When the space shuttle Endeavor launches into space next February, Ballard High School Astronomy students will have an experiment on board. The students want to learn how spaceflight affects a bacterial strain of E. coli.
Students Sarah Culp, Paul Menendez, Danny Thomson, Austin Beetterly, Kevin Day, Katie Kemp, Julian Amrine, Eleuterio Muhs and Avi Silver-Huey have been working with their teacher facilitator Eric Muhs on the experiment.
NASA photo of Shuttle Endeavor
“With our experiment, we hope to learn more about how being in space would affect bacteria,” they wrote in their proposal summary. “We wish to understand more about how the bacteria behave differently while in space and how bacteria might behave differently once they return to Earth when compared the same strain of bacteria from a line that has not experienced space flight.”
The students were just selected last week as to take part in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program which was just launched earlier this year. The STS 134 is the final scheduled flight of the Space Shuttle Program, and it will be the 36th shuttle mission to the International Space Station.