Colleton County school project to fly in space

COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) --- While many kids spend the summer visiting grandparents and attending camp, a team of five girls at Colleton County Middle School are practicing to present a science project at the Smithsonian.

"We'll do that for two days and then one day they'll have their display boards up with their PowerPoint presentation on it," said Ann Henson, the girls' 6th grade science teacher.

It's all a part of the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program.

"We are the only public school in South Carolina who is participating," said Henson. "There is a charter school in North Charleston who is also participating."

Palmetto Scholars Academy is the other Lowcountry school involved.

The program allows about 300 students nationwide to design and propose real-life space experiments.

"They are testing how does milk spoil in micro-gravity and how is it different on earth than it is than in microgravity," said Henson.

Henson says the idea came about through a conversation with one of the students and her mom.

"I went home and I was thinking about food spoilage, but somebody in our class was already doing food so we decided to do milk," said Bailey Crosby.

Fortunately, other students in her class were interested in the same idea.

"It kind of would help for the space, well astronauts," said Amber Avant. "It would help for their bone mass and one day if we lived in space."

So, Crosby, Avant and three others got together and began their research.

"We looked up the spoilage points and some parts, just hearing it, were kind of nasty," said Megan DeWitt, also a member of the team.

The girls are testing three types of milk: whole milk, one percent and skim milk. They will put the milk in a tube with an air bubble and test how each type spoils while in space with astronauts.

"We decided that our hypothesis was that we think whole milk will spoil the fastest in microgravity," said Crosby.

The project will spend 10-14 days in space with actual astronauts.

"I'm so proud of them," said Henson. "It brings tears to my eyes."

The program costs more than $22,000 for the girls to participate. Henson says the Colleton County School District took care of some of the funds but, the rest is being carried by the teammates' family members, and corporate and personal donations.

If you would like to donate to the Colleton County Middle School Team, you can send a check payable to Colleton County Middle School SSEP at 1379 Tuskegee Airman Drive Walterboro, SC 29488.

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