Astronomy

PISCES Interns Return From ‘Moon Mission’

October 7, 2016, 11:48 AM HST
* Updated October 7, 11:53 AM
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PISCES interns Kyla Defore and Ashley Garnett presented their summer projects and research findings to members of the County and State offices, PISCES staff and University of Hawai’i affiliates. Courtesy photo.

PISCES interns Kyla Defore and Ashley Garnett presented their summer projects and research findings to members of county and sState offices, PISCES staff and University of Hawai’i affiliates. Courtesy photo.

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) recently showcased research conducted  by two geology interns from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo—Kyla Defore and Ashley Garnett—on a pivotal project involving a mock lunar mission at a planetary analog test site on Hawai’i Island.

Defore and Garnett remotely operated PISCES’ planetary rover from a mission control center in Hilo, navigating rocky, lunar-like terrain and gathering environmental data.

During an hour-long multimedia presentation on Sept. 29, 2016, interns from the interns presented their final research for PISCES, a Hilo-based aerospace organization.

The interns also researched and characterized landscapes on Hawai’i Island that are geologically similar to those found on Mars and the moon.

Their findings could support future ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) space missions, yielding resources like water and rocket fuel on other celestial bodies.

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In addition, the two interns supported the 2016 STARS (STEM Aerospace Research Scholars) Workshop for high school women by leading engineering activities for a group of eight students interested in science and aerospace-related careers.

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“Summer interns play a critical role in PISCES projects and this year was no exception,” said PISCES Program Manager Rodrigo Romo. “The two intern teams we had working with us in planetary geology and robotics clearly displayed the high quality of students that the Hawai’i Education System produces. It has been an honor and a pleasure to have these interns work with us this year, and I look forward to the next group of interns to come and work with us.”

During the past three years, PISCES has trained 31 interns from 12 schools nationwide across 10 different disciplines. The internship program is part of PISCES’ workforce development initiative with the State and County of Hawai’i.

PISCES is a state-funded aerospace center under the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT). PISCES is working to position Hawai’i as a leader in space exploration while developing sustainable products and technologies to benefit the Islands. Three core initiatives are at the heart of PISCES’ work: Applied Research, Workforce Development, and Long-Term Business & Economic Development. These mutually-supportive efforts provide real-life, hands-on experience to Hawai’i’s future scientists and engineers, preparing them to meet the demands of a highly competitive industry while improving the local economy through job diversification and new industries.

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For more information, visit PISCES’ website.

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