Out-of-this-world chance for students

Transition year students are being invited to look to the stars as part of a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to design an experiment and test it in space.

Kieran Ryan, Emma Cosgrave, and Alan Nicholas of Castletroy College, Limerick, help launch 'The Only Way is Up' IComp research competition.

The Irish Centre for Composites Research (IComp), based at the University of Limerick, through its partnership with NanoRacks LLC, is offering one lucky team of transition year students the opportunity to send their research to the International Space Station.

The project, entitled The Only Way is Up, will be the first of its kind in Irish history. The research will be tested in space for 30 days orbiting the earth.

The microgravity experiment will fly to the ISS on board a launch vehicle, scheduled for autumn 2014.

Norah Patten, communications and outreach manager in IComp and project leader, said: “We need to use innovative and exciting methods to foster and nurture interest in Stem [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education and space provides an excellent platform to achieve this.

“By giving students the opportunity to fly an experiment in space, they can delve into a really exciting area of research and develop skills and enthusiasm at a critical time in their studies. The NanoRacks MixStix experiment involves mixing two components in space whereby the MixStix is activated by an astronaut on the ISS. For example, an epoxy hardening experiment tested in space would show the effects of the microgravity environment compared to Earth.”

* For more, log on to www.icomp.ie

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