It is National STEM Day! Today is the day that is dedicated to encouraging everyone to explore their interests in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Yuhan Liu, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, is double majoring in Digital Media Design and Entrepreneurship. She is also a former Technology Design Visualization NASA intern at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “I am overjoyed to be able to witness the many innovations that are helping to bring us back to the Moon,” Liu said.
SBIR Program and Boeing DV Lab
As a former Technology Design Visualization NASA intern, Liu worked with NASA’s Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) Program. The SBIR Program funds small businesses and universities to create new NASA technologies.
Liu also worked with the Boeing Design Visualization (DV) Lab which specializes in 3D laser scans to support ground operations. The Boeing DV Lab leverages 3D scanning, simulations, and modeling to ensure the efficiency and safety of NASA ground operations. In Liu’s day-to-day as an intern, she was usually in the lab, creating a 3D model or simulation of an environment or piece of technology at the Kennedy Space Center. If she is not found in the lab, then she was supporting the team in capturing 3D laser scans of a building, launchpad, or observing technology that is to be modeled in a research lab.
Liu works with both teams to 3D model, simulate, and communicate new technology that is being developed for the Artemis Program. She has modeled new plant growth systems and launched software and In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) machinery. Her project extended to multiple agencies and various research groups at the Kennedy Space Center. Liu’s most memorable excursion was to the Vehicle Assembly Building, in which the Boeing team came to laser-scan a sagging high bay platform. When one-half of the Orion Capsule Access platform was found to be two inches lower, she performed a laser scan and produced a 3D visualization.
Every Day is a New Adventure
Liu has absolutely loved the chance to work with software in the office and grab a safety helmet and see the wonders of the Kennedy Space Center up close. With every day being a new adventure, this internship was a perfect combination of her passions. While working with software to generate meaningful 3D models to contribute to the entire agency’s Artemis efforts, Liu was drawn to the intersection between art and computer science.
As a computer graphics major, she hopes to invent software that is not only important, efficient, and useful, but also visually compelling. From this position, Liu has learned the significance of 3D modeling and how accurate visualizations can make a tremendous difference in guaranteeing mission safety, advancing new technology, and communicating complicated ideas.
If you are interested in taking part in the STEM field, then check out our website! Also, don’t be deterred if you are not part of STEM as NASA Internships has many non-STEM positions available. We even have some high school positions! Read more about Drina Shah, a former high school intern at NASA, who worked on artificial intelligence.