CORY MCCOY, email@example.com
This is one small step for potatoes, one giant leap for Bullard High School students.
The team of high schoolers are blasting potatoes into space in the name of science.
For the past two years, four young ladies, all juniors, have been working to get their science experiment to the International Space Station through the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program.
The students have been working with their teacher facilitator Jennifer Smith and UT Tyler Professor Dr. Ali Azghani to package their experiment before it is placed aboard the SpaceX CRS-12 Mission 11, America launch on Aug. 10 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The purpose of the experiment is to determine if potato blight spreads more quickly in microgravity.
“We looked it up and several experiments in microgravity showed plant cell walls became thinner,” Emma Rhyne said. “When it gets back home, we’re going to analyze it and see how it has been affected.”
Once the package arrives aboard the International Space Station, astronauts will break a barrier in the packaging, allowing the blight to come into contact with the potatoes.
The experiment was meant to have shipped last year, but the loss of an unmanned rocket pushed back delivery dates to the station.
“It’s been a pretty wild experience,” Raelee Walker said. “It’s kind of crazy to think my experiment is going into space.”
Walker said the experience has cemented her desire to go into the biomedical field once she gets to college.
The experiment will spend about 28 days aboard the ISS before returning to earth for the students to study.
Valerie Vierkant and Emmalee Ellis also participated in the experiment.