA's ability to operate in space and on distant planetary bodies. The team's presentation can be viewed live online at  

NASA will announce the winner on Friday, June 19. In addition to their presentation, each team created a digital poster summarizing their concept and can be viewed at

Students on the team are:  
  • Orlando Carromero from Ceiba, Puerto Rico  
  • Mercedes Maupin from Flatwoods  
  • Tithi Patel from Dahod, India  
  • Noah Patrick from Frenchburg  
  • Kaitlynn Willison from Georgetown  
"To be selected as finalists for this competitive NASA competition is a tremendous honor for our engineering program. The selection highlights the talent and ingenuity of students in our Space Systems Engineering program. As engineers, they will need to work with international partners to devise novel solutions to 21st-century problems," said Shanil Virani, instructor of space science and director of MSU's Star Theater. "Our students are not only creative and talented. They are learning the important skills of how to work collaboratively with diverse people from around the world. It has been delightful to see how our engineers have stepped up to meet this challenge."  

For information about programs in space systems engineering at MSU, visit, email or call 606-783-2381.