Two scientific experiments planned by Israeli school students were launched to the International Space Station Wednesday, where they will be performed by zero-gravity astronauts.
The grade 8 to 10 students from schools in Holon and Mateh Yehuda Regional Council have gone through a long learning process in the past year, in which they learned about space, science and experimentation.
The culmination of the process was the launching of their experiments into space. The special program was initiated and conducted by the Israel-based NSL Satellites Ltd.
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The students from Mateh Yehuda introduced an experiment that tests the behavior of liquids with different specific weight in space. As part of the experiment that will be conducted by the ISS astronauts for the students, it will be tested whether oil and water react differently in space than to conditions on Earth, and whether the substances can be mixed together in space.
The second experiment that was sent to the ISS comes from Holon students, who aim to find out how sugar crystals behave in weightless space. The experiment will be carried out with a test tube that contains a water solution with sugar. In space, the astronaut will separate the sugar from the water and sugar crystals will be formed. The students explained that on Earth, the crystals cling to the sides of the tool or stack up like a pyramid. Their premise is that the special conditions in space will cause the crystals to form into a different geometric shape.
The experiments will reach the hands of the astronauts 24 hours after their launch from the US. The results will be brought back to Earth in a NASA flight from the ISS within a month and a half to four months.
"This is very exciting – to see an Israeli experiment in space is not a trivial matter," said Shai Tamtzin, an 8th grader from Holon. "It started with a school contest between five teams and we won first place." He said that his winning team consists of seven students, "and the work was cooperative and quite fun."
Tamtzin added that he is curious to find out what the experiment's results will be. "I am a science program student, and I love this field a lot. Truth is, I also love history and politics, and in the future I want to be prime minister."
Neta Lit, a 9th grade student from Mateh Yehuda, was also quite excited about the launching of the experiments into space. "We've been working on this project since the 7th grade, and finally the moment we have waited for has arrived."
According to her, "this is a fairly simple experiment, and personally it is very interesting. The whole field of space is relatively new to me; it is a subject that is worth investigating and discovering more things about. We eagerly wait for the results."
"The students of Israel are already touching the sky," said Menachem Kidron, director of the Israel Space Agency. "Such initiatives promote the scientific endeavor in a fun way, and encourage youths to engage in the fields of science and space in a manner that inspires and motivates."