TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An experiment two years in the making is finally going to liftoff. After being chosen to participate in the Student Space Flight Experiments Program, four Bullard High School Students have completed the final stage of their experiment…on Earth.
"This project has been going for a long time and to finally get it into space is thrilling," says Raelee Walker, a participant in the program.
"Today we got to pack the FME tubes that are actually going to be sent into space," says Emma Rhyme, another participant in the program. "We are taking potatoes that are naturally blight resistant on earth and putting them up in space to see if they're still blight resistant up in space."
Blight resistant means that it is naturally resistant to the potato blight fungus which caused the potato famine. This afternoon, two of the students packed the tubes with everything needed to test a potato's resistance to fungus in zero gravity. The girls are hoping this experiment will help prevent an incident like the Irish potato famine from happening at the International Space Station.
"If they're going to start growing more sustainable foods up in the space station for the astronauts, we need to make sure that their food sources are protected," says Rhyme.
For the girls, landing this experiment wasn't easy.
"We had a lot of practice hours taking field trips to UT to have workdays," says Walker.
The tubes are heading up to space in about three weeks and will remain there to be tested for 28 days.
"Once the other one gets back, we'll finish our research by looking at the one that was in space and the one that was on earth and compare and contrast," says Walker.
Bullard High School is one of only 20 schools nationwide who had the opportunity to send experiments to the International Space Station.
Rhyme says she's very grateful and that the experience helped her to 'grow'.