When the Space-X cargo ship named “Dragon” docked with the International Space Station on Wednesday, a group of students at Einstein Middle School in Shoreline were waiting with baited breath.
That’s because their science experiment is on board and ready to be tested by the astronauts.
Jack Parkinson, Aden Helland, Matthew McMillman, Tuguldur Myagmarsuren and Dylan Probizanski, now seventh graders, worked on this experiment last year as sixth graders at Highland Terrace Elementary.
They designed an experiment, with the help of their teacher, Peggy Nordwall, and scientist-mentor, Jacqui Rublee, about crystal growth and impurities in microgravity.
Their experiment was chosen over two other experiments from Shoreline eighth graders.
The students demonstrated how their experiment works.
“In one, we have a copper solution. In the other, we have alum seed crystals that we have previously grown. And in the large tube, we put an alum solution,” explained Probizanski. “So when these two glass tubes break, the alum and the copper will mix with the alum solution.”
It’s a simple experiment with huge implications. If the crystals remain pure in microgravity, “it means you can use it for super conductors and semi conductors,” said Parkinson.
“Interestingly, the studies done on crystals that have been done on microgravity are biological crystals, but there haven't been any done on inorganic crystals,” said Rublee.
Now that the hard work is over, the waiting begins.
The cargo ship is scheduled to return in three weeks with the experiment. Once it does, the students will compare the results to the same experiment on the ground.