Russell County

Students experiment with space

LEBANON, Va. - This past school year has been out of this world for students in southwest Virginia.

First it was a live chat with astronauts on the space station (click here to read about that) and then came an opportunity to send their own experiments into space.

We checked back with those young scientists to see how their experiments worked. The fact is, some did and some didn't.

Back last fall we visited with some Lebanon High School students as they prepared an experiment that would go aboard the International Space Station.

It was a relatively simple question -- would metals rust faster on Earth or in space?

And now their experiment is back from space, but the experience hasn't worn off in the least. "I can't believe I sent an experiment to space. The fact that it was out there and that we made history by sending an experiment up to space. It was part of the first resupply service with Space-X, it's just unbelievable," Says senior Diana Odhiambo.

"It was fantastic and that's the only word I can use to describe it. We got to watch the launch and we got to meet other teams and know about their experiments," junior Jacob Akers adds.

But things didn't go as planned for a piece of their experiment; a small glass container containing copper did not get broken open as planned while in space. "Even though it wasn't conducted successfully with the copper not being broken, we found out from the results that we did get that the metals actually rusted faster in space than they did on Earth which was really surprising. It's completely different from what we thought it would do," junior Donna Odhiambo said.

That's why we experiment, to find out if our assumptions are correct.

The whole experience has lit the fires of possible careers for these students. "It's very much opened my eyes to the whole idea of space exploration, galactic mining and everything. It's opened my eyes a lot more. I would think about a career," junior McKinna Collins says.

So maybe we haven't heard the last of these would-be space explorers.

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