LCATS

Lunar Caves Analog Test Sites

BECOME A Junior NASA Consultant!

The 2023-24 LCATS COHORT IS GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY THE THE KELLY HERITAGE FOUNDATION AND THE ST. MARY’S SCHOOL OF SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND TECHNOLOGY

LCATS is a 3-year NASA-commissioned program that allows middle and high school students to work alongside aerospace and other industry professionals to tackle real-world space exploration challenges and offer solutions through an array of investigations, experiments and design projects. Concepts addressed by the effort include the development of rockets and other large infrastructure in Earth’s orbit and within lunar lava tube caves on the Moon. LCATS acquaints students with professional opportunities in Space-STEM through sustained research, field experiences, and mentorship. The program includes coursework, team projects, class presentations, examinations, career awareness speakers, field trips, and special events. LCATS takes place during the school year on alternating Saturday mornings for 2 sessions a month, with a total of 16 sessions a school year. 

Who: Selected current 8th – 10th grade students.

When: 16 Saturdays sessions: September 16th, 2023—May 18th, 2024

2023 Sessions Dates: 9/16, 9/30, 10/14, 10/28, 11/11, 11/25, 12/9

2024 Session Dates: 1/13, 1/27, 2/10, 2/24, 3/16, 4/6, 4/13, 5/4, 5/18

Hours: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM (hours may differ for field trips)

Where: St. Mary’s University’s School of Science Engineering and Technology (SET)

Applications for the 2023-24 Cohort are closed.

Come to LCATS and discover, learn, make new friends, prepare for college, and explore space STEM careers

Some of the activities that LCATS cohorts participate in:

Field trips to local caves to learn geology and biology of caves. Cave trips simulate NASA’s lunar lava-tube exploration missions. During these trips, student-made sensor tools (such as LiDAR) are used to map the caves and record data!

Instruction by volunteer aerospace engineers and scientists.

Students create mission concept designs along with industry professionals to solve real-world NASA and space challenges. 

LCATS Year 1 – What to expect

mission planning

LCATS students follow alongside NASA professionals to design, plan, and implement a Lunar Lava Tube Exploration Mission. Mission plans are put into action in local caves in and around San Antonio

Opportunity

LCATS acquaints students with professional opportunities in Space-STEM through sustained research, field experiences, and mentorship.

Sensors - LiDAR

LCATS students construct their own LiDAR kits and take them to local caves to do real-time laser mapping.

Sensors - CANSATS

LCATS students use CANSATS (can-shaped-satellites) and attach their own measurement sensors (ie. radiation / temperature sensors) to send to ‘the edge of space‘ on a High Altitude Balloon.

3D Visualization training

This training program, created by Dr. Dan Dimitriu, prepares our LCATS students for STEM careers by stimulating their spatial skills, 3D visualization, analytical abilities, abstract thinking, pattern recognition skills, memory, attention to detail, and general mental performance. Click here to learn more.

By helping to fund our programs for motivated Middle and High School students with an interest in exploring space, you advance 21st century careers for underrepresented minorities, female, and economically disadvantaged students.

Support a space
exploration pioneer