Orion’s Quest newest mission “STEM On Station” is coming to life and as you would expect much work and preparation are involved. Creating a mission always begins with finding scientists doing space-based research that also have a heart for involving students in their work. In the case of S.O.S. we are fortunate to be working with 3 such scientists in Dr. Joseph Wu of Stanford University, Dr. Peter Lee of The Ohio State University, and Dr. Abba Zubair of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.
To start with the OQ staff arranges meetings with the Principal Investigator(s) (PI’s) and the engineers who design and build the hardware, run the ground control experiment and work with NASA to get the experiment into space.
These meetings allow us to understand the reasons for and the goals of the experiment and gives us the opportunity to get to know everyone on a more personal level. It also allows educators, scientists and engineers to work together to find the best way to connect teachers and students with this space-based science and possibly provide the scientists with additional support from students.
Most recently OQ staff members Angela, Pete, and Tom met with one of the PI’s for SOS, Dr. Abba Zubair at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Meeting with Dr. Zubair allowed us to learn firsthand about his exciting research, tour his laboratory and get to know more about him. Interestingly Dr. Zubair wanted to be an astronaut as a boy growing up in Nigeria, Africa.
Biocell containing stem cells in a media prepared for launch
Shortly thereafter we were able to meet with the team of engineers at BioServe Space Technologies in Boulder, CO. to learn about and view the experiment hardware to be used in both the ground control and space-based experiments. Working with living material in space requires sophisticated equipment like the SABL or Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory unit created by BioServe.
Dr. Louis Stodieck and SABL unit developed by BioServe Space Technologies
Once the necessary background information has been gathered we set about designing and writing the curriculum materials and classroom activities and creating the mission portal that teachers and students will use to access the mission on the OQ website.
With all of that done we roll out the new mission, recruit teachers to join in and look forward to a win win for students and scientists! While “Stem On Station” won’t be available until Jan. 2017 teachers can begin enrolling at any time this fall so please consider joining us in this exciting opportunity.