Grand Valley State University students will travel to Houston to work with NASA in a zero-gravity environment on a tool being designed for a mission to Mars.

Grand Valley State University says the group of GVSU engineering students will head to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, in May.

The group of GVSU students, nicknamed the Grand Valley North Stars, is participating in the Micro-g NExT Design Challenge. The challenge required students to design one of three tools to be used by NASA for an asteroid redirect mission in the early 2020s and a journey to Mars in the 2030s.

GVSU's proposal is one of 30 selected to move to phase two of the competition. NASA says other schools attending include UCLA, Nebraska, Alabama, Cornell, Purdue, Maryland and Virginia Tech. There will be six other teams in GVSU's category.

The device is being built in GVSU's Keller Engineering Labs in Grand Rapids. Students used CAD software to design the device and used a 3-D printer to create pieces of the tool.

In May, students will test the device in the mission control center and teach underwater divers how to use it in a lab which acts as a zero-gravity environment.

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