A Kickstarter has opened to back a program to let students run crystal and microbe growing experiments on the ground to compare with similar experiments on the International Space Station:

Kickstarter for STEM Education Program in Space Announced
Xtronaut, NanoRacks, and DreamUp are launching two experiments to
the International Space Station and producing affordable STEM experiment
kits that let students compare their findings to results from space.

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 9, 2017 – XtronautDreamUp, and NanoRacks announce a Kickstarter campaign to offer out-of-this-world STEM educational opportunities for learners. Xtronaut Space Station connects Earth-based experiments to science done by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS), empowering students in classrooms, homes and afterschool programs to research in the stars.

The “Crystals in Space” and “Microbes in Space” ground kits are available to Kickstarter backers for $25 each. The Kickstarter campaign will run until December 9, and the kits will ship to backers in Q2 2018. More experiment kits and lessons are in production for future programs.

Each ground kit includes:

  • Experiment materials
  • Workbook with detailed instructions, lessons on space, in-depth descriptions of the science behind the experiments, fun activities, and more
  • Access to an online portal to compare the ground experiments with the experiments conducted on the ISS

“Crystals in Space” will include materials to grow sugar crystals on Earth and compare them to crystals grown in microgravity on the ISS. For “Microbes in Space,” astronauts on board the ISS will collect several samples from around the station to culture in Petri dishes. The ground experiment kits will allow learners to mimic this procedure by collecting culture samples in their homes or classrooms.

The “Microbes in Space” flight experiment is scheduled to launch November 11 on the Orbital ATK CRS-8 mission. “Crystals in Space” will launch to the ISS on SpaceX CRS-13, currently scheduled for December 4.

The Crystal Growth in Space kit is designed to teach you about the similarities and differences of crystal growth in microgravity on the ISS and in Earth’s gravity at your home or school.

The successful launch of this collaboration demonstrates yet again the robustness of the commercial pathway to space, both in industry and education. The partnership not only utilizes NanoRacks’ commercial research platforms inside the U.S. National Lab on the ISS but also DreamUp’s proven expertise in inspiring the next generation of explorers and innovators with space-based educational opportunities. Xtronaut has a track-record of delivering quality products through the Kickstarter platform, including the STEM board games, Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration, and Constellations: The Game of Stargazing and the Night Sky.

Jeffrey Manber, CEO of NanoRacks, commented,

“I’m delighted that a personal goal of mine is being met, that NanoRacks cutting-edge scientific platforms are making the ISS STEM community more accessible to everyone, including homeschooling families and other learners.“

Professor Dante Lauretta, Chief Science Advisors for Xtronaut and Principal Investigator for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx space mission, commented,

“This joint effort will create a very special learning opportunity for learners across the country, and we are pleased to work with NanoRacks, DreamUp, and their unique capabilities.”

Carie Lemack, CEO and Cofounder of DreamUp commented,

“We’re thrilled to provide a cost-effective way for students to become space scientists and engage in STEM learning, setting them on a path of exploration and scientific curiosity that can guide them both inside and beyond the classroom.”

Mike Lyon, CEO of Xtronaut, commented,

“Xtronaut, DreamUp, and NanoRacks are making space research available to all students on a low-cost basis. Students will have a special opportunity to discover the difference between conducting certain experiments on Earth and in space — and learn firsthand about special characteristics of space-based science.”

Visit the Kickstarter to learn more and reserve your Xtronaut Space Station Kit today!

The Microbes in Space kit lets student explorers learn about the different types of life growing around the ISS and compare it to small life in their environments. While astronauts are living in space, there are also other kinds of life on the ISS! However, most of this life is too small for the astronauts to see unless they help it grow. In this activity, you will perform an experiment to grow small life on Earth and compare it with the experiment conducted by astronauts on the ISS.

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