Project returns to Earth after 3 months
On April 6, the Minnehaha Academy International Space Station experiment returned to Earth aboard the Space X CRS- 20, splashing down into the Pacific Ocean.
The project, which researched the effect of a microgravity environment on the growth of calcium carbonate crystals, will be sent to a crystallographer at the University of Minnesota upon its return to Minnehaha. There, the crystals grown in space, along with the crystals the team has been growing on Earth, will be analyzed and compared, providing a conclusion.
While the project was on the International Space Station, the team would receive pictures, data (such as the temperature or humidity in the micro lab) and updates verifying it was performing the tasks it was coded to do. The team hopes that their findings will contribute to research in kidney stone formation, which are made up of calcium carbonate crystals.
Currently, the date at which Minnehaha will receive the project and then be able to send it to the University of Minnesota is tentative due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once the team receives their results they hope to come together and talk about it in whatever format is safely permitted.
ISS team adviser and Chemistry, Applied Research and Engineering and Physics teacher, Joy Reist, has been pleased with the success of the project so far.
“I think it went really well,” said Reist. “It was more simple than our other projects so that gave us a confidence boost and more time to really test it and get exactly the right concentrations.”
When asked what one of the biggest lessons learned this year was, Reist replied,“Team dynamic is really important! This year we had a great group that got along and that was very willing to help each other. If they finished their task, they would go and seek others. Having that mindset was a big game-changer.”