The Public Relations team meeting to discuss the website and marketing initiatives

The Public Relations team meeting to discuss the website and marketing initiatives

The Michigan Bicentennial Archive (M-BARC) team is excited to update our followers about the current status of the space time capsule. As of now, our project is officially endorsed by the University of Michigan Bicentennial Committee, and we are thrilled to play a role in the bicentennial celebration in 2017.  

The idea for a space time capsule was originally pitched by Prof. Thomas Zurbuchen in a graduate-level course titled “Spacecraft Technology” taught by Prof. Nilton Renno in the Fall 2015 semester. From there, an initial team of five students created the framework of the project. After first conducting a preliminary analysis to ensure the project was feasible and able to be executed, the team then defined preliminary system requirements and identified elements of the spacecraft that would determine the rest of the design.

The team grew when the project became a part of the Multidisciplinary Design Program through the College of Engineering, and undergraduates and graduate students from throughout the university were invited to join the team. Currently, the M-BARC team is made up of 24 members from a variety of disciplines. Many of our members are Engineering students, whose programs span from aerospace to chemical engineering and everything in between. However, our team also consists of students from the Ross School of Business, the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and the School of Art & Design, to encompass a broad range of perspectives.

Now, as M-BARC moves into its detailed design and system development phase, the work we are doing is critical to ensuring the time capsule is ready to be delivered for launch in time for the bicentennial celebration. The multidisciplinary nature of this project truly shines through the five distinct sub-teams that compose our overarching group. Brief descriptions of the sub-teams are as follows:

  1. The Bus team is working to design the space vehicle itself, as well as the nanoprinting technology that will house our time capsule data.

  2. The Orbit, Launch, and Propulsion team is investigating propulsion methods and determining where our time capsule will be located in space for 100 years.

  3. The Tracking team is devising a way to locate our time capsule from earth as it orbits for the next century.

  4. The Public Relations team is crafting the content that will exist in the time capsule, managing donations and fundraising, and making sure this project gains momentum here at the University of Michigan and beyond.

Space travel is a relatively young phenomenon: existing for just shy of sixty years, humanity has a long way to go before we fully understand the possibilities in outer space. This time capsule is the first of its kind, and that work that the M-BARC team is doing is groundbreaking. The contents of our time capsule will serve as a portal to the past—to 2017—one century from now. We’re not only making history; we’re putting history into space.

Each day our team moves closer to making this project a reality, and M-BARC is more than excited to watch the space time capsule come to fruition in 2017.

We hope to keep this page current with updates on the project, as we are entering a stage where all teams are working hard simultaneously. A social media campaign is also in the works—stay tuned for future posts!