July 31, 2019 1000 PM
MARFA – The Marfa Martians’ experiment is now aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Dragon spacecraft that carried the experiment launched on July 25 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and was captured by the ISS on July 27.
The young scientists are researching how to eradicate bacteria in microgravity after they learned that the bacteria, bacillus cereus, is on the ISS and could endanger astronauts’ health.
The launch was originally scheduled for July 24, but was postponed due to the weather. With summer vacation underway, the all-girls team of fourth, fifth and sixth graders didn’t watch the launch together, but each watched a livestream separately. One teammate traveled to Florida to try to see the launch in person, but unfortunately missed it because of the rescheduling.
The students would occasionally meet at school to work on their project, but now with the experiment on the ISS, the team will wait a month for the spacecraft to return the completed experiment to gather any results. It is projected to land on August 20.
The Marfa Martians traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this month for the 2019 Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Annual National Conference to present their project in front of student peers at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. They were the youngest team to present at the conference, beating more than 23,000 students in the nationwide science contest.