Five Ballenas students, from left to right, Marco Loffredi, Victor Kamel, Robert Lachance, Alexander Marshall and Filipe Pereira, will have their science experiement travel to space this summer. - Submitted photo

Vancouver Island science project to be launched into space

Experiment designed by 5 Parksville high school students will travel to International Space Station

A science experiment designed by five École Ballenas students in Parksville will go into space.

This summer, when the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 13 to the International Space Station (ISS) launches, an experiment, titled Investigating the Growth Patterns of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) Sprouts in Microgravity: a Potential Nourishment for Future Manned Spaceflight, will be on board.

“We’re very fortunate to be part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP),” said Gillian Wilson, School District 69 assistant superintendent. “The experience is preparing today’s learners for tomorrow’s world. It has been an unprecedented applied learning opportunity that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math. Thanks to over $18,000 of funding, made possible by the Karen and Fred Green Fund (held at Vancouver Foundation) and Magellan Aerospace, over 400 students across the school district learned about the microgravity environment of space and created science experiment proposals.”

A local panel of judges reviewed experiment proposals, developed by students in Grades 4 to 12, and chose three for submission to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) based in Maryland U.S.A.

The experiment proposals included:

Will Mold Grow Differently on Bread in a Microgravity Zone? Arrowview Elementary School. Written by Emily Anderson, Avalon Carey, Liam Einarson, Ethan Gamble, Joshua Gauvin, Evin Izdebski, Novie Pratte, Damien Roberts, Karli Taylor and Jacob Waitson.

The Growth Rate and Pattern of Bacteria (Bacillus Subtilis) in a Microgravity Environment. École Ballenas Secondary. Written by Amanda Litton, David Downey, Caitlin Holme, Connor Litton, and Nasuka Nakazawa.

Investigating the Growth Patterns of Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa) Sprouts in Microgravity: a Potential Nourishment for Future Manned Spaceflights. École Ballenas Secondary. Written by Marco Loffredi, Victor Kamel, Robert Lachance, Alexander Marshall and Filipe Pereira.

“Students, who proposed the chosen experiment, are busy making preparations,” said Carl Savage, science teacher and SSEP community program director, School District 69. “They are working to refine their experiment and equip two micro labs; one lab will journey to the ISS and the other will remain on Earth. While astronauts are conducting the Alfalfa Sprout experiment in space, Ballenas students will be conducting the same experiment at school.”

Adding to the excitement and “real-world” experience, students plan to raise funds to view the ISS launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and present their findings at the SSEP National Conference in Washington D.C.

— Submitted by SD69

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