Research Assistantship/Masters, York University
Eric Shear is currently undergoing a Research Assistantship/Master’s in Earth and Space Science at York University in Toronto, where he is investigating a small spacecraft mission around Saturn and an imager that selectively blocks sunlight for increased contrast.
He studied mechanical engineering at Tacoma Community College and, in 2010, interned at Tethers Unlimited where he helped develop the HYDROS thruster for CubeSats. He then led an experiment on board NASA’s parabolic aircraft in 2011, investigating the behavior of water droplets on fuel-cell membranes in microgravity.
In the same year, he transferred to York to pursue a broader interest in space science. There, besides studying physics and space mission design, he used his mechanical engineering expertise to design a lightweight chassis and special joints for the university’s rover. The resulting performance advantage ensured a first-place victory at the Mars Society’s University Rover Challenge in 2012.
During his last year of undergrad, he worked with a veteran of the Curiosity Rover science team to produce a peer-reviewed paper on a balloon mission to explore the Martian northern polar cap.
In his spare time, he has developed and built a cryogenic carbon dioxide scrubber that promises to reduce astronaut life support logistics over existing chemical-based scrubbers. He has tested it three times at NASA Ames Research Center.
Eric obtained a PADI open-water scuba diving certification in 2013 and has completed six dives in Washington state and Hawaii, including a shipwreck at 100 feet. He completed aviation ground school while in high school, and plans to get a private pilot’s license in the near future. Eric is bilingual, fluent in both English and American Sign Language, and is currently learning Spanish. His hobbies include science fiction writing, video-gaming, and chess.