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  • Here’s your chance to send an experiment into space!

    In an Australian-first, the International Space Station (ISS) has started preparations to host three STEM experiments created by the Department for Education school students. The experiments will hitch a ride with Neumann Space, a South Australian start-up who have purchased 125kg of payload space on the ISS.

    The experiments will sit on a platform outside the ISS, while high-tech sensors and receptors stream data back to the schools in South Australia for recording and analysis. The experiments will be carried out over 12 months in 2019, before being jettisoned to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

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      Short-listed Experiments

      Mawson Lakes School [E8: Magnetosphere analysis using a mobile phone) won the IAC industry vote.

      School Name

      Yr Level/class

      Experiment Voting Number

      Experimental Name & Overview

      Tertiary/Industry Links

      Mawson Lakes School

      Year 6/7 Students

      E8

      Magnetosphere analysis using a mobile phone

      The magnetosphere is one of the most amazing things that many kids just never think about.  But we do think about our phones!  We want to help teach kids about how awesome the magnetosphere is by using a phone and sending a special phone – SAM – the Space Accelerometer and Magnetometer into space! We want to measure the magnetic field at the International Space Station (ISS). We know that much data on the magnetic field already exists and forms the basis of our current understanding.  However, we believe collecting our own data and analysing it to create a model of the Earth’s magnetic field will provide many learning opportunities within the curriculum – and make us powerful learners.

      Division of Information Technology, Uni of SA

      University College London (UCL),  Australia

      Southcott Hydraulics & Control Systems

      The expert panel consisted of representatives from the Department for Education, Neumann Space, Airbus Defence & Space, Adelaide University, Flinders University, UniSA and TAFESA, Department of State Development and Space Industry experts and panel members who ranked their top 5-8 experiments in an online vote.

       After online voting was collated, the panel spent a long time discussing the experiments to be shortlisted according to their rankings, space experiment development and viability for the Neumann Space FAST program, educational links,  industry/tertiary institution links and numbers of students involved.

      Only two more experiments were supposed to be selected, however  the panel could not decide between two of the projects so another 3 experiments were shortlisted and so the final shortlisted experiments E11, E14 and E16, E2, E5 and E15 (further information below) for 7 shortlisted schools in total.

      School Name

      Yr Level/class

      Experiment Voting Number

      Experimental Name & Overview

      Tertiary/Industry Links

      Australian Science & Mathematics School

      Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students

      E2

      The cultivation of Ganoderma lucidum in a micro-gravity environment for medicinal purposes

      The aim of the mission is to observe the growing patterns exhibited by Ganoderma lucidum in a microgravity environment. By observing these behaviours, we hope to evaluate the possibility of utilising the mushroom as a crop upon the International Space Station and future missions, for both food and medicinal purposes, and record the observations for future endeavours in the field of astrobiology. The experiment plan is to utilise Ganoderma lucidum due to their versatility in their growth and medicinal purposes for nutrient supplements. They are able to grow in harsher conditions when compared to other crops and can grow in controlled amounts depending on the amount of substrate and heat available to the mycelium. We predict that the design of the payload we intend to create will allow the Ganoderma lucidum to grow in an environment similar to that of Earth with the exception of the presence of microgravity. On the initial space experiment, the mushroom will not be able to be harvested. However, if successful, it would allow for the team to design a stable, self-maintaining and reproducing crop for astronauts upon the International Space Station. These mushrooms would be easily harvested through this device, and will be supplied to the astronauts as a nutritional and medicinal supplement.

      Flinders University

       

      ResearchSat, University of Adelaide

      Le Fevre High School

      Yr 9-Yr 11

      E5

      Monitoring van Allen from the ISS: Energised particle Radiation

      The aim of our experiment is to measure ionised sub-atomic particle radiation from the inner Van Allen belt; recording the energy levels of the electrons and energised protons in this region. Most of the recording will take place over the South Atlantic Anomaly where the inner belt can lower to a roughly 200km altitude, where the ISS will pass through.

      AUSPACE

      TAFESA (DIPP)

      NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre

      University of Colorado Boulder.

      Norwood Morialta High School

      Yr 8 & 9 students

      E11

      Novel radiation shielding materials

      The safety of astronauts is a paramount consideration when embarking on space travel. Space suit material can protect against short term exposure to radiation. The experiment will investigate whether novel radiation shielding materials will be capable of enduring the impact of gamma radiation over extended periods allowing for potential future applications. A test material: Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNTs) and a control material will be exposed to radiation in space through a semi-polycarbonate shell housing the experiment. Geiger counters and other sensors will be used to measure radiation levels, temperature and other parameters. Data will be stored onboard the Raspberry Pi (Version 3) CPU and transmitted via Wi-fi connection and streamed back to Earth for collation and analysis over 12 months. The data will allow researchers to determine the effectiveness of BNNTs in shielding against gamma radiation in space, which may allow for potential future applications including in space suit material and space craft design. 

      Tekna

      BNNT

      Uni of SA

      The Heights School

      Year 5- Year 11 students

      E14

      Growing bacteria as a radiation shield

      This experiment will involve sending an enclosure with a colony of Deinococcus Radiodurans into space, with the aim to test their ability to shield radiation. The bacteria will be enclosed inside of a Perspex enclosure. To measure the radiation that is being shielded, a microdosimeter and geiger counter will be used. The colony of bacteria will be stained with fluorescent dyes and then monitored using a RGB colour sensor that will look at the bacteria. After measurements have been made with the bacteria alive, another set of measurements will be made post-mortem to investigate whether the bacteria are more effective at shielding radiation while they are alive or dead. After this the bacteria will be washed out with alcohol, and a final control set of measurements will be made. All measurements and automation will be controlled through an Arduino Nano. The Arduino nano will also send these measurements back to Earth.

      ResearchSAT, Uni of Adelaide

       

      The University of Sydney

      The Pines School

      (R-7)

      Yr 4-5 students targeted leading to Yr 6-7 in 2019

      E15

      Oxidation in Space

      “Oxidation in Space” will investigate how quickly metals oxidise in space.

      As oxidation of metal requires the presence of oxygen and water, the question is asked

      ”What is the rate of oxidation of different metals in space?"

      Oxidation will be measured by comparing;

      1. Changes in relative colour - measured by a colour-digitising camera with strobe.

      2. Changes in internal and external electrical conductivity [corrosion is a poor conductor].

      Different metals are to be tested for oxidation via atomic oxygen using changes in conductivity. Small strips of metal (e.g. thickness of aluminium foil ½ mm thick and 5-10 mm wide) to be used such as: cobalt, steel, stainless steel, copper, nickel, aluminium, gold, titanium (silver is not appropriate as it produces gases in a vacuum).

      Colour change is to be viewed by camera shots.

      Measuring conductivity is to detect surface change and if any physical changes are seen.

      Experimental sites:

      1. The Space Station external platform [unknown oxidation environment]

      2. The Pines School science classroom [low oxidation environment]

      3. The Pines School science classroom roof-top [moderate oxidation environment]

      4. Neptune Island weather recording station [extreme oxidation environment]

      Toolcraft,

      ResearchSAT, University of Adelaide

      Two Wells Primary School

      Reception, and Years 1 to 7. 

      E16

      Shielding of Electronics against cosmic radiation

      The goal of our experiment is to investigate the shielding of electronics against cosmic radiation in space.  Electronics will be shielded by different methods and exposed to cosmic radiation. The electronics will be monitored to determine if and when it fails. We will also be monitoring different aspects of the environment like the radiation levels, temperature and light levels, to determine if these variables are linked to the failures. Measuring light levels will allow us to determine when we are pointing directly at the sun. An identical experiment set up and operational at the school on earth will provide a control to determine whether failures are random and component based, or isolated to the space environment. This will operate within our STEM learning space along with a constantly updated display of results from the ISS experiment.  These results could be streamed online to allow other schools to also monitor the status of our experiment.

      The future benefits of the results of our experiment may assist developers to reduce the mass and expenses of putting small satellites into space by allowing them to use commercial components appropriately shielded and potentially have them last longer in space before they fail.

      Nova Systems,  Hewet, SA DST Group

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        School Experiments

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        Upload Mission Portfolio and Additional Files

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        Experimental essentials

        The experimental theme is ‘Innovation for a better future’, and experimental design must be aligned with the Australian Curriculum or SACE.

        A comprehensive list of area of space investigation and specific experiments already in place can be found on the NASA website.

        Specifications for the SA Schools Space Mission include that experiments:

        • will be supplied with data (ethernet), power (12V or 28V) and potential heating and cooling
        • are non-returnable (all data will be collected by sensors and streamed back to earth)
        • must weigh less than 300g and fit within a volume roughly equal to a 1 litre milk carton
        • must be able to survive launching forces and space environmental factors including:
          • G forces up to 7.5g, similar to the common theme park ride the Tower of Terror
          • temperatures between -20 and +50 degrees Celsius
          • impact forces equivalent to dropping the experiment from a height of 20cm onto carpet
          • galactic cosmic rays (multiple forms of radiation) broadly equivalent to the expected radiation dose from 15000 chest X rays.

        Some specialised resources (eg radiation resistant equipment) will be purchased from Neumann Space to ensure successful integration into the payload and experimental survival.

        Final experimental presentations will be made at a statewide showcase after the 12 month space mission is complete.

        Judging criteria

        Judging rubrics will be developed in partnership with DECD staff, Neumann Space, industry and tertiary representatives.

        Stage 1 expressions of interest will be judged on:

        • compliance with the physical and safety criteria (mass/volume/materials etc)
        • linkages to the Australian Curriculum/SACE
        • innovative potential to support a better Earth in the future.

        Stage 2 presentations and portfolios will be judged on:

        • demonstration of STEM learning across a range of disciplines
        • development of the idea through the engineering design process or similar framework
        • linkages to industry and tertiary institutions
        • practicality of the idea and usefulness to society
        • accessibility and usefulness of data to experimental hubs and industry partners.

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          Funding support

          The payload cost for the final 3 experiments will be paid for by DECD.

          A range of additional funding support will also be available for the 6 shortlisted lead schools, including:

          • funding for resources to build experiments and test for space-worthiness
          • negotiated travel expenses for regional teachers and students to participate in excursions and events.

          Professional development and support (including TRT release) will be available to the 6 shortlisted experimental lead schools for:

          • briefing schools and partnerships on experimental limitations, safety protocols and timelines
          • support for quality assurance of STEM-linked curriculum
          • support for Earth-based testing of experiments.

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            Background

            The SA Schools Space Mission provides South Australian students with an unparalleled opportunity to send physical experiments into space through the Neumann Space Facility for Australian Space Testing (FAST) program.

            Opportunities will be available for educators and students to partner with industry, universities, and the wider space community to support schools in their experimental development and outcomes.

            Experimental hubs will be formed around each of the 6 experimental lead schools for greater data analysis. All SA Schools Space Mission data will be available to all DECD schools through a Moodle website, to maximise potential STEM learning.


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              Mission Information Evening


              Mission Information Evening - Tuesday 13 June 2017  

              Venue:  Education Development Centre, Room G1.11A, 4 Milner St, Hindmarsh

              MC:       Ms Sarah Baker/Mr Rodney Mangos

              TOPIC

              SPEAKER

              pdf Files

              Audio/Video

              5:15

              Arrival, check-in and networking

              Tea and coffee on arrival

              5:30

              DECD – STEM Learning

              Ms Cezanne Green

              Director Secondary Learners

              5:45

              Introduction

              Mr Nicola Sasanelli

              Director, Research & Development, International Collaboration, Defence SA

               

              5:55

              Airbus

              Ms Katherine Pegg

              Project Manager & System Engineer (ISS Evolutions & Commercial Applications) Airbus Defence and Space

               

              6:05

              Neumann Space FAST Program

              Dr Patrick Neumann

              Neumann Space Chief Scientist

              6:20

              Mission Design Process

              Mr Rodney Mangos

              Executive Leader Secondary Learners

              6:30

               Break

              Coffee and refreshments sponsored by Advanced Technology Project

              6:45

              Mission Overview

              Mr Oliver Grenfell

              Neumann Space Lab Engineer

              7:00

              Potential experiments & Curriculum links

              Mr Rodney Mangos

              Executive Leader Secondary Learners

              7:10

              Application Process

              Dr Sarah Baker

              ATP Curriculum Manager

              7:15

              Questions

              Dr Sarah Baker

              ATP Curriculum Manager


              7:30

              Networking and formal close

              Mr Rodney Mangos

              Executive Leader Secondary Learners



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                Contact

                SA Schools Space Mission

                e-Mail: Sarah.Baker@sa.gov.au