SSEP Mission 1 Researcher Ryan Puri, San Marino, CA, interviewed at KSC Press Site, May 19, 2012, Click for Zoom

For those following along, the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and NanoRacks are reporting that Station Commander Suni Williams carried out all scheduled Crew Interaction Activities for day A+3 at 11:15 am EDT, October 14. One experiment was activated, three de-activated, and two shaken.

The SSEP Mission 2 to ISS: Experiment Log was updated yesterday to reflect these activities.

Imagine this: Yesterday, Felix Baumgartner set the record for the highest parachute jump, from an altitude of 128,097 ft or 24.26 miles. That’s an altitude equivalent to 4.4 Mt. Everests one on top of the other.  He was in fact 40% of the way to “Outer Space”. At maximum speed, he was traveling at 834 mph, or 1/4 mile per second. That’s fast enough to almost cover the height of the Empire State Building every second.

Now let’s compare these numbers to the International Space Station – the location of the SSEP experiments payloads. Right now ISS is at at altitude of 250.4 miles. That’s 10.3 times higher than Felix’s jump point, and is the altitude equivalent of 45 Mt. Everests one on top of the other. ISS is orbiting the Earth at 17,150 mph, or 4.8 miles per second – so the astronauts are traveling so fast around Earth that they travel – in 1 second – a distance equivalent to 17 Empire State Buildings laying down end-to-end. To all flight experiment teams and mission patch designers, when your experiments and mission patches are returned to you, consider where they have been.

An almost final cool thought: in the time it takes you to read this one sentence, you will be 100 miles from where you started as you and your Earth orbit the Sun.

A final cool thought: in the time it takes you to read this one sentence, you will be 700 miles from where you started as your Solar System orbits the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

As reported, three experiments were de-activated on schedule on Crew Interaction Day (A+3), and are therefore now complete. The experiments are listed below:

1. Mission 1 to ISS experiment from San Marino, California:

Effect of Microgravity on the Antibacterial Resistance of P. aeruginosa
Grade 10; San Marino High School
Principal Investigator: Martin Liu
Co-Investigators: Kristie Liu, Ryan Puri, and William Tam 
Teacher Facilitator: Joseph Kealoha Carmona, Biological Sciences

Proposal Summary:
Throughout human history, bacteria and disease have been prevalent in every civilization. Modern medicine took its largest leap with the discovery of the first safe antibiotic: penicillin. As the world’s nations begin eyeing the depths of the final frontier, they must ensure the safety of the pioneers sent into space. Aboard the Apollo 13 mission, Fred Haise was infected by bacteria known asPseudomonas aeruginosa, which survived in the water tanks aboard the space shuttle. P. aeruginosa is capable of living in nutrient deprived places, like dirt and distilled water, and is deadly to those with compromised immune systems. Its deadliness is not scientists’ only concern; P. aeruginosa is resistant to many common antibacterial agents, penicillin being one of them. Now that space travel is becoming more common, we must take more precaution to ensure the safety of our astronauts from the smallest of killers. By growing two samples of P. aeruginosa, one in space and one under the influence of gravity, and submitting both to various antibiotics, we are able to measure the antibacterial resistance of both cultures. The zones of inhibition, where the bacteria are unable to grow due to the antibacterial agent, accurately show how resistant P. aeruginosa is to each antibiotic. Any variation in the zones of inhibition of the same antibiotic between cultures would be due to any changes that occurred in the bacteria’s resistance when grown in space.

2. Mission 1 to ISS experiment from West Hills, California:

Microgravity Wine
Grades 9 and 10; Chaminade College Preparatory
Co-Principal Investigators: Max Holden and Paige D’ Andrea
Teacher Facilitators: Nancy McIntyre, Eric Esby

Proposal Summary:
Our experiment will be testing the speed of fermentation when it is exposed to microgravity. When something is in microgravity it is in a constant free fall, so it will constantly be moving the solution of grape juice and yeast. When the sugar in the grape juice is mixed with the yeast it will begin to ferment due to lack of oxygen when it ferments it will produce ethyl alcohol and Carbon Dioxide. The microgravity will constantly be moving the cells in the solution, which we think will either speed up of slow down the process of fermentation. We will be testing the fermentation by using a titration rating, which will measure the amount of dissolved Carbon dioxide in the solution. By finding the titration rating we will be able to see if the one in an environment with gravity or the one in an environment without gravity produced more Carbon Dioxide. Whichever solution gave off more Carbon Dioxide is the one that fermented faster than the other.

3. Mission 1 to ISS experiment from Lake County, Indiana:

Effect of Microgravity on Reproduction of Curli Producing E. coli O157:H7 438950R
Grade 7; Avicenna Academy
Principal Investigator: Amalia Arceo-Hosken
Collaborators: Ameer Rifai, Jenna Rifai, and Rehan Uribe
Teacher Facilitator: Nicole Gustafson, Teacher

Proposal Summary:
In 1885, Theodor Escherich, a German pediatrician, first discovered Bacterium coli communeand in the solid wastes of healthy people. Eventually the species name was changed to reflect the man who discovered the bacteria, hence Escherichia coli. This experiment will be testing the effect of microgravity on reproduction of curli producing E. coli O157:H7 438950R. E. coli O157:H7 438950R is one of the E. coli strains that produce Curli. Curli are little things that stick out on the outside that help them stick together and help them when they attack other cells. This experiment will determine if microgravity has an effect on the production and/or expression of E. coli O157:H7 438950R‘s curli. With the future of space exploration focused on colonization of other planets, it’s important to know how disease-causing bacteria will act in different gravity.

Co-Investigator Ryan Puri, now in 11th grade, was down at Kennedy Space Center representing his experiment team – Principal Investigator Martin Liu, and fellow Co-Investigators Kristie Liu and William Tam – when their experiment first launched in May 2012 on the first flight of the Mission 1 payload. Ryan was one of the SSEP Student Researchers at the NASA press site and was interviewed by NASA. Future American researcher Dr. Ryan Puri is pictured above at the press site.

We invite you to spread the word to students, teachers, family members, and organizational stakeholders. To follow SSEP, folks can subscribe to this blog for email notifications of new posts. Anyone can subscribe at the bottom of the right column on the SSEP home page http://ssep.ncesse.org 

SSEP is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in partnership with NanoRacks LLC. This on-orbit research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

SSEP is the first pre-college STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.


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