The Madison West Rocketry Team stopped by lab today!  Dr. Richard Barker led the discussion about spaceflight and plants.  In the past, Madison West Rocketry has launched plant samples in collaboration with the Gilroy lab.  Richard began by talking about gravity gradients and asked the students various questions.  “Is there such thing as zero gravity?” “No,” a student correctly responded.

madison west rocketry club

The Madison West Rocketry Club in Lab

“Some of the questions we have about plants and spaceflight can be answered in ways other than a full rocket launch to the ISS.  There are moments in rocketry where samples are subject to hypergravity,” Richard says.  He then delved into plant mechanical stimulus and showed the students a video of calcium wave signaling in plants.  Students in the Madison West Rocketry club are offered the opportunity to do a summer internship in the Gilroy Lab.

I think it’s very cool that high schoolers have the opportunity to work with NASA in high school.  The club does real research and collects real data.  I’m proud of these young scientists who have taken the initiative to perform rocketry experiments.

Let’s grow plants in space. – Kai