July 16, 2010—NASA has selected nine experiments designed by students at seven schools for astronauts to perform on the International Space Station this summer. NASA selected the proposals from 132 received for the new Kids in Micro-g! Program.
This is the pilot year for the program, a student experiment design challenge geared toward grades five through eight. Its purpose is to give students a hands-on opportunity to design experiments or simple demonstrations for testing both in the classroom and in the station’s microgravity environment. A team of representatives from NASA’s 10 field centers chose the winners.
The schools chosen to participate are:
- National Winner and NASA Glenn Research Center Regional Winner Brownell Middle, Grosse Point Farms, Michigan. These eighth-graders’ experiment will determine the water absorption rates of two different materials.
- National Runner-up and NASA Kennedy Space Center Regional Winner Vaughan Elementary, Powder Springs, Georgia. Their experiment will determine if blowing across the tops of bottles filled with different amounts of water will create the same tones in space as on Earth. They are fifth graders.
- NASA Ames Research Center Regional Winner Hamlin School, San Francisco, California. The seventh graders’ experiment will determine if the radius of the circle of revolution affects the speed at which can outer object travels around a central object, and whether microgravity will change the results.
- NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Regional Winners (tie) Fifth graders from East Hartford-Glastonbury Magnet, East Hartford, Connecticut; and sixth graders from Carl Sandburg Middle, Old Bridge, New Jersey. Their experiments, respectively, will test Newton’s Laws of Motion using a bag of paper clips and investigate the effects gravity has on the motion of slingshot projectiles.
- NASA Kennedy Space Center Regional Winner Windy Ridge Elementary, Orlando, Florida. Their experiment will study human adaptability focusing on the role that gravity plays in a human’s ability to draw a picture. They are eighth graders.
- NASA Langley Research Center Regional Winner Eighth graders from Virginia Academy, Ashburn, Virginia. Their experiment will determine if liquid will move from its original position inside a bottle while in microgravity.
The experiments are expected to have observably different results in microgravity than when performed in the classroom.
The apparatus for the experiments was constructed using the same materials as a tool kit previously provided to astronauts on the space station. The materials in the tool kit are commonly found in the classroom and used for science demonstrations. The proposed experiments or demonstrations are required to take no more than 30 minutes to set up, run, and take down.
This fall, the program will ask for proposals for 2011. For more information on NASA’s educational programs, click here.
NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff explain how to create a microgravity experiment with a little help from Buzz Lightyear. Photo credit: NASA
Astronaut Nicole Stott demonstrates an experiment in microgravity. Photo credit: NASA
Nine experiments designed by fifth through eighth grade students will be conducted on the orbiting International Space Station this summer. Photo credit: NASA