When the Dragon spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) this past Saturday, it brought with it several student investigations as part of SpaceX’s 16th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission. The student experiments on this mission cover a wide range of topics—from examining the ability of fungi to act as a radiation barrier to looking at coffee’s effects on oral hygiene in space and studying genetically engineered bacteria that produce medically important proteins.
Students with payloads on this mission gathered at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSC) on December 5 to watch their experiments launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Several of the students gave presentations on their spaceflight projects at the KSC Journey to Mars Theater and participated in a poster session at the Apollo Saturn V Center. To learn more about the student investigations included on SpaceX CRS-16, see this Space Station Explorers post.
Also launched on this mission were the two winning student experiments from the Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge, a Space Station Explorers program. The ISS National Lab partnered with Marvel Entertainment for the challenge, and hundreds of students from across the U.S. submitted concepts for spaceflight experiments based on the physical characteristics of Guardians of the Galaxy characters Rocket and Groot.
The winning student experiment for Team Groot is looking at aeroponic farming in microgravity, and the winning student experiment for Team Rocket will examine the effectiveness in microgravity of a dental glue that is activated by ultraviolet (UV) light. Learn more about the aeroponic farming student investigation in the video below. You can also learn more about the challenge and both student investigations in this Space Station Explorers post.
Visit www.spacestationexplorers.org to learn more about the Space Station Explorers Consortium, a growing community of ISS National Lab partner organizations working to leverage the unique platform of the ISS to provide valuable educational experiences.