TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Imagine if you could design a tool that NASA astronauts would use in space.
University of Alabama engineering students have the chance to do this beginning Sunday.
Two teams of engineering students are working together at UA for one "out of this world" NASA competition against 22 other schools national nationwide.
"It's really exciting because we get to go up to Houston and go to the Johnson Space Center and test our tool at neutral buoyancy lab. And possibly NASA can use our tool for further development," said Alex Mitchell, a UA student.
Mitchell's team is working on a tool to collect samples from asteroids in space while Stephen Peter Rowe's team has a bright name.
"Our team is called Strahl, and it's German for "Beam of Light," Rowe explained.
The Strahl Boom weighs only six pounds and will help astronauts get from space vehicle to space vehicle.
So whether it's designing ways to help astronauts go from point A to B from team Strahl or building sample grabber tools for asteroids in space, these students are helping NASA launch deep in space exploration.
"In the next 10 to 20 years, they are planning on going to Mars and the mission we're working on is the asteroid redirect mission is a stepping stone to Mars," Mitchell explained.
NASA's Micro-g Next competitive is set for April 24-28 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.