Project goes to Space Station for experiment
BY ANGELA GARY
Reprinted with permission from the Aug. 1, 2018, edition of The Jackson Herald
Three Jackson County students made history over the summer when their science project went to space for an experiment that could benefit astronauts in the future.
Ella Cobb, Anna Holley and Audrey Waters, who were fifth-graders when they did the project, traveled to Washington, D.C., over the summer to present their project at a national conference at the Smithsonian Institute.
They were also able to watch their project be launched to the International Space Station.
Their project was selected as one of 31 scientific experiments designed by children from the United States Canada and Brazil to be conducted by astronauts during the satellite’s six-week orbit, part of the national Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, or SSEP.
Their experiment, “The Effects of Microgravity on the Hatching Rate of Artemia salina,” seeks information on the effects of weightlessness on the tiny creatures.
Their experiment is scheduled to be performed on the International Space Station on Aug. 2.
(CLICK HERE to read the “sidebar” story on the “Art in Space” Mission 12 patch project.)
For the project, they put 20 dormant fairy shrimp cysts into a testing tube. Two clamps were tightly sealed around the tube to make three sealed chambers. The first chamber included the fairy shrimp cysts.
The second chamber included saline water. And the third chamber included 70 percent isopropyl.
Once the tube reached the ISS, the clamp between the cysts and the saline was to be undamped by an astronaut.
The remaining clamp is supposed to be undamped the day before it leaves the ISS so that the isopropy l can preserve the fairy shrimp/cysts.
The girls’ hope was that that the shrimp hatched and then later could be used as a protein source for the astronauts.
The girls learned at the end of their fifth-grade school year that their project had been selected.
“We were all very happy and excited about the experience and the journey ahead,” Holley said. “We felt special for our accomplishment. When we were first told, we thought we had to leave for Washington right then.”
The first step in the nation’s capitol was to present the project.
“The presentation was very nerve-racking but once it began it was a lot of fun to tell others about our project,” Holley said. “We also were able to watch the actual launch that included our project since it happened while we were in D.C. They had a private viewing of the launch at the Air & Space Museum for the 5:47 a.m. launch. We also saw an IMAX movie at the Smithsonian about astronomy.”
While in Washington, D.C., the girls also toured the White House, went to the wax museum, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Bible Museum, Arlington Cemetery and several other museums in the area.
The girls give credit to their teachers for their assistance with the project.
“Our teachers, Tammi Gowen and Stephanie Purvis, were a big factor in our success,” Holley said. “We could not have made it that far without them.”
The SSEP (online at ssep.ncesse.org) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally.
It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the use of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.
Learn more about the process and the other schools selected to compete at http://bit.ly/JCSS18_1.