New Hampshire Teen Has Science Experiments Sent to Space

June 16, 2017

Julie Seven Sage, a 13-year-old from Nashua, New Hampshire, has watched the stars for years, and now she’s headed there virtually. Julie, together with members of the Clay Center Amateur Radio Club (CC-ARC) at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, MA, has six experiments that are being sent into space on a NASA sounding rocket and high-altitude balloon through an independent nonprofit program called Cubes in SpaceTM.

Cubes in SpaceTM, a program by idoodledu inc., selected six student projects from the CC-ARC for a summer launch. The program, which is a collaboration between Cubes in SpaceTM and NASA’s Langley Research Center, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Colorado Space Grant Consortium, is a global competition for students to develop Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) based experiments for launch into space via a NASA sounding rocket or a high-altitude scientific balloon mission. As part of the project, students developed and designed experiments to be integrated into a small 4-cm cube. Students are asked to use their communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity skills to write proposals for their experiments and submit them for consideration for launch. These proposals were reviewed by a team from Cubes in SpaceTM, and the students were given an opportunity to review feedback received, make changes, and resubmit their proposals for consideration.

This year, nearly 600 educators and thousands of students from 39 countries participated and proposed experiments for the missions. Among those entries, only 160 projects were selected for the launch.

Julie Sage was the student lead for the Cubes in SpaceTM program within the CC-ARC, getting 15 other youth members involved. “Being the student lead and organizer is stressful but fun,” Julie says of this opportunity.

They submitted six proposals for experiments. All six projects were accepted to fly. The students will have two projects on the sounding rocket and four on the high-altitude balloon. The kids have been working for the past six months on their experiments to get them designed and built. Julie Sage is group lead on one experiment, co-lead on three others, and has worked directly on five of the experiments. When asked how she felt about having the experiments fly into space Julie replied, “It’s so amazing because it is such a great opportunity that not a lot of people have!”

The experiment that Julie is leading deals with testing the differences between metal foam and solid metal, both made of aluminum, to shield astronauts and equipment from radiation in space and secondary radiation for return flights, or flights to Mars. Metal foam is lighter than solid metal and stronger. Julie was able to obtain some samples of a type of metal foam called SmartMetal from Isotech, Inc in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. She will compare the SmartMetal to aluminum 7075 aerospace grade solid aluminum. The radiation effects will be captured on dental x-ray film obtained with help from Paisner Dental Associates and Northeastern Pediatric Dental offices in Nashua, NH.

She is co-lead on two experiments that deal with the data error rates and the real-time effect of radiation and physics of launching on microprocessors. The other experiment where she is colead is testing the effect of radiation on 9 common fabrics for use in space tourism.

The experiments will be launched via sounding rocket on June 22nd from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia, and the high-altitude scientific balloon in September from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Julie will be attending the rocket launch at Wallops on June 22nd. On June 21st she will be presenting information about her experiments to students, teachers, organizers, and NASA employees from all over the world.

Julie Seven Sage attends Pennichuck Middle School in Nashua, NH. She has attended a program called Girls Who Code at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua where she was learning code (python, java, HTML). Julie also has her own YouTube channel called Supernova Style Science News where she talks about the latest findings, discoveries, etc. in all branches of science. The Clay Center Amateur Radio Club membership exceeds 300, made up of parents, teachers, students, and even 12 NASA astronauts who are honorary members.