TC Students Launch Experiment Into Space

Jan 15, 2014

Northern Michigan high school students have had their work launched into space on Sunday. NASA astronauts will conduct their experiment on the International Space Station.

Three Traverse City West High School students won a contest.

Haley Dole, a junior, was one of the three students who created the experiment.

“It was surprising at first,” Haley said. “I didn’t expect it at all because there were a lot of kids in the contest. And then, it was really exciting.”

The students designed a mini-lab for astronauts to grow skin bacteria in space and then kill it with antibiotics. The girls will do the same thing on earth at the same time to see if gravity affects bacteria. The goal is to see if bacteria affects the human body the same way in space. 

Haley went with her chemistry and physics teacher, Patrick Gillespie, to see the launch of the spacecraft in Virginia last week.

“I didn’t know what to expect and it made it a lot more real,” Haley said.

Traverse City West High School is the only school in Michigan to participate in the contest, the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

Katherine Martin, public affairs specialist at NASA, says the goal is to engage students: “The importance is that it gets them excited about science and technology and gets them on a path that leads them to making a difference in the world.”

Haley says she’s more interested in science and will now consider a career in science, maybe even space.

The group’s experiment will return to earth in March.