Student Spaceflight Experiment Now in Space

Mission 11

Stockton University students Danielle Ertz of Woodlynne, center, and Valkyrie Falciani of Hammonton, right, with faculty mentor Tara Luke, left and Dean Peter Straub. The students and Luke developed an experiment for the International Space Station.

Galloway, N.J. _ Two Stockton University students are ready to find out if the experiment they designed on Earth will work on the International Space Station.

Long-term space travel and the need for astronauts to sustain their food supply in space led Stockton University students Danielle Ertz of Woodlynne, N.J. and Valkyrie Falciani of Hammonton, N.J. with faculty mentor Tara Luke, associate professor of Biology, to develop an experiment that studies fungus as a potential force for improving agriculture in space.

The project was accepted by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program and successfully launched at 12:31 p.m., Aug. 14, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on the on SpaceX-CRS-12. 

The students and Luke were in for Florida to watch the launch.

Their experiment uses a mycorrhizal fungus species and flax. Flax was chosen because its seeds are edible, the plant can be used to make cloth, its extensive taproot system allows growth in limited space and it is proven to grow in space.

The experiment consists of a fluid mixing enclosure (FME) mini-lab that will hold enough water, fungi spores and flax seed to grow for four to six weeks on the International Space Station  (ISS). The same experiment will be conducted on Earth simultaneously as a scientific ground truth for later comparison.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

The Stockton Student Spaceflight Experiments Program will focus on SSEP has been selected for Mission 12. Activities will begin in September with a Mission 12 experiments proposal competition run in conjunction with GNM 2800: "Student Spaceflight Experiments Program."  The experiment chosen for Mission 12 will fly to the International Space Station in Spring 2018.

For further details see:

Diane D’Amico
News and Media Relations Director
Galloway, N.J. 08205
(609) 652-4593