ISSET’s Mission Discovery Summer School programme is a great opportunity for ordinary students to do something extraordinary.
Secondary school students from ages 14 - 18 (Year groups 9 - 13) carry out scientific research with NASA Astronauts, rocket scientists and NASA personnel for a week. Mission Discovery works off a first-come first-serve basis. There is no selection process, giving everyone equal opportunity to get involved.
In teams, students will propose an idea for their own scientific experiment; the best idea will be launched into space and carried out by Astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
With help from brilliant NASA role models, Astronauts, Astronaut trainers, NASA personnel, scientists and engineers; students will learn about space and STEM through a variety of exhilarating hands-on activities, based on themes such as:
The experiment they will be launching to the Space Station is: Solving Food Muddle in Space by using the property of cellulase bacteria to convert cellose into glucose.
Their experiment will be assessing the ability of the bacterium Chondromyces Crocatus to form ‘fruiting bodies’ in microgravity.
Their experiment will look at whether the surface type of a material affects the speed slime mould could travel in micro gravity.
This experiment will look at how crops could be grown in space.
This experiment will try to determine if probiotic bacteria is the best antiseptic for use in space.
This experiment is set to see if electricity generating bacteria, once taken to a microgravity environment, will increase either the rate or amount of electricity generated when compared with the same process on Earth.
This experiment will be looking to see whether symbiotic relationships between plants and bacteria are maintained in a microgravity environment.
The hypothesis for this experiment is testing the impact of bacterial phages on different types of bacteria, such as e-coli, in zero gravity conditions.
This experiment aims to test whether ionic liquids are effective lubricants in microgravity.
This experiment will examine the 3D applications of electrowetting in microgravity.
This experiment aims to look at luciferase (the enzyme that gives fireflies their ‘glow’) activity in microgravity in a set up very similar to a ‘glow stick’.
Treatment of red-eye (conjunctivitis) in space: Astronauts are required to spend 2 weeks in isolation before any launch to the ISS to prevent them from catching any illness and to allow any illnesses that they have already caught to transpire. As commercial space flight starts to become a reality, the possibility of putting people in quarantine for such a long period will become practically impossible. Conjunctivitis has approximately a 2 day incubation period in humans. It is possible that when commercial space flights increase in length, such illnesses with short incubation periods will require treatment on board the spacecraft. This experiment will therefore determine the effectiveness of treatments for conjunctivitis in microgravity.
Carbon dioxide consumption by cacti in microgravity: Elevated carbon dioxide levels are a potential problem in space. Although plants can readily consume CO2, they are notoriously difficult to grow in microgravity due to fluidic problems. Cacti require very little water and so are predicted to have a much better survival rate. This experiment will see whether their rate of CO2 consumption in space can also be maintained.
The effect of microgravity on motor function of Drosophila with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms: Feany & Bender (2000) first reported a model of Parkinson’s disease in Drosphila which has enabled the study of this disease in a species which can be easily manipulated without the same ethical considerations as models in rodents and higher species. This experiment will determine the impact of microgravity on the symptoms of this disease, as related to motor function.
Chemical reactions in Alzheimer’s disease in microgravity: This experiment will compare the rate of amyloid beta-protein aggregation on earth versus microgravity. Aggregation of this protein is considered to be a major contributor to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and further understanding of the nature of its aggregation is of potential benefit for future treatments.
Daphnia magna in space: Daphnia will produce sexually or asexually depending on the nature of their environment. Under stressful conditions, they will resort to sexual reproduction. The aim of this study is to determine whether the microgravity environment of the ISS is stressful enough to initiate sexual reproductive activity through analysis of eggs.
Effect of plant steroids on plant growth in microgravity: Plants are notoriously difficult to grow in microgravity, but they will provide an essential food source for long-term space missions. This experiment will determine whether plant steroids can potentiate their growth in a microgravity environment.
Saprophytic degradation of food in space: Saprophytes (including many types of yeast) are capable of degrading food substances. As food waste is a potential problem for long term space missions, this experiment will determine whether the saprophyte, Kazachstania telluris, can degrade food in microgravity.
This experiment will test the effectiveness of antibiotics on E. coli in space.
This experiment will examine whether slime mold grows three-dimensionally in space due to the lack of gravity. >
Mission Discovery is an international programme, which provides an opportunity for young people to work with inspiring role models. It is an ideal programme for students with an interest in pursuing a career in science, biomedicine or technology. However, it is not only for those considering a scientific or medical career – it can give pupils valuable life skills and the confidence to follow their dreams. Mission Discovery has been running since 2012 hosting events in 4 different countries, we hope to expand on this year after year, giving ordinary students the chance to achieve something extraordinary.
If you would like to work with Astronauts and NASA leaders hosting your own Mission Discovery, please contact Ross Barber on: +44 (0)29 2071 0295, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An article from the Times of India: Students in Delhi-NCR have the first-of-its-kind opportunity to define the next mission of the International Space Station, that too, under the guidance of retired astronaut Steve Swanson.
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NASA's 'Space to Ground' is a weekly update on what's happening aboard the International Space Station. We were lucky enough to have Mission Discovery experiments discussed on the show.
Water fleas will be launched to the International Space Station on Friday as part of an experiment conceived by Welsh school pupils. The crustaceans will be on their way to British astronaut Maj Tim Peake following a launch scheduled from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 21:43 BST. Major Peake will see how they reproduce in space and whether they can survive. Six youngsters from Rhondda Cynon Taff came up with the idea to win Mission Discovery 2013.
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