SSEP Mission 16

This page will contain articles and updates about the Mission 16, where one PLSD student group was selected to send experiment materials on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS)!

SSEP Mission 16 Fund Raising: Patch Sales

About the Winning Patches

Nearly 11,000 Pickerington students were invited to compete in the SSEP Mission 16 Art Patch Competition. The elementary/middle school division involved 401 students, while the junior high/high school division had 105 students with each student submitting an original Mission Patch design. A key factor in generating interest in the competition was sending the SSEP research team finalists to our schools. The teams presented brief microgravity lessons and answered questions from curious young students. Additionally, our flight experiment, “Algae: The Fuel Source of Space,” influenced many students to create mission patches with images representing the experiment. We even had submissions from our high school graphic arts classes. Our two winners are Morgan Reed, a Senior at Pickerington High School Central, and Isabelle Stadler, a 4th-grade student from Sycamore Creek Elementary. During an upcoming school board meeting, the Pickerington community will recognize our two art patch competition winners and SSEP project finalists.





Purchase Mission 16 Patches


Latest on Mission 16

PLSD Student Team Selected to Send Algae Experiment into Space

Two PLSD seniors now have a truly out-of-this-world achievement to add to their resumes. Trevor Blankenship and Isaac Hoshor’s research proposal named Algae: The Fuel Source of Space” was selected by a panel of scientists and educators to send experiment materials on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS)! The project, which was chosen by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program’s (SSEP) Mission 16 project, beat out proposals from 73 other PLSD Earth and Space Science Education high school teams for the honor. 

In total, about 200 Pickerington High School Central and North students worked in teams of two to three to conduct research, design experiments and submit formal research proposals for the competition. Their research focused on the essential driving question, ‘What physical, chemical or biological system would I like to explore with gravity seemingly turned off for a period of time as a means of assessing the role of gravity in that system?

About a dozen teachers and staff also helped students work on the proposals. SSEP selected the winning experiment that astronauts will perform in space in Fall 2022. When the mission is over, students will study the data to determine if they proved their hypothesis. The Pickerington Education Foundation generously donated $2,500 to make this dream a reality for our PLSD project teams.

The SSEP is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education Internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with Nanoracks, LLC, which is working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the ISS as a National Laboratory.

“One of the most exciting parts of the program is that all K-12 students could participate in the Mission Patch Design Competition,” said Secondary Science Instructional Coach Carla Fultz, the project co-director for Pickerington Schools. “Every mission has a patch, and one student’s design will represent PLSD on the ISS.”

The winner of the patch competition was announced on March 28. Our two winners are (by grade level):

  • K-6 — Isabelle Stadler, a 4th-grade student at Sycamore Creek Elementary School
  • 7-12 — Morgan Reed from Pickerington High School Central

From the patch to the proposals, to give you a feel for the significance of these accomplishments please keep in mind that PLSD is only the second district in Ohio to have ever been selected to send experiment materials to the ISS. School districts from all over the world, including the Ukraine, compete for this honor. Here’s the full list of the official flight experiments for SSEP Mission 16 to the ISS:

  • Ukraine – Flight Slot 1: Dental filling material solidification in microgravity conditions
  • Ukraine – Flight Slot 2: The Effects of Microgravity on Potassium hexacyanoferrate(III) crystals
  • Coquitlam, BC, CAN: The Changes in Beneficial Metabolites by Lactic Acid Bacteria in Microgravity 
  • Moreno Valley, CA: The Effects of Microgravity On The Germination Of Carrot Seeds
  • Hillsborough County, FL – Flight Slot 1: The Effects of Microgravity on the Bio-electrolysis of Anabaena sp. PCC 7120
  • Hillsborough County, FL – Flight Slot 2: Purslane Spaceflight Proposal 
  • Ocala, FL: What is the effect of microgravity on the amount of ethanol produced by yeast fermentation?
  • University System of Maryland, MD: Generation of Metallic and Ceramic Nanoparticle Aggregates in Microgravity for Novel Insights into Planetary Formation
  • Grand Blanc, MI: Microbial Solutions for Food Waste In Space
  • Hoboken, NJ: The effect of microgravity on catheter biofilm formation by the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens 
  • Albany, NY: Microgravity’s Effect on the Germination of Basil Seeds Using Hydroponics
  • Buffalo/Niagara, NY: The Effect of Microgravity on the Resistance of Staphylococcus epidermidis to Oxacillin
  • Garden City, NY: How does microgravity affect the germination of a tomato seed
  • Norwood, NY: The effects of microgravity on Chlamydomonas reinhardtii algae when exposed to optimal nutrient levels
  • Pickerington, OH: Algae: The Fuel Source of Space
  • Bandera, TX: Will the germination rate of quinoa seeds be affected by a microgravity environment? 
  • Burleson, TX: The Effect of Microgravity on Agar Consumption of Penicillium Mold 
  • Ector County, TX: Effects of Microgravity on formation of Serratia marcescens Biofilm
  • Texarkana, TX: The Effects of Space Travel and Microgravity on Hybrid Brine Shrimp Eggs
  • Bellingham, WA: Germination of the Oplopanax horridus (Devil’s Club) in a Microgravitational Environment 
  • iForward-Grantsburg, WI: Growing and Glowing Mushrooms in Microgravity

The PLSD 2021-22 SSEP Pickerington High School Central student team finalists were:

  • Abram Frysinger, Ameilia Johnson, Arati Sarki
  • Dominic Chambers, Alexis Heren
  • Fady Makram, Norham Makram
  • Kayla Godwin, Mckenna Nix
  • Jordan Johnson, Tyler Noll, Nathan Squibb
  • Nick Marullo, Jalil Stallworth, Nyle Williams
  • Cory Amos, Blake Ciotti, Austin Dudley
  • Niya Gore, Jalyn Tumblin, Niya Woods
  • Mekhiah Ellis, Tahirah Ellis
  • Trevor Blankenship, Issac Hoshor

The PLSD 2021-22 SSEP Pickerington High School North student team finalists were:

  • Marissa Dial
  • Paul Pederson
  • Noah Ashcraft, Ahmed Habib
  • Karuna Acharya, Alexus Scott
  • Arcadia Bach, Richard Heimerl
  • Paige Bowman
  • Sarah Holter, AJ Raber
  • Santos Heredia, Reign Wilson, Callie Woodward
  • Karmella King, Spencer Payette

Projects from the following teams advanced all the way to the National SSEP Step 2 Review Board:

  • Arcadia Bach and Richard Heimerl: Effects of Microgravity on the Pupation and Metamorphosis of the Leafcutter Bee
  • Paul Pederson: Fungi in Microgravity
  • Trevor Blankenship and Isaac Hoshor: Algae: The Fuel Source of Space

Fultz said, “ Trevor and Isaac have been completely immersed in real space science research. They have been working through the experimental design process which includes experiencing setbacks and discovering solutions. SSEP and Pickerington schools has provided an amazing STEAM opportunity to engage and inspire our students.”

Congratulations to the winning research team of Isaac Hoshor and Trevor Blankenship (pictured left to right below).

Mission 16 Winners