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Madison Junior High students finish project to be on next NASA launch

REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - An experiment being developed at Madison Junior High School in Rexburg may have an impact on the future of common medicinal products that get taken into space. The team of 13 students are participating in NASA's Tech Rise competition.

For the students involved, they say getting the project to where it is now took quite an interesting process. Thomas Sessions, one of the students working on developing the experiment, says the material they choose to protect the medicine called purple should be the key.

"The purple is squishy like that, squishy like this and everything. It's like perfect. So it will easily take the impacts and just form around it and doesn't sharp the attach it. And it's also really smooth and it's just really protecting. That's really all our experiment is and we just have a couple other components," Sessions said.

One of Sessions' classmates and teammates, Ace Ingram, says the purple material wasn't the groups first choice for protecting medicine in micro gravity environments.

"We had another thing. It was potato. Potato like potato skins that have been mashed into like a foam type thing. So we made a different one like that using all the same like types of things. But we had we put some capsules in and the capsule just flew right out of it. So then when we threw it, the capsule burst and it got everywhere," Ingram said.

Another teammate Ellie Larsen says they made sure they documented every choice they made and why the decision to go to the purple material was better.

"we had to document a lot of it that we didn't know about, and we found out that we had to have a slide presentation and a video talking about, like, just the journey to the challenge. And so seeing all the pictures is kind of like the behind the scenes," Larsen said.

The documentation paid off says Larsen who says eventually they were able to have a showcase and present the information and the project to curious parents and NASA scientists.

"For the showcase, we, um, we're, it's kind of like Zoom, so people could like go to the different like rooms and see the different students projects. And so we mainly stayed on the arts and then just like screen share and show you that we made, um, and so parents were on and like people would hop on and stuff like that and we just like click play on the video," Larsen said.

Each of the students say they learned the importance of how effective teamwork can look and feel.

"We have different experiences with different things. And so like, for me personally, I don't have a ton of experience with like coding or like soldering or any of that stuff. But I did have experience with like video editing and things like that. And so everyone kind of has their own part to play," Larsen said.

"I've learned to just step back and let other people do it and have them, not just all me finish, like I can solder a little bit and then they can solder a little bit. Or instead of just me, I'm finishing it all. And but I've learned just to let other people take it because they can do it, too." Something Ingram agreed with as well. "you have to relieve some of that load sometimes to other people to help build other peoples, um, like help build other people's like teamwork abilities," Sessions added.

"It's been a while and just happy to see it all come together. It was like the beginning of this is like, I'm not sure how we're going to get all this and hopefully it works. It'll be cool if we get it and it's going to be awesome," Session said.

All of the students working on the project are excited for the experiment to be a part of the next launch scheduled for sometime early 2023. They say they will have a greater interest in the outcome of that launch.

For more on the competition and other background on this story, you can find our previous article here.

Article Topic Follows: Rexburg
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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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