ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- East High chemistry teacher Mary Courtney recently submitted a proposal to be included in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. To her surprise, it was accepted.
East High is one of twenty-one schools in the U.S. and Canada selected to participate. It's the only entry from New York State.
Students did research and submitted proposals of their own, and three of them were selected to be part of NASA's Mission 11.
"At first, I just thought it was classwork," said Binti Mohamed, a senior. "Me, De'Aunte and Tailor, we were just working on it together. When I found out we were picked to go to space, I was so happy."
De'Aunte Johnson is the co-principal investigator of this project. In other words, he's in charge.
The group tossed around a number of ideas and settled on an experiment they call "The Effect of Microgravity on the Deterioration of Chlorophyll in Phytoplankton." The idea behind the experiment is to see how microgravity affects the decay of chlorophyll inside plants versus gravity on Earth.
The microscopic plant phytoplankton was chosen because it's responsible for nearly 50 percent of the Earth's oxygen.
"How long they can survive in space in certain conditions would maybe be a great thing to know if we need any oxygen on different planets, maybe we need some oxygen on the space station, maybe we could produce our own oxygen on the space station without having to ship air up to the space station just so people can survive," said Johnson, a senior.
The students have no idea what outcome of this experiment will be or what condition the phytoplankton will be in when they return to Earth.
"I hope it lives. It would be cool if it did because we would be the first ones to experience them living without sunlight," said Tailor Davis, a junior.
The East High experiment is scheduled to blast off into space in June.