Undergraduate student presents research at Mars convention

Christian Lewis, UCCS Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Undergraduate Research Assistant

On Oct 22., University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering senior and Undergraduate Research Assistant Christian Lewis presented “Trajectories for the Human Exploration of Mars and Ceres” at the 25th Annual International Mars Society Convention at Arizona State University.

The convention drew approximately 400 people, while another 3,000 attended virtually. The conference was featured at the top of the popular news website Space.com for all four days. Among the approximately 150 speakers were representatives from around the world, including the Mongolian Aerospace Research and Science Association and the European Space Agency.

During his spring 2022 semester at UCCS, Lewis took Fundamentals of Astrodynamics with Dr. Lynnane George, where he learned of a research opportunity pertaining to an interplanetary mission to Mars and Ceres. In the beginning, Lewis volunteered his time to the project, helping plot possible transfers to Mars using the Python programming language and AGI’s Systems Toolkit (STK), a 3-dimensional modeling and simulation environment for analyzing complex space problems.

Lewis and his faculty mentor, Dr. George, were able to further their research and gain sponsorship by the Undergraduate Research Associates Program. This work allowed him to focus research on a round-trip Earth-Mars-Ceres mission and the develop unique concept of using resources from each planet on the other for in-situ-research utilization at minimal cost.

Lewis was then invited to present his findings at the 25th Annual International Mars Society Convention.

“It was an amazing experience to not only attend an international conference as an undergrad, but also be accepted to present my research alongside people like Michael Edmonds the Sr. Vice President of Blue Origin, Pamela Melroy, NASA Deputy Administrator, and Dr. Ezinne Uzo-Okoro, Assistant Director for Space Policy of the White House Office of Science and Technology,” he said.

UCCS Representatives: Christian Lewis, Faculty Advisor Dr. Lynnane George, PhD candidate Samarth Patel, and Aerospace Engineering first-year Jeremy Lee at the Mars Society Conference.

About the College of Engineering and Applied Science

The College of Engineering and Applied Science enrolls more than 1,700 students and offers 24 engineering and computer science degrees, ranging from bachelor to doctoral. The college is a Department of Homeland Security/National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense and works closely with the National Cybersecurity Center and with more than 250 aerospace and defense, information technology, cybersecurity and engineering organizations in the Pikes Peak region. Learn more about the College of Engineering and Applied Science at UCCS.