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Students aim high in space station experiment

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Sep 18 2012 04:56:19 PM CDT
SPACESTATIONEXPERIMENT
LEBANON, Va. -

Some called it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Southwest Virginia students to talk live with astronauts aboard the International Space Station back in January, but that experience was just the beginning.

The Commonwealth's only school to send an experiment to the space station is right here in our region. The experiment is not only scientific but practical for the space program.

Lebanon High School students are hard at work duplicating an experiment they designed to go aboard the International Space Station. It all began with a chance to talk live with astronauts and scientists aboard back during the winter at the University of Virginia's College at Wise.

"It was so close and so real. Doing this is sort of like I was just replicating that with this experiment. Instead of me going to space, which would be awesome if I could in the future, it's our experiment of going there and going to be there with the people we talked to," senior Diana Odhiambo said.

"It was really unbelievable that we, from such a small school, that we would have this big chance to have our experiment actually flown up into space," junior Mckinna Collins added.

It's really not a complicated experiment but very practical for spacecraft. The students wanted to know -- how long does it take copper and iron to rust in a non-gravity situation?

"We came up with idea on the space station because all of those wires and the technical things that go into sending things up into space. Like how would they be effected by different things that would happen," junior Donna Odhiambo says.

And so one of their experiments will go up in space and the rest stay on Earth with the other schools in the county. "We're sending them a copy of what we're doing and what's going to happen on the space station so that we'll have more of a list of data," junior Jacob Akers said.

As has been said in the last weeks, they're taking "one small step;" and who knows where it will lead?