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Knox County Students Send Experiments and Artwork to Space
At the March school board meeting, student research teams from Knox County Schools and their teachers participating in the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP) were recognized for being selected as finalists to possibly have their experiment fly on the Endeavor commercial payload to the International Space Station (ISS) later this year. The SSEP is sponsored through Knox County Schools’ STEM Department and involves teams of students from 5th to 12th grade who design, test and submit research proposals regarding experiments that could actually fly to the International Space Station (ISS) and be conducted by astronauts according to the students’ instructions. The team from Bearden Middle School whose experiment will be traveling out of this world is studying the effects of antibiotics on pink eye in space.
For the first time ever, the Knox County Schools also participated in the Mission Patch competition of SSEP where students in kindergarten through 4th grade were asked to create a mission patch that would reflect either the specific mission or the Knox County community. Mission patches have been part of human spaceflight since the days of Project Mercury in the 1960s and this aspect of the SSEP makes it more appropriately designated as a STEAM—science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics—education initiative.
Ninety-eight patch designs were submitted by elementary art students. Below, you can vote for your favorite of the eight finalist badges selected by Knox County high school students. The winning patch will fly along with the experiment to the ISS. Upon return to Earth, both the Mission Patch and the experiment will have traveled 400,000 miles each day they are aboard the ISS orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 260 miles.