Students Taking on the Plant the Moon Challenge to Connect with NASA Space Station Astronaut

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara replaces hardware inside the Plant Habitat facility to prep for future experiments investigating genetic responses and immune system function of tomatoes in microgravity. Image Credit: NASA

Students participating in the Plant the Moon Challenge will have an opportunity to connect to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. The Earth-to-space call will air live 1:05-1:25 p.m. ET. , Tuesday, January 9, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara[DK2]  will answer prerecorded questions from students from VirginiaNorth CarolinaSouth CarolinaWest VirginiaFlorida, and Puerto Rico. The event, hosted by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, will include participants from middle and high schools in all six locations. Students will be given the opportunity to attend space-related presentations, participate in hands-on activities, and attend the event. 

The International Space Station Downlink is an opportunity for students and teachers to learn first-hand about living and working in space, what life is like for an astronaut in microgravity, and how to translate the research happening in space into their everyday lives, PTMC projects, and classrooms.

Laughlin Memorial Chapel Girl Scout Troop 10467 is participating in the PTMC through a partnership with six Space Grant Consortia. The partnership is a NASA-funded regional project to expand the reach of the challenge to underserved and underrepresented STEM students in the six partnering states: 

The NASA Space Grant Regional Expansion Project builds on the Plant the Moon Challenge by providing additional support to educators, free lunar regolith simulant kits, teacher stipends, enhancement activities, special awards, and expanded educator professional development. The project is expected to engage more than 13,000 students in PTMC over the next three years.

The Plant the Moon Challenge is a program of the Institute for Competition Sciences.

All students, teachers, parents, administrators, community leaders, and media from the participating school districts are invited to attend.

Media interested in covering the event should contact Kristyn Damadeo, Communications Coordinator, Virginia Space Grant Consortium, [email protected] or (757) 766-5210.