A microgravity experiment designed by students from Lincoln Middle School and Santa Monica High School has taken a voyage into outer space.
The project, which will study the effects of microgravity on the formation of silly putty, was launched earlier this month as part of SpaceX’s mission to the International Space Station.
The experiment and 10 other microgravity projects from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program were packaged in a payload box called Antares with the SpaceX mission, school officials said. Santa Monica was among 11 communities that had the opportunity to participate in the mission to the International Space Station. Approximately 1,125 flight experiment proposals were received from student teams.
The Santa Monica students participated in a local Flight Experiment Design Competition that included over 300 competitors and was hosted by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. The program gives students the chance to design and propose real experiments to fly in low-Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the space shuttle, and then on the International Space Station.
The competing teams submitted formal flight experiment proposals, and a formal proposal review process selected the flight experiment for the community.
Santa Monica’s project team is comprised of principal investigator and Santa Monica High School student Cindy Yen, along with collaborators Francis Abastillas, Dean Chien, Matilda Loughmiller, Alex Soohoo, Roman Valentine and Jane Cho Watts.
During its voyage to the space station, the students’ experiment will attempt to analyze microgravity effects on the formation of silly putty and how the characteristics of that silly putty differ from the same material made on Earth, school officials said.
Accompanying the experiments will be 21 “mission patches” to capture the community experience in the 11 communities that participated in Mission 2 to the space station. The 21 patches were selected from 5,960 submitted across all 11 communities.