Wheeler Magnet Wins Innovation Contest

Mihir_NASA_Conrad_Award_2015Wheeler HS’ Magnet team, Effervesce, with Mihir Bellamkonda (seen left), Nathaniel Tappin and Ari Satinoff (see below) won first place for their six-minute power business proposal – or pitch – at the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge Summit. The Summit was held recently at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The team placed in the category ofGiant Leap to Mars’. The pitch needed to include the need, the science, the feasibility as well as the business case for the idea. Team Effervesce focused on the design of a bioreactor to produce methane gas efficiently using Mars’s own carbon dioxide and bacteria specializing in converting hydrogen and carbon dioxide to methane. Methane is then used as fuel to power a turbine to produce energy, and the team successfully argued about their design being superior to solar energy as well as thorium based nuclear reactors for fueling a Mars journey.

The Wheeler team competed against nine other teams from all over the world in the final pitch. It’s been a long, but exciting, journey for the team. The group successfully navigated multiple elimination rounds starting in October, 2014, culminating at the Conrad Innovation Summit.

Conrad awardTo view a video of the winning pitch, visit http://original.livestream.com/conradfoundation/video?clipId=pla_d5b63012-949d-4ade-b539-58c4617f6702&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb time stamp starting at 0:58:13 and running until 1:05:33.

The Giant Leap to Mars category was introduced as a special category in the Conrad Challenge to recognize and celebrate NASA’s Journey to Mars program intended to allow human exploration of the red planet. More online @ http://www.nasa.gov/content/nasas-human-path-to-mars/.