Been there, done that – Gonzalez-Torres experience guides students to real-world thinking in astronautics

“What if this fails?”

“What if that fails?”

“Astronauts doing a hypothetical spacewalk on the moon have suffered a spacesuit malfunction. You have ten minutes to deploy a lunar rescue module that’s five miles away. Your job is to design a module that will effectively be able to respond and rescue them. How do you plan and design it?”

Those are the words of Tomas Gonzalez-Torres, former NASA mission leader and mission control flight director. He’s now an Department of Aerospace Engineering associate teaching professor. Those words cut to the core of what he teaches as part of the department’s astronautics curriculum and reflect the type of critical thinking that senior students are tasked with.

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Image Credit: Iowa State University

Author: John Burnett-Larkins