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Kids in Micro-g Deadline Dec. 8
Tracy Caldwell Dyson performs the Water and Hot Sauce experiment from Brownell Middle School in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson performs the Water and Hot Sauce experiment from Brownell Middle School in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. (NASA) There’s just a little bit of time left for students to submit proposals for NASA's "Kids in Micro-g" challenge. Students in fifth through eighth grades are tapped to design a classroom experiment that also can be performed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Proposals are due by Dec. 8.

The experiments should examine the effect of weightlessness on various subjects: liquids, solids, the law of physics and humans; that are expected to have observably different results in microgravity than in the classroom. The experiment apparatus must be constructed using materials from a special tool kit aboard the station. The kit contains items commonly found in classrooms for science experiments. Also, the experiments must take 30 minutes or less to set up, run and take down.

"This is a wonderful program that gives students the opportunity to have their experiments carried out in space by astronauts," said Mark Severance, International Space Station National Laboratory Office education projects manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "The students will compare the results of experiments conducted in the classroom with those conducted in the microgravity environment of the station."

A panel of microgravity scientists, classroom teachers, NASA educators and station operations personnel will select the winner and five runners-up. Their experiments will be performed on the orbiting laboratory next spring. Last summer, astronauts performed nine student experiments aboard the space station that were selected by NASA from 132 submissions.

Included in those winning experiments was a study to determine water absorption rates of two different materials; a study to determine if blowing across the tops of bottles filled with different amounts of water would create the same tones in space as on Earth; and a study on the role gravity plays in a human’s ability to draw a picture.

To learn more about how to submit proposals for the 2011 challenge, contact the ISS Payloads Office at jsc-iss-payloads-helpline@mail.nasa.gov or call 281-244-6187.

More information about the challenge and other NASA education programs also is available at:


by Lori Meggs
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center