Today in the NASA Village… Can you Grow Cheese in Space?
you know there are several programs where students can apply to have their
experiments flown on the International Space Station? The Foundation for
International Space Education (FISE) encourages students of all ages to design and
propose real experiments to fly in low Earth orbit. Thomas and Nick Hall are two brothers that
participated in this program. Thomas designed an experiment to test growing cheese in space, and his brother, Nick, designed an experiment to grow toothpaste in space.
When asked what his greatest hurdle was with growing
cheese in space, student researcher Thomas said, “One of the biggest hurdles
I face is just simply staying focused. Being a student experimenter is very
difficult especially in between the ages of 14 and 18, mainly because those are
most kids high school years and during these years many kids are either drowned
with homework, hanging out with friends, or out partying.”
It is so important we get
young students interested early in perusing topics that are out of this world.
The experiments chosen are carried out by the astronauts aboard the space
station. In the case of cheese balls,
Karen Nyberg carried out the experiment and reported back the findings
(apparently she was unable to grow the cheese).
When Nick Hall was asked about his experiment to grow
toothpaste, he said the most inspiring part was, “Thomas Hall III. My brother was the most inspiring because he
was also doing the experiment so he was helping me do the experiment.”
story of the Hall brothers is a great reminder that experimentation is just
that - trials and tests of ideas - but, ultimately, reminds us of the importance of
the relationships we have developed on the ground.