2012 SSEP National Conference, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC, July 2-3, 2012

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POST CONFERENCE UPDATE: descriptions of all 2012 conference presentations are found at the bottom of this page. On August 20, 2012 the video archive of all conference presentations was posted at the Smithsonian, National Air and Space Museum YouTube site.
Go to: SSEP 2012 Conference playlist

 

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) are proud to host the 2012 SSEP National Conference at the Museum on July 2 and 3, 2012.

All students and student teams that were engaged in SSEP experiment design and proposal writing—across all four SSEP flight opportunities to date (SSEP on STS-134 and STS-135, and Missions 1 and 2 to ISS)—are wholeheartedly invited to attend their conference with their teachers and school administrators, and their families.

An invitation is also warmly extended to representatives of the nearly 200 partnering organizations, including underwriting institutions, and research institutions whose researchers have been engaged as expert advisors and as members of Step 1 Proposal Review Boards.

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The conference provides a formal gathering place where students present on their experiment designs, and those teams that flew experiments report results. We want to immerse students in the experience of a real science conference. It is fitting. If the SSEP is dedicated to letting students step into the shoes of scientists and engineers, then a conference should be part of the experience.

The SSEP National Conference is taking place in the most visited museum on the planet, and in the new Moving Beyond Earth gallery. A section of the gallery will remain open to the public so that the conference can be part of the public visitorship experience. This is a truly remarkable once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for attendees.

The conference was also scheduled immediately before July 4th in the nation’s capital, so that attendees can stay on and watch the 4th of July fireworks on the National Mall.

IMPORTANT NOTE: SSEP students, their teacher, their families, and representatives of SSEP partner organizations interested in attending the 2012 Conference, and who are not already part of attending delegations, should review this page and contact NCESSE as soon as possible.  Only registered attendees can participate in the conference. Additional attendees will be accepted on a first come first served basis, as conference space remains available.

 

1. A Review of SSEP Program Pedagogy

When designing SSEP, we had our pedagogical approach to STEM education in mind. SSEP empowers the student as scientist, and within the real-world context of science that is far more than exploration through inquiry. SSEP allows student teams to design an experiment like scientists, with real constraints imposed by the experimental apparatus, current knowledge, and the environment in which the experiment will be conducted; it allows students to propose for a real flight opportunity like professional scientists, bringing critical written communications skills to bear; it allows students to experience a real 2-step science proposal review process; it allows students to go through a real flight safety review like professional researchers; and it provides students their own science conference, where they are immersed in their community of researchers, communicating their thoughts, ideas, and experimental results to their peers. Science is more than a way of thinking and interacting with the natural world. Science is more than a book of knowledge. Science is also a complex social landscape filled with challenges, and the need for multi-faceted and successful communication with ones peers. SSEP is about introducing real science to our next generation of scientists and engineers.

 

2. Conference Opportunities and Expectations

The main objective for the conference is to provide student teams a venue to report on their SSEP research, which, for each team, is reflected in the design of a microgravity experiment to assess some facet of nature. Reporting is done through both oral and poster presentations, which is precisely what researchers do at professional science conferences.

Important Expectation: all students attending the conference that were part of SSEP experiment design teams shall present, either individually or as part of a team, an oral PowerPoint presentation in the conference venue (the Moving Beyond Earth gallery), and a poster version of their PowerPoint to the visiting public (in the Space Race gallery). Each Team will be assigned a time for their oral presentation on one of the Conference days, but will be presenting their poster on both Conference days. 

Each presentation at the SSEP National Conference should include the science addressed by the experiment and why, the essential question that drove experiment definition, and the design of the experiment, including procedures for analysis of results (e.g. comparison to a ground truth experiment.)

For student teams that:

a. did not have their experiment selected for flight, the presentation should report on their ground truth experimental results, and possible hypotheses as to what they might have found if the experiment were done on orbit and why.

b. had a flight experiment and it returned from orbit well in advance of the conference, presentations should include experiment results.

c. had a flight experiment, but it returned to Earth just in advance of the conference, presentations should include at least preliminary results.

d. have a flight experiment currently on ISS, presentations should include the current state of activities for both on-orbit experiment and ground truth experiments.

Oral Presentations
Oral presentations should be done in PowerPoint, limited to a MAXIMUM of 10 minutes, including 7 minutes for the presentation and 3 minutes for Q&A (there will be a hard cutoff to ensure we remain on schedule – just like professional conferences), and a rule of thumb is to allow for 1 minute per slide, which suggests no more than 7 PowerPoint slides for a single presentation.

Poster Presentations
As part of the Conference experience, we are setting up tables in the Museum’s Space Race Gallery for display board presentations by the student teams. The idea is to give the students the honor of interacting with the visiting public to the most visited museum on the planet and talk about their SSEP experiments.

The most straightforward way to create your poster presentation is to print in color, and on good quality paper, your PowerPoint slides and then tape them to the display boards. We will make available a 36 x 48 inch display board and a table for each presentation team. Remember the rule of thumb is that a 7-minute PowerPoint should be associated with no more than 7 PowerPoint slides (or 1 per minute), which will fit on the display board.

To get a sense of both the oral presentations in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery, and the poster presentations in the Space Race gallery, see video highlights of the 2011 conference at the Annual SSEP National Conference main page.

Important Notes:

  • Program Information: In advance of the conference, NCESSE will ask each student team to provide information on their presentation, including: title, the names of researchers on the team, school and grade level, and a description of the presentation.
  • Photo-Releases: We are video-archiving the conference, with video clips to be posted on YouTube. A signed photo-release from all attendees is therefore essential. In advance of the conference, ALL attendees will need to email a signed photo-release form, allowing video-taping by the Smithsonian. Anyone without a signed photo-release form on file cannot be admitted to the conference site. Photo-release forms will be sent to the community leadership in those communities sending SSEP delegations to the conference.
  • Bring a Back-up PowerPoint: All presenters are required to email their PowerPoint presentations to NCESSE no later than midnight EDT, Friday, June 22. However, make sure to bring with you to the Museum a backup of your PowerPoint presentation on a thumb drive.
  • Banner: Remember that for your PowerPoint and poster, you have access to a high resolution SSEP Program banner at: http://ssep.ncesse.org/links/.
  • Food: Attendees are on their own for lunch in the area, and no food or drink can be brought into the Museum. Note that the Museum has a McDonalds.
  • Museum Fees: Entry to the Museum is free but the IMAX films, planetarium shows,, and simulator have a fee.
  • Arrival: Please arrive at the Independence Avenue entrance to the Museum each day.

 

3.  Conference Cost

NCESSE and NASM recognize that conference travel costs for attendees are significant, and in the midst of tough economic times.

Professional conferences are always associated with registration fees to cover AV, room rental, and the significant staff time for logistics and program delivery. That said, both NCESSE and NASM have worked hard to minimize conference costs, and have then absorbed these costs in their operating budgets. We do not want to add to the burden for attendees, and feel a memorable and very real research conference at the Museum—for students taking part in this ground-breaking U.S. National STEM education initiative—is something we wanted to do without cost.

We are looking forward to your arrival in the Nation’s Capital, and our get-together as an SSEP family.

 

4. SSEP National Conference Schedule

Day 1 – July 2 (Monday)

8:45
Arrival at Museum

9:00-9:20
Welcome Keynote Address in Milestones of Flight Gallery
Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Present, and Inspiring the Future:
Human Exploration, the Journey Continues
Jeff Goldstein, Center Director, SSEP National Program Director
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)

9:20-10:00
Magical Time in the Most Visited Museum on Earth BEFORE the Visiting Public Arrives
The Museum’s east side first floor will be open, including major galleries, and the How Things Fly interactive gallery. The Museum’s Education Division will have Explainers on hand, and educators conducting programs at Discovery Stations.

10:05-12:20
Morning in Moving Beyond Earth Gallery

10:05-10:15
AV Orientation – Filming and Procedures
Paul Griffith, NASM

10:15-10:30
Introductions and Orientation
Jeff Goldstein, NCESSE
Michael Hulslander, NASM
Harri Vanhala, NCESSE

10:30-11:00
Oral 1: Team 1 from San Marino, CA
Oral 2: Team 1 from Presidio, TX
Oral 3: Team 1 from Ida County, IA

11:00-11:20
Break

11:20-11:35
Featured Presentation 1
In the Light of a Watery Moon
Dr. Timothy Livengood
Assistant Research Scientist, University of Maryland
Adjunct Space Science Researcher, NCESSE

11:35-12:05
Oral 4: Team from West Hills, CA
Oral 5: Team from Charles County, MD
Oral 6: Team from Fitchburg, MA

12:05 -12:20
Featured Presentation 2
Navigating SSEP Experiments from Selection to Flight
Dr. Harri Vanhala, Deputy Director
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)

12:20-1:30
Lunch

1:30-3:00
Poster Presentations by Student Teams to Museum Visitorship in Space Race Gallery

3:00-5:00
Free Time to Explore Museum

 

Day 2 – July 3 (Tuesday)

8:45
Arrival at Museum

9:00-9:20
Welcome Address in Milestones of Flight Gallery
Robotic Explorers of the Solar System
Dr. James Zimbelman, Geologist
Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS)
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM)

9:20-10:00
More Magical Time in the Most Visited Museum on Earth BEFORE the Visiting Public Arrives
Attendees explore the Exploring the Planets Gallery, which includes an engineering model of the Voyager spacecraft and a meteorite from Mars.

10:05-12:20
Morning in Moving Beyond Earth Gallery

10:05-10:15
AV Orientation – Filming and Procedures
Paul Griffith, NASM

10:15-10:20
Orientation for the Conference Day  

10:20-10:35
Featured Presentation 3
Spaceflight and American Culture
Dr. Roger Launius, Senior Curator
Division of Space History
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM)
Chief Historian, 1990-2002, NASA

10:35-11:15
Oral 7: Team 2 from Presidio, TX
Oral 8: Team 2 from San Marino, CA
Oral 9: Team 2 from Ida County, IA 

Oral 10: Team from El Paso, TX

11:15-11:35
Break

11:35-11:50
Featured Presentation 4
Discovery: Champion of the Space Shuttle Era
Jennifer K. Levasseur, Museum Specialist
Division of Space History
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM)

11:50-12:20
Oral 11: Team 3 from San Marino, CA
Oral 12: Team from Lake County, IN
Oral 13: Bridgewater-Raritan, NJ

12:20-12:30
Wrap Up in Moving Beyond Earth Gallery
Parting Thoughts

12:30-1:40
Lunch

1:40-1:50
Getting Situated for Poster Presentations

1:50-2:50
Poster Presentations by Student Teams to Museum Visitorship in Space Race Gallery

1:50-2:50
SSEP De-Brief Meeting with Community Program Directors (CPDs) and Teacher Facilitators
NASM Briefing Room

2:50-3:50
Optional NASM Demos and Tours

3:50-5:00
Free Time to Explore Museum

 

5. Featured Presentation Descriptions

Welcome Keynote, Milestones of Flight Gallery, Day 1
Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Present, and Inspiring the Future:
Human Exploration the Journey Continues
Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Center Director [Bio]
SSEP National Program Director
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)

We live in a moment in time. It’s the place where the accomplishments of those that came before us meet up with what will be undertaken by future generations. It’s a great place to be, especially if you’re part of the future generation. By learning about the past both in terms of what we know and how we’ve come to know it, and talking to those that work on the frontiers right now, you can choose to shape the future. It’s pretty powerful stuff. Standing on the shoulders of past generations, YOU are now the link between the past and future of human exploration.

Some essays you might read as a family in advance of the Keynote:

The National Air and Space Museum: A celebration of human dreams of flight in air and space.

The Nature of Our ExistenceCelebrating what we know of Earth in a greater space—and that we can know it.

What was it like to live through the flight of Apollo 11—the most historic voyage in the history of the human race?
Yesterday’s Launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Brings Back Memories of Apollo 11

What is it like to meet your hero? What is the nature of human exploration?
An Apollo 11 Personal Story


Welcome Address, Milestones of Flight Gallery, Day 2

Robotic Explorers of the Solar System
Dr. James Zimbelman, Geologist [Bio]
Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS)
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

Since the beginning of the space age, robotic emissaries have left the Earth to be our “eyes, ears, and noses” throughout the Solar System. Several of the pioneering spacecraft are represented in the Milestones of Flight gallery at NASM, and many others can be found throughout the museum. This presentation will review some of the highlights of the past several decades of robotic explorers, and how their results have steadily changed (and improved) our understanding of the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids visited by our spacecraft.


Featured Presentation 1

In the Light of a Watery Moon
Dr. Timothy Livengood [Bio]
Assistant Research Scientist, University of Maryland
Adjunct Space Science Researcher, NCESSE

The Moon is a fact of life on Earth that is difficult to ignore, our cosmic neighbor and closest companion in the vastness of space. Over the past half-century, technological and human curiosity have changed the Moon from a mysterious and unreachable celestial object into a destination and a convenient Rosetta Stone to decode the past and the future of the Solar System. The Moon has always held a watery significance in its relationship to the Earth’s ocean tides, which were systematized by Galileo and made explainable through Newton’s discovery of universal gravitation. Direct human exploration of the Moon itself, however, appeared to show an airless and stupendously dry place without the slightest hint of water. The Moon is still airless — that part is accurate — but discoveries over the past twenty years suggest that the Moon may be more moist than we thought, with water subtly shaping the lunar surface and possibly providing resources to support future exploration of the Moon or other airless rocks in space.


Featured Presentation 2
Navigating SSEP Experiments from Selection to Flight
Dr. Harri Vanhala, Deputy Director [Bio]
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)

While the student teams have worked hard to design their experiments and write their proposals to secure their selection for flight, more work remains before the experiments can take off. During the weeks between the selection of an experiment and its flight in microgravity, the student teams must finalize their experiment details to the point where they are able to pass the formal flight safety review by NASA Toxicology, conduct tests to refine their design, and prepare their mini-laboratory for flight. All these activities require continuous communication between the experiment teams, the SSEP National Team at NCESSE, NanoRacks and NASA, and even more discussions are required to prepare the experiments for flight behind the scenes. This presentation will describe the various steps required to navigate the path of a student experiment from selection to flight.


Featured Presentation 3

Spaceflight and American Culture
Dr. Roger Launius, Senior Curator [Bio]
Division of Space History
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM)
Chief Historian, 1990-2002, NASA

Originally presented to the National Research Council, this presentation addresses the sweep of the history of the space age and prospects for the future. It discusses the origins of NASA, the structure of space exploration, and the challenges presently in place as we transition from the Space Shuttle to a new launch vehicle for human flight.


Featured Presentation 4

Discovery: Champion of the Space Shuttle Era
Jennifer K. Levasseur, Museum Specialist [Bio]
Division of Space History
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM)

As the Space Shuttle program came to an end, the Museum requested and NASA granted transfer of Orbiter Vehicle 103 Discovery into the National Collection as an American treasure. This orbiter is now prominently displayed at the Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport, carrying out its new mission to commemorate, educate, and inspire. Why Discovery instead of another orbiter? The space shuttle curator will discuss how Discovery aligns with the Museum’s mission to preserve and display the most significant artifacts in the history of flight.

 

6. Oral Presentations

Oral 1. San Marino, California, Team 1

San Marino High School, San Marino Unified School District
Grade levels of Team: 10

Title: Effect of Microgravity on the Antibacterial Resistance of P. aeruginosa

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 1 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Martin Liu
Co-Investigators: Kristie Liu, Ryan Puri, and William Tam
Teacher Facilitator: Jo Carmona

Abstract: By growing two bacterial cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, we investigate the effects of microgravity on the antibacterial resistance of bacteria. With help from Oaks Crest Institute in Pasadena, CA, we believe that microgravity will play a difference in the resistance to common antibiotics. Based on past studies, a higher resistance is expected.

 

Oral 2. Presidio, Texas, Team 1

Presidio High School, Presidio Independent School District
Grade levels of Team: 12

Title: The Effect of Microgravity on the Growth and pH of Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 2 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Illiana Fernandez and Alvaro Ali Romero
Co-Investigator: Rafael Sanchez
Teacher Facilitator: Melody Crowder

Abstract: Presidio High School students are investigating how microgravity affects the growth rate of Lactobacillus acidophilus. Our hypothesis is that microgravity will affect the division and pH of L. acidophilus and the growth rate of the bacteria will slow down. Results will determine need for issuance of probiotics and fermented dairy products in order for astronauts to maintain a healthy digestive system.

 

Oral 3. Ida County, Iowa, Team 1

Ridge View High School
Grade levels of Team: 9 – 12

Title: How does Microgravity affect the maximum cell size of Tardigrades?

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, SSEP on STS-135

Co-Principal Investigators: Dana Hustedt and Gretchen Kistenmacher
Co-Investigators: Isaac Jepsen, Taylor Radke, Austin Hayden, Michael Perrett, and Jacob Biddle
Teacher Facilitators: Patty Wheeler and Art Witten

Abstract: The purpose of this experiment was to see how microgravity would affect the cell size of tardigrades, commonly referred to as “water bears”. We will do this by sending up a group of tardigrades and sufficient food supply for them to feast upon. We hope to detect any significant growth difference between the microgravity specimens and earth bound specimens. Any cell size difference would support the idea of microgravity having some effect on the cells.

 

Oral 4. West Hills, California

Chaminade College Preparatory
Grade levels of Team: 9 and 10

Title: Microgravity Wine

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 1 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Max Holden and Paige D’Andrea
Teacher Facilitator: Nancy McIntyre

Abstract: The student investigators from the Chaminade College Preparatory and the Medtronic Foundation studied the effects of microgravity on the rate of Carbon Dioxide production during alcoholic fermentation of grape juice. The student team prepared samples that would run concurrently on the International Space Station and in our lab in West Hills, California. The team believes that the grape juice in microgravity will ferment faster producing more carbon dioxide.

 

Oral 5. Charles County, Maryland

Henry E. Lackey High School, Charles County Public Schools
Grade level of Team: 11

Title: Physiological effects of microgravity and increased levels of Radiation on wild type and genetically engineered Caenorhabditis elegans

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 1 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Paul Warren
Teacher Facilitators: Lara North and Romulo Gabriel

Abstract: I am heading a team comprised of scientists from the National Institutes of Health, the University of Nottingham, JAXA, and Tohoku University to investigate the effects of microgravity and increased levels of radiation on a daf-mutated strain of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. The mutation extends lifespan up to one hundred per cent on Earth. We will look at lifespan, reproductive strength, muscle defects, genomics, and proteomics for data analysis.

 

Oral 6. Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District
Grade level: 11

Title: The Growth Rate of Lactobacillus acidophilus in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, SSEP on STS-135

Co-principal Investigators: Victoria Holbert, Leighton Noel, Kayla Nolette, and Miguel Velez
Teacher Facilitator: Paula.deDiego

Abstract: Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria is one of the main causes of tooth decay. The bacteria combine with proteins in the oral cavity to form plaque. The bacteria excrete lactic acid which dissolve the calcium and enamel on the teeth in the mouth. This process results in tooth decay.

We tested the growth rate of Lactobacillus acidophilus and determined whether they have an accelerated reproduction rate in microgravity. Analysis implies the growth rate is faster in microgravity.

 

Oral 7. Presidio, Texas, Team 2

Lucy Rede Franco Middle School, Presidio Independent School District
Grade levels of Team: 7

Title: Chemical Analysis of the Effect of Gravity on Capsicum chinense ‘Habanero’

Type of Experiment: Honorable Mention Finalist, Mission 2 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Lisa Marie Pena
Co-Investigators: Juan Nieto and Vanessa Rohanna
Collaborators: Alma Baeza and Maxwell Ferguson
Teacher Facilitator: Ernesto Monte

Abstract: When it comes to living in space, taste has become a unifying element that transcends cultures and boundaries. Studies also show that chili can provide a variety of medicinal or health benefits that range from relieving pain to fighting cancer. In this experiment, we will conduct a chemical analysis of Capsicum chinense ‘Habanero’ after its exposure to two different gravitational conditions. The goal is to quantify the effect of microgravity on its chemical content.

 

Oral 8. San Marino, California, Team 2

San Marino High School, San Marino Unified School District
Grade levels of Team: 10

Title: Fibroblast Division in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Honorable Mention Finalist, Mission 1 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Jennifer Jiang, Jasmine Kuo, and Kara Lukas
Co-Investigator: Natasha Garamani
Collaborator: Elyssia Widjaja
Teacher Facilitator: Wyeth Collo

Abstract: The purpose of our experiment is to observe the effect of microgravity on cell division and to compare the rates of cell division in the absence and presence of gravity. We have chosen fibroblasts for this experiment. The cells will be exposed to microgravity as they proliferate; simultaneously, an identical experiment will be held to serve as a control. After the experiment’s completion, we will compare the results with those of the control experiment.

 

Oral 9. Ida County, Iowa, Team 2

OA-BCIG High School, Odebolt Arthur – Battle Creek Ida Grove Community School District
Grade levels of Team: 9-12

Title: Killifish in Space

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 1 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Jessica Gunderson
Co-Investigators: Brittanie Rigby, Austin Sadler, and Justin Sadler
Teacher Facilitator: Carol Sadler

Abstract: Our team sent dormant Killifish eggs on the SpaceX Dragon. After settling on the ISS, these eggs will be rehydrated. When results are in, we will be able to tell if the bone and muscle mass of the fish had been affected, being micro-gravity’s pulling force is no where comparable to Earth’s gravity. Another part of this testing, since these fish have kidneys, would be able to tell if, even for such a small species, these animals have kidney stones. This testing will help with the health of humans.

 

Oral 10. El Paso, Texas

El Paso Community College Transmountain Campus (EPCC)
Grade levels of Team: College Sophomore

Title: The Effect of Microgravity on the Use of Cactus Mucilage for Water Purification

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 1 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Naiqui Armendariz and Jesus Castor
Collaborators: Dr. Maria Arteaga, Professor of Chemistry, El Paso Community College, Transmountain Campus; Dr. Bencomo-Álvarez Alfonso Enrique, Laboratory technician of molecular-microbiology diagnostics, Centro de investigación biomédica de occidente, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México; Dr. Norma A. Alcantar, Associate Professor, Dept. of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering, University of South Florida
Teacher Facilitator: Dr. Gertrud Konings-Dudin, Assistant Professor of Biology, El Paso Community College, Transmountain Campus

Abstract: Opuntia mucilage has been shown to effectively remove chromium and other metals from contaminated water, which makes it useful as a natural flocculating agent. The flocculation process is caused by interaction of the positive metal ions with the anionic polyelectrolyte, the mucilage. Since charged particles easily agglomerate in microgravity, we expect the purification process to work in space. After removal of the mucilage, the chromium content of the remaining solution is measured with a spectrophotometer.

 

Oral 11. San Marino, California, Team 3

San Marino High School, San Marino Unified School District
Grade levels of Team: 9

Title: The Effects of Space Conditions on the Growth and Catabolic Actions of the Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus

Type of Experiment: Honorable Mention Finalist, Mission 1 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Mark Liang
Co-Investigators: Lauren Thai, Sara Wong, Mitchell Hee, Nick Truong, and Elizabeth O’Neill
Teacher Facilitator: Wyeth Collo

Abstract: Students investigated the process of growth in Oyster Mushroom, and uses in microgravity. Studies were conducted to observe mycelium growth on agar plates, placed under the variables found in space (lack of gas exchange, low temperature, etc). Cultures were also placed in rye grain containers to test catabolic action of fungi on organic material, and fruiting discrepancies because of space conditions. Practical use was observed in the fungi’s ability to compete with mold and bacteria.

 

Oral 12. Lake County, Indiana

Avicenna Academy of Avicenna Academy Science Community Collaboration
Grade levels of team: 5-7

Title: Effect of Microgravity on Reproduction of Curli Producing E. coli O157:H7 438950R

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 1 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Amalia Arceo-Hosken
Collaborators: Jenna Rifai, Ameer Rifai, and Rehan Uribe
Teacher Facilitator: Nicole Gustafson

Abstract: A student team from Avicenna Academy studied the curli-producing capability of E. coli O157:H7 438950R. They designed an experiment to be carried out on the International Space Station that will determine the effect of microgravity on the little hair-like extensions on the outside of the bacteria. These curli are not manifested in each generation, but serve to aid in the bacteria’s ability to produce biofilm which increase the pathogenicity of the organism.

 

Oral 13. Bridgewater-Raritan, New Jersey

Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District
Grade levels of Team: 11-12

Title: Effect of Microgravity on Osteoblast Specialization and Bone Growth

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, SSEP on STS-135

Co-Principal Investigators: 
Joseph Avenoso, Adam Elwood, and Alex Belly
Co-Investigators: Rotem Herzberg, Gage Cane-Wissing, and Tejas Patel
Collaborators: Dr. Chris Fritton, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Teacher Facilitator: Dr. Jorge L. Valdes

Abstract: Bridgewater-Raritan School District students investigated a possible solution to bone loss in space. The experiment consists of using human growth hormone to help grow mouse osteoblasts in DMEM, a type of agar solution. Students collaborated with scientists from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ and found that upon return to earth several bone cells could be resuscitated with oxygen and fresh nutrients. These results are consistent with previous experiments conducted by NASA.

 

7. Hotel

The hotel we are recommending for the Conference is the Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol. It is just 2 blocks from the National Air and Space Museum.

For July 1-5:

1) rack rates from the Web (the hotel’s published full price for a room), not including DC sales tax, currently 14.5%:

  • Best price: $222.49/night with advance purchase (prepaid for the whole stay)
  • Best flexible: $249.99/night (no cancelation penalty until the night before)
  • AAA rate (same as flexible but must have an AAA card): $239.99/night

2) The hotel has made a “courtesy block” for NCESSE:

  • Rate is $189.00 per night. This rate does not include DC sales tax, currently 14.5%.
  • Description of the courtesy blocks provided by the hotel:
    You may begin booking reservations directly on line by clicking on the weblink below. You may also make reservations by calling 1800 HOLIDAY and referencing booking code S8E. Credit card information is needed at time of reservation. Individual cancellation policy is 72 hours prior to date of arrival to avoid one night’s room plus tax cancellation charge on credit card provided. Please call 1-800 HOLIDAY and reference your confirmation number. Please obtain a cancellation number when cancelling a reservation. Deadline date to make reservation is Friday, June 1, 2012. Reservation requests received after the deadline date will be subject to availability and prevailing rate. Click here for Web link for reservations.
  • Note that this is a busy weekend at the hotel, so it is best to make your reservation early, and definitely by the reservation deadline to take advantage of this special rate

Note that the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is just two blocks from the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station, so there are many other hotels in the metro DC area that are a short metro trip away from the conference site. If the conference hotel sells out, or you’re interested in finding a lower lodging rate than the ones quoted above, the museum is just a metro trip away.

Hotel rates further away from downtown DC may be significantly lower, so you may want to check hotels close to metro stops in the metro DC area. The yellow, green, orange, and blue metro lines stop at the L’Enfant Plaza metro station, and you can transfer easily to these lines from the red metro line, as well. For example, there are many hotels near Crystal City and King Street yellow and blue line metro stations, as well as along the orange line metro stops in Arlington (Court House and points west.) There are also many hotels along red line metro stops in Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Rockville, and Silver Spring. To look for lower lodging rates near metro stops in the area, we recommend you use a hotel search engine or booking site of your choice and search around a metro stop that is most convenient for you.

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 NanoRacks LLC, 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.