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Three Colorado students will have their science experiment flown in space on the ISS

Blake MacDonald, Noah Grebe and Luke Davis are hoping to learn more about effective low-cost fertilizers that could grow food on other planets.
Posted at 7:26 AM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 09:26:57-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Three Colorado students were selected to have their research project flown onto the International Space Station and performed by astronauts this September. Their research could change the way we travel in space forever.

“Though you're going to learn a lot from it, I think the end goal is about improving society," one of the students, Blake MacDonald, said.

MacDonald is attending high school and Pikes Peak State College and is one of three students working on the research project. Noah Grebe and Luke Davis, University of Colorado Colorado Springs students, have spent the last year getting ready for their work to be flown on the ISS.

“As we move on with this type of research, there could be the possibility of using this growth to develop better technologies and industrialize the thermosphere," MacDonald said.

The three students are studying how Calcium sulfate crystals grow on Earth and how they grow in space. One of their professors. Dr. Lynanne George, said those crystals can be used in things like food and soil.

“With these particular crystals, we’re hoping they will provide a low-cost, better fertilizer for astronauts traveling to freefall environments like the ISS, as well as possibly other planets," Dr. George said.

The three students were selected for the program by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program — something the Space Foundation is thrilled about.

"Having a local group of three students is extraordinary," the director of education Bobby Gagnon said. “Students don’t really think that what they do sometimes can be powerful and create something for the greater good. This is something kind of special for students to look at them and say 'Oh, if they can do this, maybe there’s something I can do as well.'"

MacDonald, Greb and Davis will perform their experiment at the same time astronauts are. After that, the three of them will head to Washington D.C. to present their findings at The Smithsonian.

“I think it’s really important that we start opening up access to more students, and to more people in space. We don’t want to limit space travel for just a small group of people, we want this to be an open space for exploration, as well as the possible resources we get out of it," MacDonald said.

Local student's project will make its way to the ISS