Marsteller MS students’ projects are put to the test and launched into space
Posted on 09/05/2019
collage of 3 images of students working on science projects that were launched into space via NASA rocketWorking with Signet teacher, Dr. Kerry Adkins, students in Anders Drew’s science class at Marsteller Middle School finished out the 2018-19 school year having developed scientific research experiments tied to some future-focused, real-world problems. Using creative, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, the students worked in groups to plan experiments that examined three questions: How does putty hold up to the forces and spin of a NASA sounding rocket? What are the effects of extreme cold on brick, and the effects of low-pressure on packing materials when they reach the stratosphere on high-altitude research balloons? As would any scientist, the students decided on problems with real-world applications, developed their hypotheses, and then they submitted them to NASA.

This summer and fall, those students’ projects are getting put to the test thanks to their selection by the “Cubes in Space” (CIS) program to actually test them in space.

The rocket launch took place this summer at the Wallops Island Research Center located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore with two of the young Marsteller scientists and their families in attendance to watch. The rest of that team met up afterward to open the cube and analyze results. It was a surprise for the team to learn that the putty held up better than expected. This was because it was a team member who had proposed testing putty, rather than other materials recommended by the CIS program leaders, as a possible medium for successfully protecting delicate instruments in transport to space.

The high-altitude balloons containing the other two experiments are scheduled to launch in early September, weather permitting. The teams for those projects are waiting for word and expect to receive their cubes back soon afterward so that they can examine their results.

In this program, students are guided by their sponsor through the months-long process of developing their experiment, creating a diagram, and writing a proposal for submission as a Cubes in Space Application for Spaceflight.

Cubes in space is sponsored by the educational nonprofit organization, idoodledu inc., in collaboration with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, NASA Langley Research Center, and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.