Students Prepare Experiment to Launch to Space Station
Microgravity experiment will be assembled today in consultation with scientists Selected student project from space science program at Arts & Technology Academy and Churchill High School will be conducted by astronauts on International Space Station
WHAT: Space Science Experiment Assembly / Videoconference with NanoRacks Scientists
WHEN: Monday, December 12, 2016, 2:30–3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Churchill High School—STEM Conference Room, 1850 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene
CONTACTS: Mary Beth Hepp-Elam, Churchill High School, 541-790-5100, Greg Borgerding, principal, Churchill High School, 541-790-5100, Linda O’Shea, principal, Arts & Technology Academy, 541-790-5700
Eugene middle and high school students have been aiming high. Now their work is about to launch. An experiment designed by local students soon will fly to the International Space Station in low earth orbit to be conducted by astronauts in microgravity. Today it will be assembled and prepared for launch.
The international Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) will send student-designed microgravity experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) on Mission 9, expected to launch in early 2017. An experiment designed by three Eugene students will be part of the payload. SSEP is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE, ncesse.org) in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC.
The experiment, “SLIPS in microgravity,” was designed by a team of three students, Kobe Skidmore, Ray Newell and Garrett Price. The students, now in 9th grade at Churchill High School, designed the experiment when they were in 8th grade at Arts & Technology Academy.
The team members propose to test whether SLIPS — the world’s slipperiest substance, inspired by properties from the pitcher plant — has the same properties in a microgravity environment as it does on Earth. The SLIPS material makes a solid surface, once coated, so slippery that no liquid can touch the face of the solid. The student team hopes to determine whether the SLIPS material could lend itself to the future design and maintenance of space equipment.
Now, the Eugene students’ experiment is getting ready to head for orbit. This afternoon, the students will assemble their experiment during a videoconference with NanoRacks scientists. During the call, the NanoRacks staff will assist the student team and their science teacher from Arts & Technology Academy, Kathleen Taylor, in loading and packaging the mini-lab for shipping to NanoRacks in Houston in preparation for launch. The scientists will answer questions and provide detailed guidance for each step.
Eugene School District 4J’s Arts & Technology Academy and Churchill High School participated in the hands-on space science program last school year along with other schools in participating communities. Students worked to develop realistic proposals for miniature microgravity research. The SLIPS experiment came out on top among 152 proposals from more than 600 students at the two schools. It will join the Mission 9 payload along with student experiments from 20 other communities across the United States and Canada. Mission 9 is expected to launch in early 2017.
ABOUT THE SSEP PROGRAM, PARTICIPATING EUGENE SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT
The Student Space Flight Experiments Program (SSEP, ssep.ncesse.org) is an immersive program that was launched in 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). It gives typically 300+ students across participating communities the ability to design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station (ISS). The program was created to promote student learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
SSEP is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE, ncesse.org) in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC. This on-orbit educational research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.
Arts & Technology Academy is both a neighborhood middle school and a state model STEM Lab School. Arts & Technology Academy students participate in scientific inquiry and project-based learning in all content areas using the design process. Teachers integrate reading, writing, mathematics and science curriculum to support problem-solving and critical-thinking skills with real-world challenges. Student elective choices include visual and performing arts, engineering, architecture, robotics, rocketry, green architecture, manual craft art, culinary science and chemistry and medical forensics. Student experiences at Arts & Technology Academy result in strong academic growth that prepares them for high school success and the continuation of their STEM studies and interests at Churchill High School, which serves students from the same neighborhood and beyond.
Churchill High School is the only local high school to offer a full-scale pre-engineering program. Churchill offers a wide range of opportunities for students, including cutting-edge programs in STEM and career technical education (CTE), as well as an International Baccalaureate program through the Eugene International High School program co-located and integrated at Churchill. Students can explore or specialize in any one of five CTE academies: engineering, graphic design, health services, Rachel Carson environmental science program, and the West End Creative and Performing Arts Academy.
Arts & Technology Academy and Churchill High School have been able to bring the SSEP experience to students in their STEM-focused programs thanks to the generous support of many local companies and community members from the Eugene–Springfield area and beyond.