NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-Orion (SSEP Mission 4) (NanoRacks-NCESSE-Orion ) - 10.21.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-Orion (NanoRacks-NCESSE-Orion) investigation stems from a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education program called the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). Student teams across the United States design and build their own experiments using flight-approved fluids and other materials. The investigation includes 11 different science experiments that are flown in a NanoRacks module aboard the International Space Station.
Science Results for Everyone
OpNom Module-9 S/N 1008, 1011
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, Capitol Heights, MD, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory Education (NLE)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2013 - March 2014
Previous ISS Missions
- The NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-Orion (NanoRacks-NCESSE-Orion) is the sixth flight opportunity associated with the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP), an initiative of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE), in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC
- Eleven experiments are selected from 744 student team proposals, engaging 3,080 grade 5-12 students in microgravity experiment design.
- SSEP allows student teams to design an experiment with real constraints imposed by the experimental apparatus and the environmental restrictions of microgravity.
- Students complete proposals for a flight opportunity, experience a science proposal review process, complete a flight safety review, and attend their own science conference.
- NanoRacks-NCESSE-Orion is also part of the NanoRacks DreamUP! Program, which aims to stimulate commercial student participation in low-earth orbit projects.
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), launched by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC, is an extraordinary commercial U.S. national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative that to date has provided students across the United States—middle and high school students (grades 5-12), and/or undergraduates at 2-year community colleges (grades 13-14)—the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station (ISS).
Since program inception in June 2010, there have been six SSEP flight opportunities—SSEP on STS-134 and STS-135, which were the final flights of Space Shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis; and SSEP Missions 1 through 4 to ISS. To date, 60 communities have participated in the program, with over 100,000 grade K-14 students across 540 schools given the opportunity to participate in their community-wide experience. A total of 21,600 grade 5-14 students were fully immersed in microgravity experiment design and proposal writing, and 5,091 experiment proposals were submitted by student teams. To date, 14 communities have participated in 2, 3, or 4 flight opportunities, reflecting the sustainable nature of the program.NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-Orion (NanoRacks-NCESSE-Orion) includes the following 11 student experiments on Orbital-1:
Lactobacillus Bacteria Growth in Microgravity
Ralph Pfluger Elementary School, Grade 5, Buda, Texas
This investigation tests lactobacillus bacteria growth in microgravity. A lactobacillus bacterium is a probiotic bacterium that is important for bone strength and intestinal health in humans. People get probiotic bacteria from yogurt and other dairy products. The body produces these bacteria in the intestinal tract, but the amount produced is not enough to keep you healthy. If humans eventually colonize space or another planet, they will need ways to stay healthy. A Probiotic bacterium is one way to keep the body strong and healthy. Because of the importance of these bacteria to the human body, this experiment determines if microgravity has any effect on its growth. (NRP-10009-7, S/N 1008)
The Effect of Microgravity on the Development of the Spotted Salamander
Avicenna Academy, Grades 6 and 8, Crown Point, Indiana
Effect of Microgravity in Structure of the Fungus Flammulina velutipes
The Bronx High School of Science, Grade 10, New York City, New York
Aleve® XR and Microencapsulation in Microgravity
Downingtown S.T.E.M. Academy, Grade 9, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
The focus of this experiment is to observe how microgravity affects the release of the microencapsulated drug Aleve® XR. From the outcomes of previous experiments done in space that are similar, it is predicted that the release rate of the drug is prolonged in microgravity. The experiment requires the microcapsule be dissolved by a simulated stomach acid made up of hydrochloric acid, deionized water, sodium chloride, and potassium chloride. When the experiment is sent back to earth, the concentration of amphetamines released by the Aleve® XR is compared to the concentration of the amphetamines released on earth, in order to see how microgravity affects how strong the microencapsulation of the drug is. If there is a lower concentration of Aleve® XR, then this means that the microcapsule is stronger in space, because the coating would have lasted longer. The results of this experiment also provide researchers with information regarding the effects of microgravity, specifically on the release of microcapsules. Crewmembers can then act accordingly on how heavy each dose needs to be in order to be effective on a particular disease. It can also contribute to manufacturing longer lasting medicines, if the microcapsule stays intact in microgravity. (NRP-10009-1, S/N 1011)
What Are the Effects of Creation of Beer in Microgravity and is it Possible?
STEM School and Academy, Grade 6, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
The Effect of Microgravity on Calcium Absorption by Bones
Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker Junior High School, Grade 7, Pigeon, Michigan
This investigation determines if a decalcified bone absorbs calcium in microgravity. It is hypothesized that the decalcified bone absorbs the calcium from the calcium solution to sustain calcium levels in microgravity. On Earth, it is predicted that the bone’s density increases. A decalcified bone is used since harvested bone cells die without homeostasis. The bone is x-rayed, measured, and weighed to determine its density/mass: 1) before it is decalcified, 2) after decalcification and, 3) after the SSEP flight. The experiment is tested on Earth by combining crushed calcium pills, buffered saline and a section of the wishbone (furcula) of a chicken (Gallus domesticus). Chicken bone is used because it fits in the MixStix yet the pieces from the same bone are available for testing the experiment on Earth and in microgravity. Finding a way to help sustain bone density helps crewmembers’ health. This allows them to continue being in space without the problem of loss of bone density, which reduces the risk of broken bones while in space and osteoporosis. (NRP-10009-3, S/N 1011)
Bacteria and Decomposition
Jamestown High School, Grade 9-10, Jamestown, Pennsylvania
The Effect of Microgravity on the Oxidation of Metal Exposed to a Salt Water Solution
Palmetto Scholars Academy, Grade 7, North Charleston, South Carolina
This experiment examines the structural integrity of iron exposed to a saltwater solution in microgravity. It is proposed that the oxidation changes because the surface tension of the liquid in space is more apparent than in normal gravity. Iron is chosen for the experiment because it rusts quickly and is easier to examine during the limited time frame of the experiment. A MixStix is used with salt water on one side and an iron bar and oxygen in the other. The iron bar is the kind used for metal tensile testing; the oxygen and salt water oxidizes it. The two mix when the crewmember releases the clamp and shakes the container. Three test samples, one with salt water in space, one with salt water on Earth, and one with no salt water on Earth are examined. Once the product of the three experiments, the two on Earth and the one in microgravity, is obtained, they are tested. A metal tensile test measures the integrity of the iron bars, and a scanning electron microscope looks for differences in corrosion. Knowing how liquids in microgravity affect the oxidation of metals is important when designing containers for the International Space Station and manned spacecrafts. This is also useful in understanding oxidation in low gravity environments like on the moon or Mars. (NRP-10009-5, S/N 1011)
How does microgravity effect the mold growth on bread?
Cesar Chavez Elementary, Grade 5, Pharr, Texas
How does microgravity affect the mold growth on bread? In order to determine how mold on bread reacts differently on Earth than in microgravity, “Gerber Graduates for Toddlers Lil’ Biscuits” are used. The procedures for conducting the experiment in microgravity are as follow. First, the biscuit arrives packaged and refrigerated to Houston. Then, the biscuit is placed inside the NanoRacks MixStix, which is separated by a clamp. Finally, on arrival plus two days the crewmembers slowly open the clamp letting two milliliters of Aquafina distilled water drop, giving the biscuit moisture to start growing mold. Once returned to Earth, observations are made of the biscuit’s color, texture, thickness of mold, and also by viewing the slide of the mold spores under the microscope. An exact replica of the experiment on Earth is conducted at the same time as the experiment in microgravity, so both experiments are compared. (NRP-10009-6, S/N 1011)
Dehydrated and Live Tardigrades Vs. Microgravity
Rochester Early College International High School, Grade 11, Rochester, New York
The Formation of Silver Crystals in Microgravity
Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center, Grade 11, Warren, Michigan
The SSEP, a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, is a keystone initiative for U.S. science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The program educates and inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers who will work on the space program.
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program teaches students in grades 5-12 about the process of exploration, science as a journey, and the joys of learning. It provides an opportunity to implement a STEM education program throughout the educational system, tailored to the needs of different communities throughout the U.S. The SSEP engages students and their teachers in real science and provides students with first-hand experience in scientific experiments and the space program.
The MixStix are unclamped to activate. The MixStix are returned to the student teams. Each team unseals their MixStix, harvests the samples and compares to their ground truth experiments, analyzes results, and presents results at the SSEP National Conference at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
A crewmember removes the Velcro tabs to open the Module-9 lid. The crewmember unclamps the fasteners on the MixStix as directed, enabling the materials in the various chambers to flow. The crewmember then shakes the MixStix (when directed) to mix the liquids thoroughly. Repeat for all MixStix. Crewmember notes the time of MixStix activation and replaces the tubes back in Module-9. The lid is replaced and secured with the Velcro tabs.
Future scientists Brianna Azuara and Amanda Chavez, Cesar Chavez Elementary, measure the mass of their samples during the experiment design phase of "How does microgravity effect the mold growth on bread?" Image courtesy of SSEP.
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Future Drs. Griffin Eslinger and Alex Puckhaber, Palmetto Scholars Academy, assessing pH of saltwater solution before introduction into the MixStix for "The Effect of Microgravity on the Oxidation of Metal Exposed to a Salt Water Solution". Image courtesy of SSEP.
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Co-PI Cheyanne Jeffrey and Collaborator Vicki-Ann Aman, Rochester Early College International High School, discuss contents of the "Dehydrated and Live Tardigrades Vs. Microgravity" MixStix during a team planning meeting. Image courtesy of SSEP.
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Co-PIs Steven Prascius and Sydney Waynick, and Co-I Hunter Montrose, Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center, explore "The Formation of Silver Crystals in Microgravity". Image courtesy of SSEP.
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Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker Junior High School student (LtoR) Chandler Furness, Sarah Hammond, Nick Wolschlager, Hannah Hammond, Chelsey Katshor, and Halle Keim working on a rough draft of their proposal, "The Effect of Microgravity on Calcium Absorption by Bones". Image courtesy of SSEP.
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Microgravity researcher Michal Bodzianowski, STEM School and Academy, assessing his experiment, "What Are the Effects of Creation of Beer in Microgravity and is it Possible?" Image courtesy of SSEP.
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Co-PIs Alvin Wong, Patrick Yang, and Wei Li of the Bronx High School of Science plan their ISS experiment, "Effect of Microgravity in Structure of the Fungus Flammulina velutipes". Image courtesy of SSEP.
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