Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP)
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program is a global initiative led by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. Edina Public Schools is the first school in Minnesota to participate in the program which began in the 2022-2023 school year. Student teams in grades 5-12 compete to have their experiment chosen to represent the community and be performed by astronauts at the International Space Station in 2023. The program aims to engage students across the world in an authentic, research-based space experience that inspires the globe’s next scientists and engineers.
Learn more about the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program.
EHS student's microgravity experiment launched into Space on November 9, 2023
Congratulations to Edina High School students and alumni Josh Cram, Colin Shaw, and sophomore Grayson Irons for this incredible achievement!
After nine weeks of research, experiment design, and proposal writing, a national panel of experts selected one proposal to be on board an outgoing SpaceX spacecraft. This microgravity experiment is destined for the International Space Station, where astronauts complete the experiment in space and return the results back to Edina students.
The team created a project centered around growing food in space. The microgravity experiment launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. "I never would’ve guessed that I’d create an experiment that would go to space, much less in my senior year of high school," Josh told FOX 9 before he graduated last year. "We’re growing a plant in space. I mean, how many high schoolers can say that they’ve done that?" Grayson added.
To view the full story, click HERE.
The Edina Education Fund pledged financial support for the district’s involvement. It is expected that participation costs $27,000 to cover the cost of launching the team experiment, astronauts conducting the experiment, and returning the student mini-laboratory back to earth.
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."
- Experiment design and proposal writing
- Flight experiment proposals submitted
- Local panel of experts review Edina student-designed experiments and recommend three for national consideration
- 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
SPRING - FALL
- Preparation of experiment and flight certified mini-laboratory
- Winning experiment included in the payload of SSEP ferry flight on a SpaceX rocket launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the ISS
- SSEP National Conference for students
Team Location: WISCONSIN
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
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
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.