Lime Kiln Middle School student experiment to fly on International Space Station


A science experiment designed by Lime Kiln Middle School students has been selected to fly on the International Space Station.The project, titled The Effect of Microgravity on Chryseobacterium Aquaticum Growth, is one of just 17 selected among 1,466 proposals submitted nationally for astronauts to conduct during a six-week period this spring.

Lime Kiln eighth graders Gregory Nelson and Josh Choi served as principal investigators for the project design, with Sophia Novacic and Ryan Olsen serving as co-investigators. Science teachers Ella Jordan and Lauren Landerman served as teacher facilitators.

In the fall, eighth grade science students at Hammond, Lime Kiln and Wilde Lake middle schools competed for a chance to fly an experiment on the International Space Station. A $20 thousand grant from the Maryland Space Grant Consortium enabled HCPSS participation in the project, part of the national Student Space Flight Experiments Program (SSEP).

Students began learning about forces and motion in science classes in mid-September, then broke into teams to design research proposals for microgravity experiments. In November, a committee of educators and science and engineering professionals selected one proposal from each school to submit to a national selection committee, which made the final selection for the space flight.

Wilde Lake Middle School's project proposal, Copepod Growth in Microgravity, was named an Honorable Mention Finalist. The project was designed by Cyrus Jenkins and Calvin Kuang with support from teacher facilitators Damisha Drakes and Douglas Spicher. Hammond Middle School's Zinc-Insulin Crystals in Microgravity, also named an Honorable Mention Finalist, was developed by Victoria Airapetian, Alicia Borges, and Alex Sadzewicz, with support from science teacher Christopher Doody.

The project is part of the national Student Space Flight Experiments Program (SSEP;, spear headed by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC. NCESSE is a non-profit organization that inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers by engaging their natural human impulse to be curious and explore. NanoRacks LLC, works in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

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