Engineering team heads to Mars (Challenge)

Engineering team heads to Mars (Challenge)


Going up against some of the other best young engineering minds in the nation – for two of the most prominent space-related organizations in the country – a team of undergraduate students from the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering will drill for ice this week.

Not just any ice. (Check out a video here.)

They will be competing in NASA’s second Mars Ice Challenge at the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. There they will be challenged with extracting water from ice as NASA explores how to develop a sustainable environment for humans on the red planet. The event is in partnership with the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton and is called the RASC-AL (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkages) Special Edition: Mars Ice Challenge.

The 10 teams will work at simulated Martian ice stations set up in Langley’s research aircraft hangar. Each station will consist of layers of material and solid blocks of ice that students will drill into using equipment they designed and built.

In addition to the Rowan team, overseen by Dr. John Schmalzel, Electrical & Computer Engineering, competitors are from Alfred University in New York, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University in Boston, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and West Virginia University.

The Rowan team members are 

  • Josh Ford, Newport, New Jersey, junior electrical & computer engineering major
  • George Lentini, Elk Township, New Jersey, junior mechanical engineering major
  • Brennan Thiemann, West Caldwell, New Jersey, junior mechanical engineering major
  • Kortnie Walton, Columbus, New Jersey, junior mechanical engineering major
  • Alex Withers, Hillsboro, New Jersey, junior mechanical engineering major

For information about the challenge, go to:

To see it on Facebook Live on Wednesday from noon to 12:25 p.m. and 2 to 2:25 p.m. go to: