Three professors at the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science have been awarded a NASA grant of $750,000 in order to lead a team to develop machine learning materials and manufacturing methods for space.

The team is composed of Patrick Johnson, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Assistant Professors Lars Kotthoff, in computer science, and Dilpuneet Aidhy, in mechanical and energy systems engineering.

The three-year grant for their project, which is titled “Artificially Intelligent Manufacturing of Flexible Electronics,” was funded through NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

According to Johnson, developments from NASA partner Made In Space’s VULCAN, a 3D printer that will be able to use metals and polymers for additive manufacturing, and Archinaut, a system to manufacture large-scale parts that cannot be transported into space, will allow the manufacturing of parts required for space exploration.

However, while both methods hold a lot of promise, they come with a number of drawbacks.

Johnson’s team in the Artificially Intelligent Manufacturing (AIM) center in the UW College of Engineering and Applied Science has developed a technique that does not suffer from any drawbacks.

Cameron Wright, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, has praised Johnson and his colleagues for securing the NASA grant.

Johnson’s team of collaborators for the project also include Meyya Meyyappan, chief scientist for exploration technology, and Jessica Koehne, a scientist in the Center for Nanotechnology, both at the NASA Ames Research Center.

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