The students of Damien High School are currently engaged in a school-wide competition to design a microgravity experiment that will be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS).
As participants in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), Damien students will learn about microgravity in science classes while working in teams to design research proposals for microgravity experiments. In November, a committee of local scientists will select three Damien research proposals, which will then be submitted to the National Step 2 Review Board for SSEP Mission 13. This Review Board will select one of the three proposed experiments for the Spring/Summer 2019 spaceflight. The chosen Damien experiment will accompany 40 other experiments selected from various schools across the nation, Canada and Brazil.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will ultimately activate the experiment within a specially designed mini-lab while students simultaneously conduct the same experiment on Earth. Damien students will then analyze and evaluate the data from both the Earth-bound and microgravity experiments.
In addition to the science competition, all Damien students are invited to enter a mission patch design competition. The Damien student body will choose the final mission patch, which will best represent the Damien Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.
Damien’s participation in SSEP creates a valuable opportunity to engage students in real-world learning experiences. “As a school, we recognize the need to introduce and support high quality, inquiry based, hands-on science teaching for all our students,” said Charity Maricic, Co-Director of the Damien SSEP. “Through SSEP, we will have the opportunity to let the students become real scientists and partake in real science inquiry.”
The generous donors who enabled Damien’s participation in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program include Dr. Tas Dienes ’88, and the California Space Grant.
The Student Space Flight Experiments Program 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.