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STEM in space – final frontier for South Australian students

29 May 2017

In an Australian-first, the International Space Station has begun preparations to host 3 STEM experiments created by South Australian public school students.

The SA Schools Space Mission will use high-tech sensors and receptors to stream data back to South Australian schools for recording and analysis over a 12 month period.

The size of the SA Schools Space Mission will be a combined 1 kilogram and fit into a 4 litre compartment.

DECD’s Advanced Technology Project Manager Dr Sarah Baker said this is a fantastic and rare opportunity for South Australian school students to become involved in a ground-breaking project, it really is very exciting.

“There is a big focus on Mars at the moment and plenty of thought is going into how and if the planet could be terra formed so it will become habitable for humans,” Dr Sarah said.

“Not all suggestions are complex, something as simple as establishing lichen on Mars, which when growing would release oxygen into the atmosphere, is something that is already being investigated.”

Every public school in South Australia will have the opportunity to submit an experiment via an Expression of Interest followed by an evaluation and feedback process. Professional industry expertise will be available to assist students and teachers prepare their submissions and designs.

Schools may also form partnerships with other schools to submit entries, which will be adjudicated by a panel of experts.

All applicants will submit multimedia presentations to be showcased at the 68th International Astronautical Congress to be held in Adelaide from September 25 to 29.

Six presentations will then be shortlisted before the 3 successful entries are selected.

The state government will provide $80,000 to cover the cost of the SA Schools in Space Mission, which includes $50,000 for transportation of the science experiments and $30,000 towards associated student learning improvement.