Each new Orion’s Quest mission involves extensive development and preparation. The process begins with finding scientists doing space-based research and ends with a fully developed mission designed to engage students in space-based research.
Over the years we have been fortunate to work with many world class scientists who are willing to give students the opportunity to be involved in their research on some level.
To start with the OQ staff arranges meetings with both the Principal Investigator (PI) and the engineers who design and build the hardware that allows the PI to conduct their experiment in space.
These meetings allow us to understand the reasons for and the goals of the experiment and provides us the opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level. It also allows educators, scientists and engineers to work together to find the best way to connect teachers and their students with this space-based science and potentially provide the scientists with additional support from students.
Recently OQ staff members Angela, Pete, and Tom met with the PI for ScSOS, Dr. Abba Zubair at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida who is doing stem cell research in space. Dr. Zubair allowed us to tour his laboratory and we learned firsthand about his exciting research. The bonus was getting to know him on a more personal level. Dr. Zubair is a brilliant yet humble man who interestingly, 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. The hardware includes a chamber created by BioServe engineers called SABL or Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory used to support the stem cell samples, the microscopes used for video capture and the Biocells which contain the stem cells while on the ISS.
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 that information we’re excited to present this new mission and hope thousands of students will benefit from their participation. Please consider joining us in this exciting opportunity.