Tasman Powis is a PhD candidate in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace engineering. His thesis research, in collaboration with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, is on developing modeling techniques for the predictive design of plasma propulsion systems. His STEP fellowship work investigates the political implications of nuclear power systems in outer space, a technology which coupled with plasma propulsion, could reduce the cost of transit to the Moon, Mars and the outer planets. Specifically, he is investigating the nuclear technology choices being made by NASA, and how these decisions will impact the risk of proliferation, future technology choices by other nations, and the growth of a nascent commercial sector. He is pursuing this work under the guidance of Prof. Frank von Hippel and the Program on Science & Global Security.
HMEI-STEP Topic: Paving the Way for the Safe Commercialization and Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power in Outer Space
HMEI-STEP Advisor: Frank von Hippel
Thesis Topic: Enabling Future High-Performance Electric Propulsion
Thesis Advisors: Igor Kaganovich, Mikhail Shneider