Student Assists NASA Scientists with COVID-19 Research


Trenton Cobos, a student from Grace Brethren High School in Simi Valley, California, was selected for the prestigious Student Enhancement in Earth and Space Science (SEES) summer internship hosted by The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Space Research. This nationally competitive program sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium selects students to conduct authentic research using NASA data. Trent is conducting investigations as part of COVID-19 Space Exploration for a Better World team.  Here is Trent in his own words: 

 “In space, astronauts are more vulnerable to illnesses, such as Covid-19. My team created an air filtration system model, using UV-C light to kill bacteria and viruses, that could be integrated into the International Space Station.”

Trent worked with NASA subject matter expert, Kaye Ebelt from The University of Texas at Austin and NASA Texas Space Grant.  The COVID-19 Space Exploration for a Better World team conducted research on information being presented to the public and how to properly sanitize spacecraft, assess viral health risks, use Python to predict vulnerable areas and track viruses, create space laws and future protocols, assure safe air and space travel using air filtrations and IVC rays systems, use microgravity to study the spread of COVID-10 and to create vaccine.  In addition, the space exploration team designed a spacecraft with social distancing capabilities and space colony using CAD software and 3D printers.  Each team presented their research and solution to NASA personnel and other experts in the medical research field.

SEES high school interns worked with scientists and engineers to conduct authentic research using NASA data and analysis tools. Teams are organized around an aerospace or space science theme drawn from NASA’s diverse engineering and scientific research programs. SEES sponsored several team challenges this summer, including designing Mars habitats, exploring lunar environments, tracing COVID-19 using NASA technologies, and examining the relationship of observed mosquito habitats to land cover and environmental data obtained from satellites.

The SEES internship provides an outlet for the excitement many students feel about Earth and space science. Interns are offered a unique opportunity to work with professional scientists and engineers at the cutting edge of NASA science, experience being part of a science team, and explore STEM career options firsthand.

The STEM Enhancement in Earth Science (SEES) project is supported by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) cooperative agreements NNX16AB89A to the University of Texas Austin for the STEM Enhancement in Earth Science (SEES). 

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Questions?  Contact Margaret Baguio, The University of Texas at Austin Center for Space Research

512-423-4039 or


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