March 31, 2014
Robert Michael “Mike” Melzer of Glen Burnie, who is studying physics and math at Anne Arundel Community College, is one of 40 community college students east of the Mississippi River selected to participate in the elite NASA National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) project through NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Melzer’s initial application in November qualified him for the next step, which was to create a digital model of a Mars rover and develop a plan to send it to Mars and back with a $500 million budget. Based on that project, he was selected to attend a three-day, on-site event at Marshall Space Flight Center during which he interacted in person with NASA engineers and other participants as they learned more about careers in science and engineering. While at the flight center, students formed teams and established fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team was responsible for developing a prototype rover, designing a 3-D model of the rover and forming a company infrastructure, including budget, communications and presentations to handle two missions. His team won both challenges.
Melzer is in his last year at AACC where, in addition to his classes, he tutors students in math. He plans to transfer in the fall to University of Maryland College Park where he will major in math and physics. He eventually would like to work in the space industry.