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Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP)

Space

COMING IN 2022-23 SCHOOL YEAR

Edina Public Schools has been accepted to the 2022 Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. This fall, Edina students will have the opportunity to develop microgravity experiments, one of which will be selected to be conducted on the International Space Station. SSEP is about inspiring America’s next generation of scientists and engineers, and engaging entire communities in the process. There will be many ways for students and the community to be involved in this exciting opportunity!

The Edina Education Fund has pledged financial support for the district’s involvement. It is expected that participation will cost $27,000 to cover the cost of launching the team experiment, astronauts conducting the experiment, and returning the student mini-laboratory back to earth.

SSEP Logo


Edina Public Schools is the only Minnesota district participating in the 2022 Student Spaceflight Experiments. 

Teams of students in grades 5-12 are eligible for the competition, and specific grade level and course level teachers have been identified to implement this project into their classrooms. In addition, any team of Edina Public School students in grades 5-12 may enter the competition outside of their classroom or coursework.

Beginning in Fall 2022, teams of Edina students will work to develop experiment proposals designed to assess the impact of microgravity on biological, chemical or physical systems. Each proposal will include a control experiment which the students will conduct here on earth.

The microgravity version of the experiment will be included in a Mission 17 payload destined for the ISS via SpaceX Dragon in Spring 2023. Astronauts at the ISS will follow student instructions to complete the experiment in space and return results to the students.

Other Resources

Space

The Space Station is Earth's only microgravity laboratory. This football field-sized platform hosts a plethora of science and technology experiments that are continuously being conducted by crew members. Research aboard the orbiting laboratory holds benefits for life back on Earth, as well as for future space exploration."

- NASA

TIMELINE

SUMMER 2022  

  • Teacher training will be completed, including curricular content specific to microgravity, and experiment research and design

SEPTEMBER 1 - NOVEMBER 2

  • Experiment Design and Proposal Writing

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2

  • Flight Experiment Proposals due to your lead institution

FRIDAY, NOVEMEBER 11

  • Local panel of experts will review submitted Edina student-designed experiments and recommend three for national consideration

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15

  • Formal selection of your community’s flight experiments
  • National panel of experts determines which of the three selected Edina experiments will make the journey to the ISS

JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2023

  • Preparation of experiment and flight certified mini-laboratory

LATE SPRING 2023

  • Edina experiment included in the payload of SSEP Mission 17 ferry flight on a SpaceX rocket launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the ISS

SUMMER 2023

  • SSEP National Conference for students in June or July 2023
  • Most likely held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC

Countdown to Launch

Countdown

ISS Live Stream

The ISS circles the Earth every 90 minutes. It travels at about 17,500 miles per hour, which gives the crew 16 sunrises and sunsets every day. In the more than 15 years that people have been living onboard, the Station has circumnavigated the Earth tens of thousands of times."

NASA

Previous microgravity experiments flown by other student teams:

Team Location: WISCONSIN
Grade: 6
Title: Growing and Glowing Mushrooms in Microgravity
Description: We hope to grow Panellus stipticus in microgravity to see if this species of bioluminescent mushrooms can thrive and glow as luminescent as they do on Earth. If these fungi grow successfully, they could be used for future colonies on planets. According to the website Science Daily, scientist Fydor Kondrashov states, “If we think of sci-fi scenarios in which glowing plants replace street lights — this is it. This is the breakthrough that can lead to this.” Our hypothesis is bioluminescent mushrooms can survive, grow, and glow in space. If they do, they could be a natural light source for future settlements on planets like Mars.

Team Location: UKRAINE
Grade: 11
Title: Dental Filling Material Solidification in Microgravity Conditions
Description: Dental problems are widespread on the Earth, but they may become even more dangerous in space. The main reason for dental problems in astronauts is the insufficiently evoking of enamel and dentin restoration process due to the softness of astronaut food, causing teeth to become brittle. Therefore, dental operations will be needed in space, especially in long-term flights to other planets. The experiment will show any difference between filling materials prepared in space and on the Earth. Henceforth, the research will show microgravity effects on filling's integrity, homogeneity, strength, and adhesion to the teeth.

Team Location: MICHIGAN
Grade: 8
Title: Microbial Solutions for Food Waste In Space
Description: On Earth, food waste in America alone includes 1.3 billion tons of food every year and often sits in landfills. Finding solutions to efficiently decompose food matter that may be used again for growing new food in microgravity is key to sustainable space exploration. This is important because more people will be visiting space where they will have greater quantities of food waste in the near future. Our research question is: How is the decomposition of blueberries affected by microgravity? This experiment should be conducted in microgravity because the results could greatly benefit space agricultural programs.

Team Location: CALIFORNIA
Grade: 11 and 12
Title: The Effects of Microgravity On The Germination Of Carrot Seeds
Description: The goal of the experiment is to compare and contrast the germination of carrot seeds in microgravity and on Earth experiments. One main reason for this study is to determine if carrots are a possible resource to consume. This experiment will determine if carrots can be an accessible resource for consumption in microgravity. The study will showcase how carrots can be a helpful resource to provide protein and other vitamins to help occupants on the ISS to maintain their health. If the experiment is unable to sustain a steady growth on the ISS, the carrots will not be brought to the ISS in the future.