NASA launches Rocky experiment

[USA] An experiment that started with high school students could have the potential to revolutionize how astronauts get oxygen on the International Space Station.

Rocky Mountain College now runs the project, and its experiment launched Friday afternoon.

Three years ago, students at Central High School came up with an idea of growing algae in space.

Since oxygen has to be hauled to the space station,  the students thought the algae could turn carbon dioxide into oxygen.

The one kilogram four by four by six inch box went into space aboard the Space X-7, Falcon 9, Dragon X rocket, which NASA launched..

This is the second attempt to launch the project. The rocket used in June of last year exploded and never made it to the space station.

The box contains three small plastic jars with algae in agar, temperature sensor,  grow lights, a camera and a memory card.

Rocky professor Dr. Andy Wildenberg is the advisor for he project and expects that the the algae will grow at zero gravity the same as it does on earth.

“This is a very very exciting thing for us,” Wildenberg said. “We’ve been working on this for three and a half years. NASA spends a lot of  money bringing oxygen up to the international space station. If this works, it could lead to a filter that converts carbon dioxide back into oxygen in space, so that should lower the cost of space travel for the future.”

The project will arrive at the space station in two days and will be a 21-day experiment.

Wildenberg says Rocky students will study the data and the bottles after the box is returned.


View original article at: NASA launches Rocky experiment

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