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Nikhil Vadhavkar

Exploration science, Aerospace medicine, UAVs
BS, Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins
MS, Engineering Management, Johns Hopkins
Pursuing PhD in Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, Bioastronautics concentration

FINESSE Research Objectives

Validate planetary exploration hardware.  Utilize planning algorithms to maximize scientific return.  Assist the UAV team.


Nikhil is doing his PhD at MIT under the auspises of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) Bioastronautics training program, where he works in the Man-Vehicle Laboratory with advisor Dava Newman.  Nikhil has interned at Johnson Space Center to research occupant protection on the Orion capsule, as well as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to model the effects of galacitic cosmic radiation on cells.  He has recently been awarded a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship to investigate advanced life support systems.

Nikhil and his colleagues have also received a Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges grant to study the feasibility of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for vaccine delivery in developing nations, and has designed, built, and tested UAVs and worked with private industry and nonprofit organizations.

Nikhil is also a graduate resident tutor in Baker House, where he works with undergraduates in the MIT community.

Upcoming Activities

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SSERVI / Exploration Science Forum
July 2016
The Exploration Science Forum brings together the Science and Exploration communities to discuss current research regardin the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, and Phobos & Deimos.
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Third International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos & Deimos
July 2016
The Third International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos, subtitled The Science, Robotic Reconnaissance, and Human Exploration of the Two Moons of Mars, will be the third international meeting focused on Phobos and Deimos, and on how their exploration relates to that of other small bodies, Mars, and the rest of the Solar System.

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Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve (COTM), Idaho, USA

Prime FINESSE COTM field deployment:
Summer 2016


International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN)

October 8, 2016
InOMN is a world-wide outreach event to encourage people to observe and learn about our nearest celestial neighbor, the Moon. The InOMN website can be found here.
Division of Planetary Sciences
October 16-21, 2016
The Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) annual meeting will be held in Pasadena, CA.  This meeting brings together researchers studying planetary objects to present and discuss cutting-edge planetary science.
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American Geophysical Union
December 12-16, 2016
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting is one of the most prestigious Earth and space sciences meeting worldwide.  AGU is held each December in San Francisco, CA.

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