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NASA Micro-g NExT Challenge

What is the ambitious goal of this project?

The NASA Micro-g VIP team participates in NASA’s Microgravity University Micro-g NExT challenge ( For the challenge, the team will design and build a prototype tool or device for NASA. Usually, the tool or device will be used by astronauts on spacewalks and consequently will be tested in the neutral buoyancy laboratory (NBL) at the Johnson Space Center JSC). A subset of the team will go to JSC to test the prototype in the NBL. In the fall semester, the team will research the problem and determine what has already been done in this area and what technologies from other areas can be used to help solve this problem. Using this information and their own knowledge, the team will produce a creative solution to the challenge and develop an initial design of their prototype, culminating in a written proposal to NASA. In the spring semester, the team will refine their initial design and implement their design.

Experience Gained

The team will use an iterative process of implementation, test, and redesign to ensure their prototype meets their requirements as well as NASA’s. The team is student-led allowing for students to get leadership experience working on a NASA project. Also, during both semesters, the team will perform outreach to local schools and organizations to inspire and educate the community about STEM and NASA.

Check out the team’s NASA NExT page for more examples.

Majors or Interests Needed

  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry-Biochemistry
  • Communication
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies Program
  • Geosciences
  • Materials Science & Engineering
  • Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering
  • Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Sociology
  • Urban Studies & Community Development

VIP Coach Information

Dr. Steve Swanson is a Computer Scientist, former NASA astronaut, and now a Boise State Distinguished Educator in Residence. Read more at

In addition, Steve coaches the Autonomous Robotic Systems VIP team.

Course Information

Full semester course VIP  200, 400, 401, 500
Register for 1-2 credits.
Meeting times TBD.

Interested in joining this team?

For more information and to request a permission number to register contact Dr. Swanson at OR complete this interest form and someone will contact you. Check out this page for tips on contacting a professor.

To register, search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects, read the project description to find the right section of VIP 200, 400, 401, or 500.

Here are instructions for using permission numbers Add with a permission number

Hear from students of the Micro-g VIP Team

Students Nuha Akhtar and Joshua Fernando of the Micro-g VIP Team explain what this VIP is about, what excites them and why you should join this team.

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