A group of four students at Valley View High School will see their science project launch into space later this year after being selected for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE), in partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, recently announced the selection of Valley View High School’s microgravity experiment to fly aboard the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SSEP Mission 12, scheduled for launch in the Spring or Summer of 2018.
The project, “Effect of Microgravity on Soybean Germination,” was developed by 12th-graders Titan Lam and Semajj Martinez; 11th-grader DJ McCormack and 10th-grader Roman Lara under the guidance of science teacher Stacy Katzenstein and Project Director Deepika Srivastava.
By growing soybeans on the International Space Station, the project aims to promote the growth of other foods onboard. Soybean germination in a microgravity environment will provide a better understanding of the role of gravity on soybean growth.
“I was really interested in space, so having the opportunity to send my own experiment, from my group, into space is a really big moment in my life,” said team member Roman Lara.
The Valley View experiment was selected from 110 proposals submitted by students of the Moreno Valley Unified School District. A committee comprising of Project Director Deepika Srivastava and professors from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California Riverside selected three projects to be considered at the national level. A national review board convened by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education selected the Valley View project for the spaceflight.
“We are thrilled with all of the students who submitted proposals to this program and the Valley View team that will see their project launched to space,” said Superintendent Dr. Martinrex Kedziora. “Participating in this program is just another way MVUSD is providing students real-world experiences that create unique learning opportunities”.
In addition to the experiment, students at Valley View will be designing mission patches that will travel to the ISS with the project. The patches will return to Valley View High School for display after their time in space.
“As a community, we are extremely proud of the hard work behind this project,” said Board of Education President Susan Smith. “We are excited to see the project launch, and hear about the lessons the students learn from this opportunity.”
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or SSEP] is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.