Twelve secondary pupils from London have become the first youngsters in Europe to have their science experiments launched into space.
The real-life experiments were sent into space earlier this month and are being monitored for 30 days by astronauts on the International Space Station, 220 miles above the Earth’s surface. The astronauts will record their findings and send the results back to NASA.
One experiment will test the effectiveness of antibiotics in space, something that has never been examined before. The other experiment will look at whether slime mould grows in 3D in space due to the lack of gravity. The pupils won the opportunity as part of the International Space School Educational Trust’s 2012 Mission Discovery Programme, held at King’s College London.
They were among 250 secondary pupils who, with guidance from a former astronaut, NASA leaders and scientists from King’s College, designed experiments to be conducted in space. The winning teams were chosen by a panel of judges led by Professor Steve Harridge, director of the Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological Sciences at King’s College London.
The winners have spent the last year turning their projects into workable experiments and were invited to King’s College to watch the launch via a live feed.
Prof Harridge said: “We are delighted to be involved in such a unique initiative, which aims to inspire the next generation of scientists. This has been an excellent opportunity for young people to meet world-leading experts in the field and work on a real-life experiment that will be undertaken on the International Space Station.” CAPTION: Far-out: Students prepare their experiments with support from staff at Kings College London