MINNEAPOLIS - Don't blame 16 Minnehaha Academy students if their heads are in the clouds the next few days.
It's where the fruits of months of hard work is.
"We're just drying paint in space," jokes junior mechanical engineer, Max Thompson.
Today marked the blastoff for their micro-experiment, one of eight nationwide that is headed to the International Space Station.
Their subject: Polymers.
"Polymers are huge, they're basically everything...they're rubber, adhesives, and here, paint," explains Thompson.
With help from several industry professionals, the students joke they will watch the paint dry. But it's much more exciting than that.
"There's a lot of different temperatures that the polymers can coalesce at. That's what we call it, coalescing. And it's actually the evaporation of water which makes all of the molecules compress. How are these molecules forming in space versus here on earth," says Senior Project Leader Ashley Lundeen.
One big challenge: It's a micro-experiment... micro being a key component.
Lundeen says the micro lab is 2x2x4 inches as Thompson points out a motor, heater, thermostat, fan and more, all precisely organized in the tiny compartment.
So was the experiment ready for blast off?
According to software engineer Seamus Jones, "We still have a couple things to sort out, but I'm a lot less nervous now that everything's sort of coming together and we're getting things built."
An inspired Jones tells us, "This is something I can do, even as a high schooler."
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