Lauren Beeson

Project Name:

Solar Energy for Space Travel

One of the largest challenges to habitability and mission performance in space is the requirement for durable and reliable sources of power. Energy for space vehicles is primarily provided by solar photovoltaic panels or by fuel cells. Ms. Beeson will team up with Dr. Josiah Knight of Duke University to learn about and consider the implications of highly-efficient generators in space. Dr. Knight’ research examines the potential for producing electricity for space vehicles using solar thermal radiation to power a liquid, vapor or gas cycle. He plans to construct and test the performance of small-scale electricity generation using solar thermal energy and combinations of existing technologies that might be combined to deliver electricity at the scale of tens of kilowatts. Upon selection of the most promising approach, a test apparatus will be constructed and its performance measured. Ms. Beeson will have the opportunity to assist in the construction and testing of this equipment. She will develop lessons and hands-on experiences that help students better understand photovoltaic panels, energy sources, energy efficiencies and current research in energy and space travel.

From School:

Durham School of the Arts


Durham Public Schools


Dr. Josiah Knight, Duke University


NASA Flight Fellowship