In 2016 SSEP, collaborating with NASA, sent out a challenge to students for an experiment to go the International Space Station. The competition was open to grades 5 through senior and college and available to the entire United States and Canada. The experiment was to test the effects of a weightless environment compared to the results of the experiment here on earth. It had to be useful and compelling to be selected. There were 12 experiments selected out of tens of thousands submitted. These 4 remarkably bright young men won this challenge and their experiment was selected.
The effects of microgravity on Alcanivorax Borkumensis was SSEP Mission 11 that launched as part of payload America, aboard the spaceX Falcon 9 rocket this past August. The payload boarded the International Space Station for a testing period and return to earth without any complications. The mission set out to test if the crude oil degrading properties of Alcanivorax Borkumensis benefitted substantially in a low earth orbit; microgravity environment. The freeze dried bacterium was awakened through the addition of nutrient broth pyruvate and paraffin wax was used as a form of energy and sustenance while in flight. This past October the students were able to spend a day in the UMass Amherst labs to recreate the experiment (here on earth) to be used as a reference and comparison to the NASA astronauts results. As further testing is currently underway to determine conclusive results, a presentation of the experiment and such results is to be presented in Washington DC this upcoming summer vacation by the Chief Principal Investigators Tanner O'Neill and Felipe Rodriguez, and Co-Principal Investigators Caleb VanHillo and Samuel Poulin.
Any money that can be donated will be used for the costs of traveling to this convention in Washington D.C. such as food, lodging, traveling and some additional expenses. This is an amazing lifetime opportunity for these 4 incredible bright men. Any funds over the target amount will be going right back into this program.
The teacher, Ms. Paula DeDiego has done an amazing job with this program for the school. Her students experiments have been selected for 8 out of 9 launches since inception of the program. Additionally, this is the the only vocational school that has had an accepted experiment, not just in Massachusetts, out of the entire country.
- Renée Danton
- Mary Barclay
- Jennifer Burgett
- Ronald Tourigny
- James Cournoyer
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