Kylie Higaki is a Class of 2016 graduate from Pearl City High School and will be a Junior at Oregon State University in the Fall of 2017. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering . She grew up on the island of Oahu in Pearl City.
In her free time, she enjoys exploring and going on adventures with friends. She hopes to pursue a career in Environmental Engineering and return to Hawaii to work.
Institution when accepted: Oregon State University
Akamai Project: MARTIAN Characterization of Hawaiian Regolith In-Situ for Thermal & Material Analysis and Sintering
Project Site: Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES)
Mentor: Kyla Defore
Co-Mentors: Christian Anderson, Rodrigo Romo
Over the last few years, the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) has been collecting samples of basaltic regolith found on the Big Island of Hawaii for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) production of structural construction elements. Hawaiian basalt is the most similar in composition to be found on both Mars and the Moon. Martian analog sites are then analyzed to determine if they are viable for construction. Three samples, Pu’u Nene, HI-SEAS, and Haiwahine were analyzed for further contribution to the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) report. These samples were then tested to determine the best thermal parameters of the materials that would be used for launch test requirements. Satellite imagery was performed to map out and characterize field locations. A lab analysis included the Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) to determine the chemical makeup of the samples, sample imagery to view the sediments further than the naked eye and a particle size distribution analysis to determine the ratio of each regolith sample. The samples were then sintered into structural bricks and characterized for their specific heat capacity and density. All three of the bricks resulted in a glassy finish, this is undesirable due to its fragile nature. All three bricks included significant stress fracturing and shrinkage. It is recommended that the samples are baked again, using a lower thermal profile with a slower cooking time, it is also recommended that an X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) crystallography analysis be performed to better understand mineralogy of the samples.