“Engineering is the closest thing we have to superpowers as human beings,” said Jason Tuttle, a junior studying mechanical engineering. “To me, it seems that it’s through engineering that God made this world. So in a way, engineering is like one step closer to being like God.”
Tuttle said the best advice he ever received is that nothing is impossible.
“We just don’t know how to do it yet,” he said.
Since beginning his time at BYU-Idaho, Tuttle has had the opportunity to intern with NASA.
He worked on the “starshade” project for the Hubble telescope, which aimed to block out nearby stars’ light so the telescope could clearly see other exoplanets and their orbits.
He also worked with the Europa Sampling Team. Europa is an ice-covered moon that orbits around Jupiter.
Tuttle said the team hoped to find if any organisms were living there by pulling the ice up and analyzing it before it got destroyed by Jupiter’s radiation.
To do this, the team would need to create a landing pad, so an autonomous lander or robot could anchor itself to the surface to begin digging.
The goal was to create a device that could handle digging in the severe temperatures ranging around 50 K (around -370F) and then analyzing those findings within 28 days. After 28 days, anything remaining on the surface would be destroyed by the planet’s radiation.
This time restriction is troubling, because of the things that can go wrong before the mission is completed.
On average, Tuttle spends 12 hours on campus per weekday, before coming home and spending several more hours doing homework.
As a full-time student, remaining healthy and active can be a challenge. Thanks to his mother, Tuttle is accustomed to a vegan lifestyle.
“One time my mom said she was going to make pulled pork sandwiches, so she opens up the pressure cooker pours in barbecue sauce, jack-fruit and pure gluten,” he said. “Apparently, it leaves the texture of meat. So she throws that on bread and calls it a pulled pork sandwich.”
He explained his family only drinks almond or soy milk. Non-traditional substitutions are often made to make recipes healthier. Once, while making a spinach smoothie, his mother used date paste as a sweetener.
“She wouldn’t even use honey,” Tuttle said. “Apparently, it’s too sweet.”
While his diet is not as strict when living in Rexburg, he still emphasizes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
In addition to eating right, Tuttle loves to stay active. He visits the gym during the week and enjoys spending his Saturdays snowboarding in the Tetons.
“The Tetons are beautiful,” he said. “Especially if you get caught in the right trees on the mountain.”
Tuttle said he admires Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
According to CNN, Covey passed away at the age of 79 due to a bicycle accident.
“That’s where I want to be at that age,” Tuttle said. “After having a full-fledged career, still fit enough to be mountain biking.”