Rocket to carry RE students' experiment to edge of space
A rocket will carry an experiment devised by physics students from Ransom Everglades School to the edge of space, NASA and Future Engineers announced on January 21. The students’ project was one of 57 nationwide – and the only from Florida – selected for the special launch, part of the organization’s first-ever NASA TechRise Student Challenge.
The student-scientists – Arjun Badwal '23, Dadly Leon '23, Theodore Ma '23, Sofia Paraoulaki de Miranda '23 and Adrian Stone Perez '23 – will receive $1,500 to build their payload, which will be shuttled on suborbital spacecraft sponsored by NASA and designed by Blue Origin. The students, members of the AP Physics class taught by Paul Natland '02, designed an experiment to study capillary action – the movement of liquids in narrow spaces – in a microgravity environment.
“It is truly an honor to be considered and selected,” Natland said. “The students were very enthusiastic and motivated by the challenge and it is so wonderful to see their vision and proposal accepted. I am so excited to get to work with them in the months ahead.”
Winning the challenge, which was open to students in the sixth through 12th grades nationwide, will also provide the students with the opportunity to engage with NASA and technology communities, and expose them to potential careers in science, technology, and space exploration fields. They will receive a 3D-printed flight box in which to build their experiment.
“We are over the moon – pun intended – that an experiment devised by a group of Ransom Everglades student-scientists will be launched on a suborbital rocket as part of the NASA TechRise Student Challenge,” Ransom Everglades Head of School Penny Townsend said. "We are beaming with pride in our students and faculty advisor Paul Natland, a member of Ransom Everglades School's Class of 2002, and extremely honored that they were chosen by NASA to participate in this extraordinary experiential learning opportunity."
She added: “Our students have already learned so much from the challenge of creating a meaningful science experiment for a zero-gravity environment, and they – and our entire school community – cannot wait to see the outcome. We will eagerly await this special launch.”
The team’s experiment hopes to explore how fluids behave when gravity is essentially removed, making the capillary effect more prominent. Their experiment will run during the approximately three minutes of microgravity when the rocket is near the apex of its suborbital path.
The Flight Opportunities program, based at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., and part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, is leading the NASA TechRise Challenge, which will be administered by Future Engineers.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.