BILLINGS – Central High School’s advanced placement biology class may seem like a normal class looking at cells through microscopes and heating up solutions.
However, these students are actually working with NASA in the HUNCH program.
HUNCH stands for “High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware.”
“My kids are coming up with experiments to run in microgravity to asking questions relevant to space travel.”
Biology teacher Debora Wines’s class is split into two teams.
One researches how fruit flies react to alcohol in a microgravity environment. The other group looks at how to best grow algae in space to produce oxygen and minimize carbon dioxide.
The students, like Sammy Elliott, say the results of their research will have real life applications.
“Astronauts in microgravity might take pharmaceuticals or other drugs and it might metabolize different in microgravity because of the enzyme activity.”
The students create and run their own experiments with help from HUNCH’s reduced gravity experiments project manager Florence Gold and Dr. Wines.
“I think they have learned an enormous amount about how to generate ideas and then follow through in development. This is a very real life experience,” Wines said.
The students agree. James Dilts sees the experience helping him in the future.
“I intend on going to a science-related field. At any research lab, you’re going to be studying something that’s never been done before, that’s never been studied before. And so there isn’t really a book of rules that you need to follow. You have to make up your own rules and design your own experiment like we’ve been doing.”
The class will fly to Houston’s Johnson Space Center in April to test the projects.Central High Students Research, Debora Wines, Sammy Elliott, Watch The Video <BR/>