Valley high school students' experiment launched into space

This was just a few days ago when an Antares rocket from NASA launched into space. The rocket was carrying precious cargo as part of an experiment that could help make other planets capable of sustaining human life.

"The beginning of all of this was in this room on those four computers over there," Ian Anderson said.

Ian, Rian, Abi, and Devin put their minds together at Mesquite High School for the "Go for Launch" competition in February. It was a three-day camp where teams came up with a space experiment that would fit in a small cube lab and travel to the International Space Station.

"I was kinda afraid when I came to this camp because I was one of three girls here and I ended up winning, so that was even cooler," Abi Youngker said.

They won on the local and then the national level with this project; a way to test the nitrogen fixing properties of a plant in microgravity.

The hope is to reduce the need for fertilizer and provide a food source for astronauts. They started with peanuts, but ended up growing microclovers.

"The microclovers are surrounded by all the soil that's actually already moist, so you don't need as much water to make it grow," Rian Espinosa said.

Plants growing in a drastically different habitat is something that could change everything.

"Earth is getting very cramped and we're running out of resources, so we're basically destroying this planet," Espinosa said. "So eventually we will need to spread out to the starts and colonize other planets."

Ian thinks it'll be a while before that happens, but if so at least we know the future is in good hands.

"I love space and I love everything to do with engineering," Devin Askue said. "And hopefully one day, I'd like to become an aerospace engineer."

Higher Orbits