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SSEP Mission 10 Flight Experiment Proposal
April 22, 2016
I. Proposal Cover Page
Proposal Title: Growing Kale, Who NEEDS Soil?
Grade Level: 8th
School: J.L. Matthey Middle
District: Southside ISD, San Antonio Texas
Teacher: Katherine Lujan
Position: Collaborative Learning Facilitator/ Science Teacher
Address: 20350 Red Forest Lane
Daytime Phone: (210) 882-1601
Cell Phone: (210) 627-3852
We ask, what is the difference of kale growth between earth soil and our soil substitute Hydrophilic gel under the effects of microgravity? We chose kale because it can grow successfully under three hours of sunlight, does well in cooler climates, has shorter roots, it can also tolerate different types of soil and has high counts of vitamin A and C, kale also has an abundance of protein which is needed under the effects of microgravity, making it an optimal candidate for space. Finding the difference of growth between our earth soil and Hydrogel would allow scientists to see if hydrogel is adequate or better substitute for soil in space, which could allow for more plant growth in space in a speedier, timely manner.
II. Student Team Members
Name: Elizabeth Castro- Collaborator Grade: 8th
Name: Carolyn Olivo- Principal Investigator Grade: 8th
Name: Ethan Rodriguez- Collaborator Grade: 8th
Name: Richard Stockhammer- Co- Principal Investigator Grade: 8th
Name: Pedro Ybarra- Co- Principal Investigator Grade: 8th
III. Experimental Materials and Handling Requirements
1. Fluids Mixing Encloures (FME)
One Type three FME ( 3 experiment volumes: two clamps)
2. Proposed Experiment Samples:-Kale Seeds -SoilMoist Hydrogel -Southside ISD Earth Soil -Southside ISD Tap water Supply
3. 1st type two FME tube:
-Volume One: 5 kale seeds, 3 mL of hydrogel
-Volume Two: 1.4 mL of Southside ISD tap water supply
Clamp Dividing the two sections of water
1.4 mL of Southside ISD Tap water supply
5 kale seeds, 3 mL of Southside ISD soil
4. IMPORTANT: Are any of the proposal samples human in origin?
5. Special Handling Requirements
6.Timeline of Crew Interactions:
-1st type three FME tube:
Remove the two outlying clamps but let the middle clamp remain. Keep the experiment in a dark area, if possible.
Write detailed notes of any plant germination
Write detailed notes of any plant germination
Take final log of any plant germination
7. Return to earth after flight
- Keep the experiment in a dark area
IV. The Question to be Addressed by the Experiment
We will be testing the differences in plant growth between our Hydrophilic soil substitute and regular Southside ISD earth soil. Having the ability to grow food with no land is a valuable one. Turning the percent of earth that is urbanized into more land for growing crops. Hydrophilic gel or Hydrogel is a perfect solution. Being made up of polymeric materials, giving it a large absorption rate. Its chained like atoms allows it to retain large amounts of water, much more than any soil could. It acts sponge like when absorbing water, taking in as much water as possible, then releasing it when needed. Light and compact when in its dry state allows it to be very portable. Hydrogel can also last may seasons, unlike certain soil that must be turned after certain crops are planted. Hydrogel is the future and we hope to prove it here.
Other missions have included kale, but we wanted to expand on this seeing if hydrogel would make a better substitute for the soil under the effects of microgravity. Kale being the nutrition rich plant it is, makes it a viable source of substance for astronauts if this works. We are also aware that other plants have been grown on the ISS, such as lettuce and wheat stalks. We would also like to expand this list. Kale being the super food it is, would make an amazing addition to this list and allow for future possibilities using hydrogel in space in future missions.
V. Experimental Design
We will be testing the difference in plant growth between our Hydrophilic soil substitute and regular Southside ISD soil. Having the ability to grow food with no land is a valuable one. Turning the percent of earth that is urbanized into more land for growing crops. Turning the concrete jungle, into a jungle and Hydrogel is just the substance to make that happen.
Hydrogel is a substance that is made up of various polymeric materials, giving it is hydrophilic structure, its cross linked polymeric networks gives Hyrdrogel the innate ability to retain large amounts of water without dissolving in it. Being made out of polymeric materials allows it high absorption rates which act sponge like when absorbing water taking in as much water as possible, then releasing it when needed. They act to match there external environment, swelling and taking in water, when the opportunity arises and shrink to release water when needed. There are different types such of Hydrogel, the most common nowadays is a synthetic polymer, although there our natural ones, the synthetic ones offer a higher absorption rate and has a slower degradation rate while also being durable. In short Hydrogel is a polymeric network that is crossed linked creating an almost elastic structure, that can both expand and shrink depending on external conditions.
Recently a company in Tokyo ,that goes by the name Mebiol, has been working on a project, called Imec, which they use their own variation of hydrogel, to go crops. With Skygel (the brand name of hydrogel that Mebiol uses) there is little to no chance of bacteria or viruses harming the plants an added advantage would also be that Skygel can be used on various surfaces, such as sand, concrete, or even ice. Another plus would be that Skygel, vary similar to hydrogel doesn’t, need to be replaced as often as soil must be turned or given added vitamins. Mebiol even goes as far to say that their brand of hydrogel can last two – three years before needing to be replaced.
Kale is a super-food having high counts of vitamin K, A and C when uncooked and even more when cooked.
Nutrients in One Cup of Cooked Kale
Kale is a perfect candidate to send to space. Needing less then three hours of light, allows it to grow in almost total darkness. It has short roots which is good for growing in place where there is little soil. It is also a good source of protein , one of the necessities needed when astronauts travel to space due to the muscle decrease in space due to microgravity the astronaut’s experience. Kale also has a high amount of calcium which is also needed when in space due to the bone loss. We hope to make the growing list of plants sent to space longer and kale would make an excellent addition and an amazing candidate to take to space.
Our experiment would consist of one FME Three tube, but instead of just the two clamps we hope to add a third to divide volume two into two separate compartments in which we would hold are water. The third clamp would also work as a block to make the sure two substances( Hydrogel and Southside ISD soil) would not contaminate each other. The first volume would contain three mL of hydrogel and five kale seeds already mixed, both would be in there dry state. Then a clamp would close the first volume off. Volume two would hold our water and in total hold two point eight mL of water, but would spilt in half by a second clamp. In each compartment of volume two there would be one point four mL of water, the third clamp would then seal it off from the final volume. The third volume will have three mL of Southside ISD soil and five kale seeds, already pre-mixed and in its dry state. The first day the experiment reaches the space station the first and thrid clamp should be released but the second clamp should remain replaces two keep the experiments from contaminating each other. From then on a detailed long of germination should be kept and the experiment should remain in a dim location and upon re-entry and on earth should remain in adim location until picked by our crew.
When brought back to earth we will compare it to our growth on earth. The project on earth will be identical to the one on the ISS. We hope that the growth in space is more than the growth on earth, due to the plant not having to work as hard to break earth’s gravity. If this project works out, we hope to make a more eco-friendly world, with no hunger. We want to prove that Hydrogel is better than regular soil and a much better option to take to space. Hydrogel is the FUTURE!
VI. List of Reference Publications
VII. REQUIRED Letter of Certification by the Facilitator
I certify that the student team designed the experiment described herein and authored this proposal, and not a teacher, parent, or other adult. I recognize that the purpose of this letter is to ensure that there was no adult serving to lead experiment definition and design, or write the proposal, and thereby provide content and or professional expertise beyond that expected of a student-designed and student-proposal experiment.
J.L. Matthey CLF /Science teacher ed Imec, which they use their own variation of hydrogel, to go crops. With Skygel (the brand name of hydrogel that Mebiol uses) there is little to no chance of bacteria or viruses harming the plants an added advantage would also be that Skygel can be used on various surfaces, such as sand, concrete, or even ice. Another plus would be that Skygel, vary similar to hydrogel doesn’t, need to be replaced as often as soil must be turned or given added vitamins. Mebiol even goes as far to say that their brand of hydrogel can last two – three years before needing to be replaced.
Our experiment would consist of one FME Three tube, but instead of just the two clamps we hope to add a third to divide volume two into two separate compartments in which we would hold are water. The third clamp would also work as a block to make the sure two substances( Hydrogel and Southside ISD soil) would not contaminate eac