NASA’s final space shuttle mission is set to launch Friday. A group of Charles County high school students will be there for the historic moment.
“To know our whole group is going down to see our experiment go up on the last space shuttle launch… this is amazing,” said Charlie Campbell, a sophomore.
Their science experiment is one of 11 nationwide selected to soar into space on the space shuttle Atlantis.
“We're going to grow one set of plant seeds here at Lackey and send the other plant seeds down on space shuttle,” said another sophomore, Paul Warren. The expenses of the Florida trip are covered by the Charles County school system.
Science teacher Lara North explains the experiment involves a mustard seed, a common weed. “It's been completely genetically mapped so something we can easily pull up and compare to own,” she said.
“We're going to look at where the root grows. Roots normally grow in direction of gravity but in space no gravity. How is that going to work out?” explains Warren.
“The plants will grow opposite way from shuttle way it's moving,” predicts freshman Sydney Scott.
The seeds will grow in space for 12 days and when the shuttle returns to earth the plants will be closely inspected.
“They're going to be shipped overnight to Richmond University, looked at under scanning electro-microscope kind enough to lend to us,” said Warren.
The students will analyze the results and write a report. They say it's an experience they'll always remember.
“Until now I never thought I'd be getting into anything like this but now it's seeming like a good career choice,” said Campbell.