Mission Discovery Experiments to Launch with SpaceX this Friday

This Friday, 5 of our winning Mission Discovery STEM programme experiments will be launched into space aboard SpaceX8, headed to the International Space Station.

The launch is currently set for 4:43 pm EST.

Here are some photos of our students putting together their experiments in the lab:

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Congratulations to the winning team at King’s College, London Mission Discovery

Congratulations to the winning team at Mission Discovery ‪#‎STEM‬ summer school at King’s College London last week. Team ‘Icarus’ won with their experiment idea to test if electricity generating bacteria, once taken to a microgravity environment, will increase either the rate or amount of electricity generated when compared with the same process on Earth.

King 2015 Winning Photo med

Their experiment will be launched to space in the coming months, along with the winning experiments from this years other programmes in Scotland and Wales.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone involved in this years Mission Discovery programmes and we look forward to working with you all again in the future.

Our next destination is Caerphilly, South Wales in October 26th – 30th, 2015.

Is NASA the new Sky Net!?

NASA is in the process of creating the smartest artificial intelligence, known to man as ‘Robonaut 2’.

Robonaut 2 has the makings of the perfect surgeon. It won’t get tired; miss its family or use up vital oxygen while on the International Space Station.

Right now, the reality of Robonaut 2 is that it can’t walk in zero gravity and its greatest feat to date is catching a floating roll of duct tape.

However, NASA has high hopes with their end goal of the robot becoming the best medic, nurse, and physician on board the Space Station. Robonaut 2’s brothers are being trained on Earth to find a pulse using ultra sound and to stick a needle in a vein.

Dr Garami, of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, says he sees the robot eventually being used to perform intricate medical operations like endovascular surgery, where a patient is operated on through their large blood vessels.

But in the short term Robonaut 2 has much more monotonous role on the Space Station as the resident cleaner. There’s a long way to go before it’s an autonomous surgeon, but NASA plans to see the robot go from Space Station toddler to medic on mars.

Let’s just hope “he’ll be back” to save lives…

Mission Discovery Experiments: Antibiotics in Space

On the 19th of December, we will finally be launching the winning Mission Discovery teams’ experiments to be carried out on the International Space Station! This is the first time EVER that British schoolchildren’s experiments have been carried out on the ISS. The age group of the participants was 13-18. In this blog, we’ll be outlining the first of the two experiments being launched, as well as giving you some insight into the team behind it!

Team Supernova hard at work on their experiment!

Mission Discovery students hard at work on their experiment!

The first experiment aims to test whether or not antibiotics will be as effective in space! In the experiment, the antibiotic ‘Ampicillin’ will be tested for its ability to inhibit the growth of the harmful bacteria E. Coli, although the strain being used in the Mission Discovery experiment is harmless. Bacteria seem to thrive in zero gravity, whereas drugs to battle them have been proven to be less effective. E. Coli is one of the most likely bacteria to grow during space travel.

More harmful than it looks: the E. Coli virus

Scientists have previously tested the effect of other drugs in space and found that reactions are different to here on earth. It is believed that this experiment, if successful, could greatly impact the healthcare of astronauts. The experiment itself will cost just £70!

The team that designed the experiment consists of; Mahdi Baksh and Amin Habib from Morpeth School; Phoebe Tupper, Emily Yeomans and Deanna Middleton from Gumley House Convent School; and Laurence Cook from Hampton School. The members had this to say about their experience:

Winning the whole competition was immense, the feeling is still a bit surreal. – Amin Habib

Winning the competition was absolutely amazing; I couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening as it came as such a shock…hopefully winning this competition will open many doors! – Deanna Middleton

It was great to learn from all those experienced people, and it was a nice surprise that our experiment won…thanks for an amazing experience! – Emily Yeomans

To win was fantastic, our team never thought we would win…I felt like I was over the moon…this will definitely help me in my future. Mahdi Baksh

We’ll be back soon with information on the second experiment!

Chris + poet David Neita outside Lewisham Hospital

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Chris with People’s Poet David Neita.

Here, Chris is outside Lewisham Hospital with poet & lawyer David Neita. Chris’ first two daughters were born in Lewisham Hospital, and David led a successful campaign against the closure of the A&E dept, so they both have a personal connection to the hospital.

David Neita is often referred to as the ‘People’s Poet’ or ‘People’s Lawyer’ due to his representation of marginalised groups, and his addressing of social issues through poetry. He has worked with ISSET on many an occasion, as resident poet at our Message to the Moon days and attending our Astronaut Leadership Experience in the Lake District.