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News & Press: School News

Three Bronx Science students to place experiment aboard Space Station

Tuesday, June 4, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ben Austin
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Bronx Science Orbits the Earth

June 3, 2013

Bronx NY - A team of three students from the Bronx High School of Science has been selected to represent New York City with an experiment aboard the International Space Station. Sophomores Wei ("Henry”) Li, Alvin Wong, and Patrick Yang successfully proposed a project titled "Effect of Microgravity in Structure of the Fungus Flammulina velutipes.” 

In the wild, Flammulina velutipes, or the enoki mushroom, grows on tree trunks. The fungus uses gravity to align the cap so that released spores will land on the ground. The Li, Wong, Yang experiment is designed to test the orientation of the fungal growth in the absence of a strong gravitational signal. 

The students developed their proposal in Dr. Robert Muratore’s Sophomore Research class, part of the science research track of the Biology and Physical Science Departments under the direction of Assistant Principal Dr. Jean Donahue.

The Li, Wong, Yang experiment is one of eleven selected from over 750 submitted proposals. These projects will be ferried to the International Space Station by Space X’s Dragon spacecraft in the Fall of 2013 as part of Mission 4 of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). The SSEP on-orbit educational research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

The experiment will be carried out in a Fluid Mixing Enclosure, a small flexible tube with three compartments. Five days before returning to Earth, an astronaut aboard the space station will release a clamp allowing fungus spores to mix with growth medium. Two days before returning to Earth, an astronaut will release a second clamp allowing the developed fungus to mix with preservative. Upon the return of the experimental tube to Earth, the students will use staining techniques and microscopy to compare the space-grown fungus to that grown within similar enclosures retained on the ground. 


Robert Muratore, Ph.D.
Physical Science Department 
The Bronx High School of Science
75 West 205th St., Bronx NY 10468
718 817 7700 x2315

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