WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — It's not every day that second graders launch a box into space, but it could become more common thanks to the Cumberland Elementary firefly group.
Last year, we told you about their plan to test whether fireflies could glow in zero gravity.
Now, the Purdue professor who helped them make that possible, wants to give other kids a chance to push the limits of their curiosity.
The Launchbox was a part of the Blue Origins launch into space and it had something special inside of it.
“Our Purdue School Launchbox got its start when we teamed up with Cumberland Elementary School here in West Lafayette to pursue their question,” said Professor Collicott. “Their students' question was will fireflies light up in space?"
Thanks to the Launchbox and the zero gravity glow experiment, we know fireflies do light up in space.
But, why did the second graders choose fireflies? They were curious.
Collicott knows they aren't the only curious class with something to investigate.
“It's kind of an exhaustible list of things students are curious about. Whether it's magnets interacting. Whether it's springs and masses in motion. Whether it's bubbles and droplets. Whether it's cell phones. It just goes on and on what people might find interesting,” he said.
Designing the box was interesting to the students, and interesting to Collicott was the ability for students around the country to fly experiments into space.
“I think it is wonderfully simple,” said Collicott.
For any students or teachers interested in receiving a Purdue School Launchbox, Professor Collicott will send you the materials and pattern for free.
All you need is access to a 3D printer.
No fireflies were harmed during the Cumberland project, because the Zero Gravity Glow Experiment combined the chemicals that fireflies produced and put them inside syringes that were tucked into the box.
You can reach Professor Collicott at firstname.lastname@example.org