Glen Hills students send experiments to NASA

GLENDALE, Wis. – Glen Hills High School students are getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by sending several experiments to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

What you need to know

  • Glen Hills Middle School STEM students sent experiments to NASA testing CO2 in microgravity and a nanogenerator
  • Students also use the ExoLab to test plant growth in lunar soil
  • Glen Hills teacher Lalitha Murali said she wants her students to see that their contributions are valuable while also exploring the opportunities a career in STEM can provide

Elena Johansen, an eighth-grade student, placed a piece of aluminum foil and a small bead into a plastic eggshell.

She said she hopes it could serve as a nanogenerator in space.

“I think having something on hand that can generate electricity, even if it’s just a small, reusable source, could potentially be useful,” Johansen said.

Johansen said they are also using ExoLab to see how plants respond to lunar soil.

(Spectrum News 1/Phillip Boudreaux)

“Astronauts on the ISS (International Space Station) will need this type of food, especially if we have some sort of lunar civilization,” Johansen said. “One of these civilizations needs some kind of sustainable food production.”

Johansen’s classmate, Philippe Geli, works with a device designed to detect the effects of CO2 in microgravity.

“We are focusing on CO2, which is denser than air, and this will be a problem for astronauts on the ISS because too much CO2 can lead to certain death,” Geli said.

NASA gave Glen Hills teacher Lalitha Murali a chance to try out a microgravity experiment.

She said she wants her students to see that their contributions are valuable while also exploring the opportunities that a career in STEM can provide.

“What a great opportunity for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students to see their idea come to life and how it will help our future astronauts,” Murali said. “Even thinking about it gives me goosebumps, and thanks to them I had the opportunity to fly in zero gravity and they were able to see their experiment in action.”

(Courtesy: Lalitha Murali)

It’s something Geli won’t forget because he said he wanted to be an astronaut.

“You know, doing something that helps with space really helps my career,” Geli said.

Johansen said she had a vision of becoming an environmental engineer.

“I’m someone who really likes a challenge, problem-solving, and something to look at and explore, but also find a creative way to solve it myself,” she said.

They said these experiments motivated them even more to one day pursue a career in STEM.

Murali said three students from Glen Hills will also travel to Virginia June 17-20 to watch the rocket launch.