At What Rate will Algae Reproduce in  a Micro Gravitational Setting ? (Mission 7 to ISS)

1.) For our experiment, we have chosen to research Petaluma’s high school’s grade 12 winners. Their experiment is “At What Rate Will Algae Reproduce in a Micro Gravitational Setting Versus on Earth.”

1.a) who: Grade 12 students form Petaluma High School located in Petaluma, California. The students who participated in this experiment were  Morgan Giraud &  Tara Thomas. flagellated/SCENEDESMUS/Scenedesmus_Image_page.html (Picture below, Scendesmus)

What:  In their summery, th ey talk about how microalgae can produce a lot of oil, and some algae can produce 77% of oil. Because most algae need light to grow, for their experiment the used scendesmus, which is an algae that can grow without sunlight. These algae can grow only on glucose and can still reproduce. The study is looking for differences in the biomass reproduction in space compared to how it reproduces on earth. It can also be used to compare the amount of oil produced. With the problem of scarce none renewable resources in the world today they hope that this could help with future resource

Where: The grade 12 students created this experiment from Petaluma, California.

When: This experiment won a spot on mission 7 to ISS it left earth on April 8th, 2016 and returned back to earth with results on May 11th, 2016.

Why:  They thought it was important to study different places that algae can grow so they can make the most of where it can grow faster and better. They want to prove that if they can show that algae can grow faster in space then they should continue to do so instead of on earth.

algae-cells-0001-qualitas-health                                                                        (Picture on the Right, Algae in a microscope)

Background Information:

-Micro algae bio mass can be used to produce bio fuel, animal food, and dietary supplements
-Micro algae produces an average of 5000-15000 gallons of oil per acre per year
-because light is not available in the payload box on the ISS they have chosen a heterotrophic strain of -algae that can can reproduce with no sun light.
-Scenedesmus is an algae used in biofuel production that can only survive and reproduce on glucose
-most algae reproduce by mitosis
-micro algae or microscopic algae grow either in marine or fresh water systems
it must be provided light to survive or reproduce
-it is determined that algae reproduce faster in micro gravitational setting.

c.) with the control group being the students and the experimental group being astronauts in space doing the experiments. the difference between the two were that the control group did the normal experiment on earth. they took the algae and grew it in the dark and observed how fast it grew the nutrients it produced etc. the soon realized that after doing the experiment in the ISS it was proven that algae grew and produced faster in a micro gravitational setting.

d.) We just recently contacted our groups school asking for information and they replied saying that, the students just recently got information back and they are still awaiting on tests. they said that they would come in contact with our group sometime this week.

2.) We think that the gr12’s from Petaluma’s High school’s topic of “At What Rate Will Algae Reproduce in a Micro Gravitational Setting Versus on Earth.” won because of their reasoning. There was another group that didn’t win with the same topic, and so we read the briefing of that experiment as well. The proposal that won was very well described and had a solid idea. Everything that they said was leading up to or about the exact topic. As well as their topic was very specific on their idea. They had everything extremely well thought out and planned, where as the other wasn’t as clear. Also their experiment was about helping produce more oil/how fast it can reproduce. They said that their experiment was meant to help future research and the worlds future resources because of the small amount of important resources in the world. Because of that reasoning I think that it gave the SSEP a clear reason choose them because  it is smart and resourceful but also makes sense and can be used in the future if successful.