Cumberland County Students Send Science Projects to International Space Station as Part of STARward STEM Expo

Cumberland County students vie for chance to send science experiments to International Space Station

The 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo took place on Tuesday at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville. Over 200 students from kindergarten to 12th grade represented teams and showcased their science projects. This year, the winning teams will have their science experiments sent to the International Space Station as a “science payload.” Maura Richard, an excited student, expressed her eagerness to create her own designs and potentially see them sent into space.

Cumberland County STEM Education Director Frank McKay emphasized the importance of promoting education through events like the STEM Expo and addressing the needs of communities and the country. The experiments conducted by students range from simple to complex based on their interests and goals. One team, the Fly Guys, is investigating whether plant seeds can grow in outer space using a mystic tube separated into three sections.

In a previous year, a student experiment explored the effects of perchlorates, a chemical compound found in Martian soil, on aerospace aluminum alloy. Denise Renfro, a teacher in Cumberland County, shared the success of her students who discovered the presence of perchlorates in Martian soil after investigating corrosion on Mars rover’s wheels. These students were among the first to have their experiments sent to ISS as part of this program. The winners of this year’s STEM Expo will be announced on Tuesday evening.

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