Mars-bound Science Payloads Launched at Cumberland County STEM Expo

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

On Tuesday, the 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo took place at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Over 200 students from kindergarten through 12th grade participated in the event, representing teams from various schools across the county. The winning teams will have their science projects sent to the International Space Station as a “science payload.” Maura Richard, a student who participated in the expo, expressed her excitement about the opportunity 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 can range from simple to complex based on their interests and goals. One of the teams, 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 the Mars rover’s wheels. These students were among the first to have their experiments sent to the ISS as part of the program. The winners of this year’s STEM Expo will be announced on Tuesday evening.

On Tuesday, the 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo took place at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Over 200 students from kindergarten through 12th grade participated in the event, representing teams from various schools across the county. The winning teams will have their science projects sent to the International Space Station as a…

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