From Fayetteville to the Stars: Douglas Byrd High School Students Send Science Experiments to the International Space Station

Cumberland County students vie for chance to send science experiments to International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) has received a new batch of science experiments, this time from the 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo held at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville. Over 200 students representing teams from kindergarten through 12th grade participated in the event, which took place on Tuesday. The winning teams will have their science projects sent to the ISS as a “science payload.”

Maura Richard, one of the participating teachers, expressed her excitement about the opportunity to create their own designs and potentially see them sent into space. Cumberland County STEM Education Director Frank McKay highlighted the significance of promoting education through events like the STEM Expo and emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of communities and the country.

The experiments conducted by students can range from simple to complex based on their interests and goals. One of the teams, the Fly Guys, is investigating whether plant seeds can grow in outer space using a mystic tube separated into three sections. Another team is exploring whether certain chemicals found in Martian soil can be used to make rocket fuel for space travel.

Denise Renfro, a teacher in Cumberland County, shared her success with her students who discovered perchlorates, a chemical compound found in Martian soil, after investigating corrosion on Mars rover’s wheels. This discovery led to her team being among the first to have their experiments sent to ISS as part of this program. The winners of this year’s STEM Expo will be announced on Tuesday evening.

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