The Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge, presented by the ISS National Lab and Marvel Entertainment, was an opportunity for American students ages 13-18 to submit microgravity flight experiment concepts that could be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. The contest focused on the characters Rocket and Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy comics and films.
The two winning concepts were selected in May 2018 and developed into flight projects by hardware partners DreamUp/NanoRacks and Space Tango. And now, finally, the experiments are about to launch on the SpaceX CRS-16 mission!
The video above highlights Team Groot’s plant experiment.
Team Groot: Aeroponic Farming in Microgravity
Designed by Sarina Kopf, Stella Meillon Katie Harrington, Maxwell Zines, and Josef Michelsen at Warren Tech/Lakewood High School, Golden, CO
This experiment explores aeroponic farming, using a misting device to deliver water to the plant roots and an air pump to blow excess water off the roots. In space, aeroponic farming could have advantages over gravity-dependent methods of watering plants. This research could help enable humans to grow fruits and vegetables in microgravity and address a major obstacle for long-term spaceflight.
Team Rocket: Staying Healthy in Space
Designed by Adia Bulawa at Greeneville High School, Greeneville, TN
This experiment aims to analyze the effectiveness in microgravity of a dental glue that is activated by UV light. Soldering in microgravity results in weaker bonds due to air bubbles. Will the same problem happen with this UV-activated glue? The results could help astronauts maintain their dental health on long space missions.