Skills21 Business, Technology, Science, and Math
Our project addresses the theme of Fresh Perspectives by finding a new solution to the current problem of plant growth in micro-gravity. By using centrifugal force to create artificial gravity, we can eliminate the problems associated with the current method of growing plants, the Plant Pillow developed by NASA.
The main problem is the cost of constantly sending these Plant Pillows to space, which currently costs a bit over $1,000 per pillow to launch to the International Space Station. Our project only needs to be sent to the Space Station one time, and can be used hundreds of times, and seeds can simply be re-planted after harvesting.
Our written documentation has extensive explanations of each aspect of our project. We have included lots of market research collected from over 100 respondents in our school and our community. However, as we have not yet finished our experimentation, our scientific summary has not been posted to the document. As the experiment finishes, we will be updating our science lab report, as well as our written documentation. We have also written a press release which we hope to release to a local newspaper to raise awareness about our project and product. We have also added our research and citation documents at the bottom of the written documentation.
Throughout our project we have been making mathematical projections on estimates of our design. We had to first figure out the formula for centrifugal force, and we programmed a centrifugal force calculator to help us along the way. However, these initial projections are merely estimates as our prototype has not been constructed as of now, and we do not have the actual values, such as the mass of the prototype, mass of plants, etc. Our prototype is not finished as we do not have all of the materials, but we have ordered them all. We will be building the prototype in a week or so, and plan to bring the completed model to Expo. Once we have completed the prototype, we will be able to release more exact values. You can also find more information of centrifugal force on our full research document, and visual diagrams on our how it works page.
Research & Development
We have conducted lots of research towards current space exploration, the growth of plants from seed to maturity, and centrifugal force. For a look at our research, check out our full length research document.
In our science experiment, we investigated both the effect that an alternation of light has on plants, and the use of a nutrient gradient. However, our experimental data is not fully complete as of May 1, 2017, so our science lab report is not yet completed. We are almost done with the data collection of our third and final experiment, and shall be posting our results as soon as the experiment is finished.
Our team has also started development of a fully working prototype design which is only a fraction of the size of the machine which would be used on the International Space Station. To learn more about our prototype, look at our prototype / design page which includes initial schematics, pictures, and videos of our prototype in action. We plan to bring this product to ExpoFest for others to see and enjoy.
Website & Social Media
Our team Launchpad is completed with thoughtful, extensive answers for each question. Our social media pages, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, are all updated frequently with posts on our progression, or other information we want our audience to know. We update these nearly everyday, and engage with members of our community as well as followers. We believe that the more followers that we have on these social media accounts, will increase our range of influence.
Our website was also a key factor here, as it is where we have lots, if not all of, the information on our product. We found it necessary to have a theme for the website that is both minimalistic and easy to navigate. We at G2 understand the difficulty of our project, and know that it may be tricky for some to fully understand. We felt that if the website was free from distractions, minimalistic, and easy to navigate for the average person, our concept and project could be understood by everyone. With this amount of understanding, we hope that people can easily get behind our project and support us.
Research & Development (cont.)
Our mentor, Dr. Gioia Massa, a NASA plant scientist at Kennedy Space Center, has been in communication with us since the very beginning of our project development. We have recently interviewed her, and have gained lots of useful information, including developments of other methods of micro gravitational plant cultivation, current testing, and her input on our project.
She has been a huge help in the development of our project, and gave us good insight on problems we may run into in along the way.
Marketing & Image
In this website we designed a logo which has been revised many times to make sure we represent ourselves in a modern, professional way. We have uploaded many pictures of the development process of our prototype, and the blueprints and schematics which we also drew out before designing. Our team has also included pictures of our experiment in our media page. We have an animation of our centrifugal crop system spinning using centrifugal force with help from a motor. Another animation we have, is the difference of plant roots growing both in space without gravity, and plants growing with gravity. Our videographers have been working very hard to create a promotional video/documentary which is very easy to follow.
The problem with the Plant Pillow, is that it can only be used once, and then you need to throw it away, which is not sustainable. Our product, G2, solves this issue as it is very innovative and sustainable. Although the cost to ship this machine into space will be expensive, it is a machine that can be used hundreds of times. We can send the G2 machine into space only once, and it can be very easily fixed because we have utilized interchangeable parts in our design.