KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), November 17, 2022 – When SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches on its next mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the Dragon spacecraft will be loaded with dozens of investigations to conduct in space, many of them designed by students. These experiments, sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory, are part of an effort to excite and engage the next generation of scientists by enabling students to go beyond the classroom and conduct experiments in space.
SpaceX’s upcoming 26th The Commercial Resupply Services mission (SpaceX CRS-26) will carry student-designed experiments developed through ISS National Lab partner educational programs such as the STARWard STEM program and the Student Spaceflight Experiments program. These student-led surveys span a variety of research topics, from studying the effects of microgravity on seed germination to examining how spaceflight affects turmeric plants (a common herb that has medicinal properties) and evaluating the microbial solutions for food waste in space.
Students in Moreno Valley, California are sending carrot seeds to the ISS to study how microgravity affects the germination process. To date, ISS astronauts have successfully harvested a variety of leafy plants, such as lettuce and bok choy, along with chili peppers. The results of this student survey will provide valuable data on whether carrots could be a good crop to grow in space.
Another student-led project aims to examine how microgravity affects the medicinal properties of the turmeric plant. Terrestrial, turmeric has been found to improve brain function and reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. An experiment designed by a group of hearing-impaired students at Mary McArthur Elementary School in North Carolina will evaluate whether microgravity enhances or diminishes turmeric’s medicinal properties. The results could prove useful not only for astronauts on long-duration missions, but also for people on Earth.
To find ways to more efficiently decompose food matter and reduce waste on Earth, a group of Michigan students has proposed an experiment that analyzes how blueberries decompose in microgravity conditions. The findings could help researchers better understand the role of gravity in the decomposition process, which could have implications for future space agriculture programs as well as agricultural processes on Earth.
In addition, three payloads supported by Girl Scouts of America and Space Kids Global will examine how brine shrimp (more commonly known as sea monkeys) move and behave, the effects of microgravity on ant behaviors, and plant growth in the low earth orbit. .
These projects and many more will fly on SpaceX CRS-26, which is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center no earlier than Nov. 21 at 4:19 p.m. EST. This mission will include more than 20 ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads. To learn more about all of the ISS National Lab-sponsored research on SpaceX CRS-26, visit our launch page.
Download high resolution photos for this version: SpaceX CRS-26 Student payload
Watch the SpaceX CRS-26 introductory video: SpaceX CRS-26 Research: Overview
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Information on the National Laboratory of the International Space Station (ISS): The International Space Station (ISS) is a unique laboratory that enables research and technological development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab enables researchers to leverage this multi-user facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance scientific literacy in the future workforce, and expand a market sustainable and scalable in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting National Laboratory, ISS research resources are available to support non-NASA science, technology, and educational initiatives by U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under cooperation agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful observation point in low Earth orbit and the extreme and varied conditions of space. For more information about the ISS National Lab, visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.
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