Students’ experiments sent to space

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]
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Many kids are told to shoot for the moon — Maysville Academy student Emma Stone and Manchester High School sophomore Emma Grooms took a more literal approach.

Stone and her teammates’ proposal won Blast Off 2018 at Morehead State University Craft Academy this summer. Her team’s accomplishment will soon become a building block upon the pursuit of knowledge, by having their experiment conducted within the environment of the International Space Station.

According to MSU’s website, Blast Off is a five-day residential camp which exposed students to exomedicine – a new frontier in medical research and innovation, which involves studying and experimenting medical solutions and how they react in the zero gravity environment that space provides.

Grooms, another member of the team, received a scholarship from the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, and the Ohio Association of Gifted Children in order to also attend the Blast Off program at MSU this summer.

Students work closely with biology educators to explore biological processes that may be affected by a microgravity environment. Blast Off participants competed in teams to design an experiment that will be built by Space Tango and carried out on the ISS.

The team project centered around non-pathogenic E.coli bacteria which will be used to produce the recombinant protein GFP (green florescent protein) which replicates itself into the DNA. It then glows where the proteins are produced. This project will be sent into microgravity.

The growth of the E.coli bacteria will be measured using the GFP. The results of this experiment will be used as a stepping stone in discovering new bacterial reactions in space. If successful, Stone and her Team Cadets project could be used to produce human growth hormones for astronauts’ hearts in space.

Stone and Grooms will be traveling to NASA in November for the blast-off of their experiment that will be performed aboard the International Space Station in January 2019.

MSU’s Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics partnered with the Department of Biology and Chemistry and Space Tango, a group which facilitates research and manufacturing in microgravity environments, to launch these biology experiments to the ISS.

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Jonathan Wright

[email protected]