NASA rocket to launch Illawarra students' experiment into space

Students Damon Rackham, Taya Jenkins and Jasmin Jia eagerly await the results of their experiment, which will be launched into space in a rocket by NASA next month. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Students Damon Rackham, Taya Jenkins and Jasmin Jia eagerly await the results of their experiment, which will be launched into space in a rocket by NASA next month. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

A mini experiment developed by students at Mount Ousley Public School will be launched into space aboard a NASA rocket next month.

Jasmin Jia, Damon Rackham and Taya Jenkins will measure the effect or otherwise of zero gravity on a magnet when their experiment is sent 110 kilometres into space as part of an international project.

The students created a box with iron filings magnetically attached to a red magnet.

They will find out whether zero gravity will affect the magnet by weakening or eliminating its power.

Damon, aged 11, said he was looking forward to the results.

"We think the magnet will work differently," he said.

"I don't think it will be as strong and it might let go of a couple of the iron filings."

The students were the only Australians selected, joining 99 other schools from across the globe involved in the project.

Assistant principal Neil Bramsen said the opportunity was too good to pass up, especially as the school's space science program helped "hook" children into liking science and maths.

"I know schools that have paid up $20,000 to get an experiment [into space]," he said.

"We want the kids to do authentic and real learning and through NASA it's a powerful learning experience."

Mr Bramsen said 21st century learning meant establishing global connections and looking beyond the boundaries of school to learn.

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