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News, Santa Monica, Education, Schools

Two Santa Monica Schools Send Microgravity Experiment To Space

Posted Oct. 4, 2012, 1:45 am

Mitch James / Mirror Contributor

Lincoln Middle School and Santa Monica High School students have created a microgravity experiment that has been chosen as a real research mini-laboratory scheduled to fly on the International Space Station.

These students participated in a local Flight Experiment Design Competition that included over 300 competitors and was hosted by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), a remarkable U.S. national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative, that gives students across a community the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low-Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the Space Shuttle, and then on the International Space Station, America’s newest National Laboratory.

The competing teams submitted formal flight experiment proposals, and a formal proposal review process selected the flight experiment for the community.

A suite of programs leverages the flight experiment design competition to engage the entire community, including a mission patch art and design competition.

The winning team is comprised of Principal Investigator and Santa Monica High School student Cindy Yen, along with collaborators Francis Abastillas, Dean Chien, Matilda Loughmiller, Alex Soohoo, Roman Valentine, and Jane Cho Watts.

Their experiment is entitled, “What Is the Effect of Microgravity on the Formation of Silly Putty and How Do the Characteristics of That Silly Putty Differ from the Silly Putty Made on Earth?”

This experiment, along with ten other SSEP Mission 2 to ISS microgravity experiments, will be carried by SpaceX-1 to the ISS, packaged in a payload box called Antares. Eleven communities participated in SSEP Mission 2 to ISS; the eleven selected experiments are the culmination of 3,930 students immersed in experiment design, and 1,125 flight experiment proposals received from student teams. Mission 2 flight experiment proposal summaries can be found at:

Accompanying the Mission 2 experiments will be 21 Mission Patches to capture the community experience in the eleven communities that participated in Mission 2 to ISS; these twenty-one patches were selected from 5,960 submitted across all eleven communities.

For more information, go to:

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