Solan Thomas Israel-Megerssa
MIT AeroAstro Lincoln Labs Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Aeronautics and Astronautics
Robustness of the optical-blocking filter on the REXIS instrument under launch and flight conditions The REgolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) is the student collaboration instrument aboard NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. OSIRIS-Rex is a NASA New Frontiers mission that will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and return a sample of the asteroid's regolith. REXIS uses the sun as a source of x-rays to image the asteroid but is sensitive to the visible spectrum of solar radiation. To reduce noise the instrument's receivers have been coated with a thin aluminum optical-blocking filter (OBF). This arrangement hasn't been flown before so we would like to mature the OBF to TRL 6 before the instrument is deployed. My work will be to develop a plan to test a spare set of receivers for light leak before and after exposure to flight environments.
I'm a rising junior in the AeroAstro department who is interested in all things space. I've done thin-film analysis in the lab and have a lot of experience with scientific coding. I hope to learn some of what it means to engineer a space system. I'm definitely most excited (and a little anxious) that my work will directly impact a piece of hardware going to space. Not many college kids can say that!