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CREC Two Rivers Middle School Students Visit Iowa State University for Insight on Space-Bound Algae

(East Hartford, CT) A group of eighth graders from CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, whose algae experiment will fly into space this summer, visited Iowa State University recently to get some insight from algae experts.

The students toured the campus and visited the Center for Crops Utilization Research facility to learn more about the work that ISU is doing with bio renewable resources for fuel.

"The trip was an incredible opportunity for the students to experience a real world application of science research. They not only got a feel for the precision needed to conduct experiments, but they also got a better sense of just how broad the fields of science and engineering are," said Kennan Poulakos, Environmental Theme coach at CREC Two Rivers Middle School.

The students’ experiment, "How does microgravity affect algae growth?” was selected to fly aboard a SpaceX-12 rocket to the International Space Station in late summer of 2017. The students are among 21 groups whose experiment will fly as part of Mission 11 of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

The students connected with Dr. Martin Gross at ISU while researching algae for their experiment. Dr. Gross agreed to help the students and flew them to Iowa for a dry run and to show them the innovative programs that ISU does with bio renewables, especially with corn and ethanol production.

Of the five students who worked on the experiment, three of them made the trip to Iowa: Jack McCann of Vernon, Angel Soto of East Hartford, and Kieran Yanaway of South Windsor.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) 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.

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