Traverse City Students to Send Experiment to Space

Hundreds of students have been learning about experiments in space, and now a group of freshman from Traverse City will see their idea take off for the International Space Station.

TC West Senior High School is home to four students who created an experiment that will launch into space early this summer.

Hattie Holmes says there were “Different things we were researching, lots of them didn’t work or (we) didn’t think would work in space.”

Teacher Patrick Gillespie says there were “840 students and I think it was 241 experiments that were proposed.”

The teams entered their proposals to the international “Student Spaceflight Experiments Program”, but only one is chosen from Traverse City West.

The team of four freshmen is one about 30 from the entire world for launch to the International Space Station. 

This group wants to experiment with bacteria growth in microgravity.

Holmes says, “We place a bacteria spore called Bacillus Subtilis in the middle section of the tube.”

They’ll grow the bacteria on a silicon wafer, then stop the growth and return it to earth. “Typically bacteria is thought of as a bad thing, but in this case in beneficial by creating an oxygen and energy source, and possibly even recycle water, which would be helpful in long distance space travel in the future.”

Gillespie says, “It’s a fantastic experience to watch your experiment go to the International Space Station is a rocket is just amazing.”

Freshman Lainey Wickman agrees. “That’s a pretty cool experience, and know that our experiment is in that (rocket). We’re probably going to do something for science, just contribute, more information, that’s really exciting.”

The student group also includes freshmen Langley Nelson and Kale Cerny.

The technical name of their experiment is “The Growth of Bacillus Subtilis on a Substrata Material in Microgravity” and it will be aboard “Mission 13” to the ISS.

It’s the third time West Sr. High has been chosen for a student experiment. TC West previously participated in SSEP Mission 3 and Mission 9.