Scientific Return and Reporting – Mission 11 to ISS

This page provides a video archive of presentations at the annual SSEP National Conference by student researchers whose experiments were part of the SSEP Mission 11 to ISS America experiments payload. Mission 11 to ISS was the thirteenth SSEP flight opportunity.

America launched on SpaceX-12, on August 14, 2017, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. America returned to Earth on SpaceX-12, splashing down in the Pacific off the California coast on September 17, 2017.

For details on the flight profile for America, see the SSEP Mission 11 to the International Space Station (ISS) page.

Some student flight teams present at more than one annual conference, reporting out status at various stages of the life cycle of a flight experiment. It is also true that not all student flight teams attend a conference. For details on all America flight experiments, see the Selected Experiments on SSEP Mission 11 to ISS page.

 

Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada

Scholarly Publication
Title: Can Tomatosphere Tomato Seeds Germinate After Two Exposures to Space, in Mars-Like Conditions?
Proceedings of Manitoba’s Undergraduate Science and Engineering Research, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2018, Pages 14-16
Download Paper

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Authors: Carter Ives (1), Graeme Perrie (1), Adam Stamler (1), Mrs. Maria Nickel (1)

Abstract: Tomatoes are commonly used throughout the world as a nutritious food source. Tomatoes are one of the only fruits to have had their seeds exposed to the harsh conditions of space travel. If humans are ever to colonize other planets then there will be a need for seeds to travel through space to those extraplanetary destinations. The objective of this study was to compare germination and growth of twice-space-exposed (TSE) tomato seeds with control-ground-truth (CGT) seeds. We found that the twice-space-exposed seeds had similar germination rates to the ground truth seeds but lower mortality. The TSE seeds were also taller from 18 to 56 days after planting than the CGT seeds. These results show that the frequency of space exposure is not a limiting factor for seed germination and growth.

1. Interlake School Division #21, Stonewall, MB, R0C 2Z0

 

iLEAD Consortium, California

Title: The Effects of Microgravity on Seed Germination
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
iLEAD Lancaster
Grade level: 7

Type of Experiment: Finalist Proposal, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Aelan Cohen, Jeremiah Childress, Veronica Flores
Advisors: Marcelo Serpe, Ph.D.
Teacher Facilitator: Rachel Johnstone

Abstract: This experiment was designed to observe the effects of microgravity on Citrullus lanatus’ (Watermelon) germination process. The germination process would begin on day two when the purified water, enhanced with liquid kelp, mix with the soil contents in volume 2. Our team would like to see if the germination rate changes within microgravity. Conditions would be replicated on earth and measured for any differences after the ISS specimen is returned. This experiment will be beneficial for future astronauts and the ISS greenhouse.

 

Title: Microgravity and Yeast
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
iLEAD Pacoima
Grade level: 6

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Auguste Bacchus, Daniel Herrera, Jack Sidman, Alexii Villamar
Advisors: Jacob Cohen, Ph.D., Craig L. Peterson, Ph.D.
Teacher Facilitator: Jacob Drori

Abstract: This experiment was designed to measure the reproduction rate of S. cerevisiae in microgravity compared to reproduction rate of S. cerevisiae on Earth. The S. cerevisiae will be grown for only two days, the smallest increment of time allowed within SSEP experiment parameters. Growth will then be halted using 10% neutral buffered formalin and growth will be compared principally with hemocytometers. Any difference greater than 10% will be considered significant in this experiment.

 

Vista, California

Title: The Regeneration of Dugesia japonica in Microgravity
Oral Presentation, 
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
Vista Magnet Middle School
Grade levels: 6-8

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Principal Investigator: Evie Currington
Co-Investigators: Charlotte Currington, Isabella Ansell, Sydney Wagner, Isabel Camacho
Teacher Facilitator: Christine Bartee

Abstract: This experiment was designed to test how Dugesia japonica regenerate in microgravity compared to the Earth ground truth. In a Type 2 FME, 10 tails will be placed in Crystal Geyser spring water in volume 1 and formaldehyde will be in volume 2 to terminate the experiment at U-14. Analysis will include quantifying the number of eyes and auricle development. We predict that in microgravity, all of the tails will not regenerate heads due to the lack of gravity.

 

University System of Maryland, Maryland

Title: Inhibition of P. Aeruginosa Biofilm with Antimicrobial Silicone in Microgravity
Oral Presentation,
8th Annual SSEP National Conferencence, June 2018
University of Maryland, College Park
Grade levels: 14-15

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Principal Investigator: Stacey Mannuel
Co-Investigator: Colton Treadway, Niall Cope, Emma Mirizio
Advisor: Dr. Birthe Kjellerup
Teacher Facilitator: Dr. Daniel Serrano

Abstract: Our experiment analyzes the effect of antibacterial silicone on the growth of P. aeruginosa biofilm in micro-gravitational conditions. Biofilms pose a problem in the maintenance of space instruments and astronaut health. Freeze-dried P. aeruginosa bacteria were activated with media on A=0 and allowed to grow on both non-modified silicone and antimicrobial silicone before being fixed on A+2. For analysis, our biofilm samples grown on the two surfaces will be compared to a ground control experiment via confocal microscopy analysis.

 

Title: The Effect of Microgravity on Bacteriophage Replication and Infectivity
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
University of Maryland, College Park
Grade levels: 14-15

Type of Experiment: Finalist Proposal, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Rushi Challa, Natalie Ivanina
Advisor: Dr. Daniel Nelson
Teacher Facilitators: Dr. Kenneth Frauwirth, Dr. Daniel Serrano

Abstract: Bacteria are a growing threat to the sanitation of the ISS and the health of astronauts. Typical sterilization techniques, such as antibiotics or chemical agents are not ideal for spaceflight due to toxicity to humans or resistance development. Our experiment tests potential use of bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, as a good and effective alternative to conventional sterilization techniques in space. Observed results may lead to the creation of bacteriophages that could target identified bacterial species found on the ISS.

 

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Title: Effects of Microgravity on Alcanivorax borkumensis
Oral Presentation, 8th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2018
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
Grade level: 11

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Tanner O’Neil, Felipe Rodriguez
Collaborators: Caleb VanHillo, Samuel Poulin
Teacher Facilitator: Paula deDeigo

Abstract: This experiment was designed to determine if microgravity affected the ability of Alcanivorax borkumensis to degrade n-alkanes compared to the ground truth. Freeze-dried bacteria was activated with growth media on U-14 and deactivated on U-5 by introducing Puromycin dihydrochloride growth inhibitor. Analysis included optical density testing, pellet mass measurements, wet mount microscopy and oil filtration. Our conclusion showed, an increase in growth rate in the ground truth and an increase in oil degradation in microgravity.

 

Galloway, New Jersey – Stockton University

Title: The Effects of Microgravity on Endomycorrhizae
Oral Presentation, 8th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2018
Stockton University
Grade level: Undergraduate

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Danielle Ertz, Valkyrie Falciani, Hannah Sandler
Co-Investigators: Francisca Ekekwe, Ariel Petchel, Chedecia Low, Megan Pierce
Teacher Facilitator: Dr. Tara Luke

Abstract: The purpose of the experiment was to combine Rhizophagus intraradices, a species of arbuscular mycorrhizae, and Linum usitatissimum, or flax, to test the mutualistic relationship between the two organisms in a microgravity environment and compare our results to the trials on Earth. After the experiment returned from space, it was examined and was prepped for analysis. We determined that the spores that were within microgravity conditions had produced more reproductive structures than the Earth samples among the flax while germinating.

 

Title: Spores in Space: The Effects of Microgravity on Endomycorrhizae
Oral Presentation, 7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
Stockton University
Grade level: 14

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Valkyrie Falciani, Danielle Ertz
Co-Investigators: Francisca Ekekwe, Ariel Petchel, Vashti Hill, Amanda Michael
Teacher Facilitator: Tara Harmer Luke

Abstract: Long term space travel poses interesting challenges, including growing a long-term food supply. Agriculture in microgravity can be improved by studying mycorrhizae: the mutualist relationship between plants and fungi, because this relationship increases the productivity of agriculturally important plant species on Earth. In a type 3 FME Mini Lab we combine Rhizophagus intraradices, a species of arbuscular mycorrhizae with flax (Linum usitatissimum), and explore the effect of microgravity on the relationship. Any outcome provides valuable information for future space travel.

 

Springfield, New Jersey

Title: The Effects of Microgravity on the Germination Rate of Lettuce Seeds
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School
Grade level: 7

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Ian McLeer, Max Levy, Elisha Acosta
Teacher Facilitator: Alison Gillen

Abstract: This experiment was designed to assess the germination rate of four types of lettuce seeds in microgravity compared to the Earth ground truth. The four types of lettuce seed embedded in gauze growth chamber will start the germination process by the release of water. A fixative will stop the growth five days before the seeds return to Earth. Analysis will include the amount of growth for each variety of seeds.

 

Waterford, New Jersey

Title: Perfect Crystals in Space
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
Waterford Township School District
Grade level: 6

Type of Experiment: Finalist Proposal, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Ryan Long, Kevin Watson
Co-Investigators: Guy DeFabrites, Matthew DeStefano, Ayden Lucas
Teacher Facilitator: Debra A. Parker

Abstract: This experiment was designed to compare the purity of a crystal grown in a microgravity environment versus an Earth grown crystal. To conduct our experiment, we wanted to use Potassium Sulfate and water. We chose the Potassium Sulfate because it would not have to heated up aboard the ISS. We wanted to see if the crystals would grow at the same rate and if they would have the same basic shape when dealing with the two different environments.

 

Title: Galaxy Eggplants
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
Waterford Township School District
Grade level: 6

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Ava Brennan, Marley Brennan, Hailey Reese
Co-Investigators: Abigail Baines, Angelina Mott
Teacher Facilitator: Debra A. Parker

Abstract: This experiment is designed to compare the growth rate of eggplant seeds in a microgravity environment versus the growth rate here on Earth. Will a microgravity environment shorten or lengthen the germination time? We will be using four eggplant seeds, gibberellic acid solution to promote growth, and formalin to stop the growth. We believe that the germination will be impacted by a microgravity environment.

 

Concord, North Carolina

Title: Gravitropism of Radish Seeds (Raphanus sativus) in Microgravity
Oral Presentation,
8th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2018
J. N. Fries Magnet Middle School, Cabarrus County
Grade level: 8

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Zayneb Shaikh, Paige Starnes, Sreenidhi Elayaperumal
Collaborators: Amy Bowman, Todd Erickson
Teacher Facilitators: Megan McNutt, Paul Fields

Abstract: The purpose of our experiment is to find the differences in gravitropism during the germination of radish seeds in gravity and microgravity. Gravitropism is a plant’s response to the stimuli of gravity. In microgravity, we hypothesize that our radish seeds will have longer shoots and shorter roots than those of from control group. This is because the there will be no gravity for the shoot to grow against, and no gravity to for the roots to grow along with.

 

Title: The Effect of Penicillin on the Germination on a Raphanus Sativus Seed
Oral Presentation, 7th A
nnual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
J.N. Fries Middle School
Grade levels: 6-8

Type of Experiment: Finalist Proposal, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Claire Sexton, Mary Swayze, Kripa Patel
Collaborator: Lauren Duncan
Teacher Facilitator: Margaret Gladin

Abstract: Our experiment was constructed to test if Penicillin could be used as a growth stimulant in seed germination. The sprout growth was measured on Earth over a five day period, and then we compared the average growth of the Raphanus Sativus seeds with and without Penicillin. In microgravity, the seed would grow for five days and then be conglomerated with Formalin. The results of the Earth experiment concluded that Penicillin did not speed up the average growth of the seeds.

 

Title: Gravitropism of Radish Seeds (Raphanus sativus) in Microgravity
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
J.N. Fries Middle School
Grade level: 7

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Zayneb Shaikh, Paige Starnes, Sreenidhi Elayaperumal
Collaborators: Amy Bowman, Todd Erickson
Teacher Facilitators: Megan McNutt, Paul Fields

Abstract: The purpose of our experiment is to find the differences in gravitropism during the germination of radish seeds in gravity and microgravity. Gravitropism is a plant’s response to the stimuli of gravity. In microgravity, we hypothesize that our radish seeds will have longer shoots and shorter roots than those of from control group. This is because the there will be no gravity for the shoot to grow against, and no gravity to for the roots to grow along with.

 

Burleson, Texas

Title: Concrete Compressive Strength in Microgravity
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
STEAM Middle School, Burleson ISD
Grade level: 6

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Danyel Archuleta, Cole Rose, Christian Steele
Teacher Facilitator: Mindy Quisenberry

Abstract: This experiment was designed to examine the differences between concrete compression strength when mixed and set in microgravity and concrete compression strength when mixed and set on Earth. 5.54 g Quikrete cement mixture was hydrated with 1 mL Burleson tap water to form concrete in both the flight and ground truth experiments. We will compare voids in the concrete samples from each experiment, and will also test the compression strength of each sample.

 

San Antonio, Texas

Title: Chytrid Frog Fungus Survival in Space
Oral Presentation,
7th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2017
J.L. Matthey Middle School, Southside ISD
Grade level: 8

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11

Co-Principal Investigators: Lydia Araujo, Carlos Gonzalez, Neco Jimenez
Teacher Facilitator: Robert Bryson

Abstract: The chytrid frog fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is causing a global decline of amphibians. It was discovered in 1999 but there is no cure. We hypothesized that the life cycle of the chytrid frog fungus cannot be completed in microgravity. If true, then effects of microgravity may be important to help scientists find a cure for the fungus. We have preliminary data from our ground-truth experiments. We eagerly await conducting our experiment on board the ISS later this summer.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.