A team of fifth grade students from Limona Elementary School in Brandon have a science experiment headed to space later this year.

Many children dream of becoming astronauts when they grow up and a group of fifth grade students from Limona Elementary School will be one step closer to making that a reality when an experiment they put together gets tested in space later this year.

The students submitted a proposal to a special program through the National Center for Earth and Space Education and their experiment was chosen to be sent to the International Space Station later this year.

“It is a very competitive process which involves the students writing a scientific proposal for an experiment that tests the effect of microgravity on a system,” said Limona Fifth Grade Teacher, Jane Kemp.

The students, Meghana Thomas, Ben Rieger, Tristin Gant, Soleil Gates, Lyric Judge, Lindsey Wills, Pranav Verma and Josue Bueno, wrote a proposal to test the germination of wheat seeds in microgravity.

“They believe the astronauts will need to grow food on long journeys and may be in colonies other planets,” said Kemp. “Wheat is a nutritious food that can provide a lot of energy for space explorers.”

According to Kemp, their hypothesis is that the wheat seeds will germinate normally but the roots may be in a tangle because they will not know up from down.

The students considered a number of different projects before deciding on this one. They even get to Skype with scientist Dr. Joniqua Howard once per week to consult with her about protocols and procedures.

“We have to be super sanitized,” said Rieger, a Brandon resident who is considering a career as scientist or engineer. “We can’t touch anything that is not the tubes or what we are working on and we wear gloves, an apron and a mask.”

“We all freaked out when we found out,” said Rieger. “I was excited to have something I touched go into space.”

Once the seeds are ready, the students will be invited to watch the launch into space which is currently scheduled for June 9. They will then be able to analyze the data after the trip and will share their findings with scientists working on space flight issues.

For more, visit step.ncesse.org. For, visit www.limona.mysdhc.org or call 744-8200.

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.