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Panesi earns NASA Early Career Faculty Award for Modeling of Mars Entry

9/8/2015

Susan Mumm, Media Specialist

 

AE Assistant Prof. Marco Panesi
AE Assistant Prof. Marco Panesi
Assistant Prof. Marco Panesi

AE Assistant Prof. Marco Panesi has won several awards over the past year for his work in modeling non-equilibrium thermophysical processes that occur during hypersonic flight.

 

NASA has recently selected Panesi’s project, “Reduced Order Modeling for Non-equilibrium Radiation Hydrodynamics of Base Flow and Wakes: Enabling Manned Missions to Mars,” for the Early Career Faculty Award. Earlier this year, Panesi was also selected for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award (YIP). Panesi’s early YIP research efforts were then selected for the 2015 Physical Modeling Award at the 8th European Symposium on the Aerothermodynamics for Space Vehicles in the spring for his paper, “A Reduced-order Modeling Approach to Enable Kinetic Simulations of Non-equilibrium Hypersonic Flows.”

For the Mars exploration project, Panesi plans to devise a framework for the construction of reduced order models for chemical kinetics and radiation, relevant to Mars entry applications, based on an adaptive coarse-grained method. The model will enable the description of the strong non-equilibrium kinetics and radiation generated by the recombination of CO2 molecules in the back shell region of entry spacecraft, without the usual reliance on case-specific empiricism.

 

Research graphic from Marco Panesi's work modeling Mars entry.
Research graphic from Marco Panesi's work modeling Mars entry.
Research graphic from Marco Panesi's work modeling Mars entry.

These Early Career efforts, combined with the separate efforts of the YIP project aim to develop new governing equations for chemically reacting flows for Mars and Earth entry applications. Vehicles traveling at very high speeds are subject to extraordinarily high temperatures, in the tens of thousands of degrees. Research efforts of Panesi’s group focus on the characterization of detailed chemical kinetic processes to enable predictive models for peak heating, material selection and design of thermal protections systems capable of withstanding extreme environments.