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Mission Discovery

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Mission Discovery

Mission Discovery is an international education program run for teenagers in many countries around the world. The programme started in 2012 in King's College London, England, UK and has expanded to countries like Australia, USA and India.

Contents

Mission discovery is run and directed by ISSET (International Space School Education Trust) which is a registered UK charity founded in 1998 by Chris Barber. So far there have been 15 successful programs (1 in India, 12 in the UK and 2 in the USA) with more still to come. Each program has given the students the chance to work with inspiring role models while they work as a team, designing experiments that could be carried out on the International Space Station. As part of this program, at least 1 experiment designed by the students is sent to, and carried out on, the International Space Station.

Format

Mission Discovery is a week long event in which the pupils are split into random groups to design an experiment that could be launched into space. During this week the teams are involved in exercises that will develop their leadership, team building, and personal development skills, while also giving them an insight into scientific fields with a relation to space. The pupils will also get talks from various astronauts, scientists and people from fields outside of science, covering topics from biomedical and scientific research done by NASA to the astronaut's experiences in space and what space is like as well as things like public speaking and how to suitably present information. The talks themselves can include topics like what it is like to live in space and how astronauts are actually trained for space travel and living in space. Towards the end of the week, the program is more focused on the design of the student's experiments. The students are given time to design an experiment they believe could work in space and are then tasked with presenting it in both, an informative and interesting way, because to win you don't only need to come up with a good idea, but also convince the judges that the idea is as good as you think it is. On the final day, the pupils present their ideas to other colleagues and mentors as well as different scientists, doctors, and professors from universities. The winning idea has their experiment designed and sent to the International Space Station where astronauts there will carry out experiments.

Experiments

So far there have been 20 different winning experiments. Each of these winning experiments is then further designed with help from researchers and scientists. After a lengthy process of designing the experiment, the winning team is invited to watch the rocket launch carrying their experiment to the International Space Station. These experiments are then carried out by the current astronauts on board the ISS. Depending on the complexity and the issues with the experiments, they normally take up 2 to 3 years to be launched and carried out on board the ISS.

List of Winning Experiments

2012 King's College London, England, UK

  • An experiment to test the effectiveness of antibiotics on E. Coli in space
  • An experiment to examine if slime mold grows in three dimensions in space
  • 2013 King's College London, England, UK

  • An experiment to study Daphnia magna in space
  • An experiment to examine the effect of plant steroids on plant growth in microgravity
  • An experiment to determine whether Saprophytes can degrade food in microgravity
  • 2014 King's College London, England, UK

  • An experiment to determine the impact of microgravity on symptoms of Alzheimer's disease
  • An experiment to compare the rate of Amyloid beta protein aggregation on earth vs in a microgravity environment
  • 2014 Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK

  • An experiment looking at the treatment of Conjunctivitis in space
  • An experiment looking at the carbon dioxide consumption of cacti in microgravity
  • 2014 Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, USA

  • An experiment that looks at Luciferase activity in microgravity
  • 2014 Valparaiso University, USA

  • An experiment examining 3 dimensional applications of electrowetting in microgravity
  • 2015 Cranfield University, UK

  • An experiment testing whether ionic liquids are effective lubricants in microgravity.
  • 2015 Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK

  • An experiment testing the impact of bacterial phages on different types of bacteria.
  • 2015 Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, UK

  • Experiment looking to see whether symbiotic relationships between plants and bacteria are maintained in a microgravity environment
  • 2015 King's College London, England, UK

  • An experiment to see if electricity generating bacteria will increase either the rate or amount of electricity generated in a microgravity environment, compared with the same process on Earth.
  • 2015 Caerphilly, Wales, UK

  • An experiment to determine if probiotic bacteria is the best antiseptic for use in space
  • 2016 Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK

  • An experiment will look at how crops could be grown in space.
  • 2016 Ayrshire, Scotland, UK

  • An experiment to look at whether the surface type of a material affects the speed slime mould could travel in micro gravity.
  • 2016 King's College London, England, UK

  • An experiment assessing the ability of the bacterium Chondromyces Crocatus to form ‘fruiting bodies’ in microgravity.
  • 2016 Shiv Nadar School, India

  • Solving Food Muddle in Space by using the property of cellulase bacteria to convert cellose into glucose.
  • Astronauts

  • Mike Foale
  • Space Time : ~ 374 days in space

    Area of Study : Astrophysicist

    Mission Discoveries attended :

    2014 King’s College London, England, UK

    2015 King's College London, England, UK

    2016 Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK

    2016 Ayrshire, Scotland, UK

    2016 King's College London, England, UK

  • Steven Swanson
  • Space Time : ~ 196 days in space

    Area of Study : Engineer

    Mission Discoveries attended :

    2016 Shiv Nadar School, India

  • Scott Kelly
  • Space Time : ~ 570 days in space

  • Kenneth Ham
  • Space Time : ~ 25 days in space

    Area of Study : Test Pilot

    Mission Discoveries attended :

    2012 King’s College London, England, UK

    2013 King’s College London, England, UK

    2014 King’s College London, England, UK

    2014 Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK

    2014 Valparaiso University, USA

  • Stephen G. Bowen
  • Space Time : ~ 40 days in space

    Area of Study : Engineer

    Mission Discoveries attended :

    2015 Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK

  • Jean-Jacques Favier
  • Space Time : ~ 16 days in space

  • Nicole Stott
  • Space Time : ~ 106 days in space

    Area of Study : Engineer

    Mission Discoveries attended :

    2014 Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, USA

  • Yi So-Yeon
  • Space Time : ~ 10 days in space

    Area of Study : Naval aviator , Test pilot , Engineer

  • Michael J. McCulley
  • Space Time : ~ 4 days in space

    Area of Study : Researcher

  • Jerry L. Ross
  • Space Time : ~ 58 days in space

    Area of Study : Flight Engineer

  • Ken Bowersox
  • Space Time : ~ 211 days in space

    Area of Study : Test Pilot

    Mission Discoveries attended :

    2015 Caerphilly, Wales, UK

    Nasa Personnel

  • Sarah Murray
  • Assistant chief of EVA, Robotics and Crew Systems

  • Jay F. Honeycutt
  • Former director of Kennedy Space Centre

    Scientists

  • Dr. Julie Keeble
  • Subject : Pharmacology

    University : King's College London

  • Prof. Steve Harridge
  • Subject : Human and Applied Physiology

    University : King's College London

  • Dr. James Clarke
  • Subject : Human and Applied Physiology

    University : King's College London

  • Dr. David Green
  • Subject : Human and Aerospace Physiology

    University : King's College London

    What Happens Next

    On completion of the program, the winning team then has to wait and go through the process of their experiment idea being built from only their design. This is a process which involves the team working with a scientist who helps them make their experiment suitable for the space station, because what the students choose, meaning the specifics, isn't always the best way for it to be done.

    An example of this process in the team which won the program in Renfrewshire in 2014. For this group, the process of their ideas becoming the real thing lasted two years. This is because the experiment wasn't launched until the summer of 2016. During these two years, the team met up on a few occasions for events as well as experiment discussion sessions. The main experiment discussion session was held in 2014 when the team met with Pharmacology lecturer from Kings College, London, Julie Keeble who was the main scientist involved in the development of their experiment. This session took place at the University of the West of Scotland, where they spend time in the labs finding out how their experiment would be built and any changes that would need to be made to it. During the period between the first meeting and the launch, the students were also invited to an event which involved astronaut Mike Foale. The students took part in the day which involved meeting with Mike and listening to the talk he gave to the prospectus students for the 2015 program. These two above events were the main two events the students were involved in before their launch in the summer of 2016.

    This is only an example of one group's processes, however, it is the same or mostly similar for all, given that all of the programs are run by ISSET. So basically after winning the program, the students go through a long process before their experiment idea can become the real thing and be ready to be launched up to the International Space Station.

    References

    Mission Discovery Wikipedia


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