Students' chance to design experiments for International Space Station ‘launched’ in Goulburn

NEW PROGRAM: Attendees at the Goulburn Mulwaree Rotary information night about the Cuberider program. (Left, back) Ken Leach, Mick Cooper, Grant Pearce, Ian Radford, Vero Joseph, Katherine Holland, (Middle, left) Graeme Neil, Rosemary Chapman, Ben Loughman, Chintan Trivedi, John Duncan, Keith Rosaio, Ben Stein, (front, left) Bryn Skelton, Reuben Rosaio and Milli Duncan.
NEW PROGRAM: Attendees at the Goulburn Mulwaree Rotary information night about the Cuberider program. (Left, back) Ken Leach, Mick Cooper, Grant Pearce, Ian Radford, Vero Joseph, Katherine Holland, (Middle, left) Graeme Neil, Rosemary Chapman, Ben Loughman, Chintan Trivedi, John Duncan, Keith Rosaio, Ben Stein, (front, left) Bryn Skelton, Reuben Rosaio and Milli Duncan.

An initiative that could see students designing experiments for the International Space Station has been ‘launched’ in Goulburn. 

Over 30 people attended the Goulburn Soldiers Club on Monday, December 4 to hear about the exciting new educational program called Cuberider. 

Cuberider is a program that allows high school students to design and program their own experiments on software that is beamed up to the International Space Station via a radio transmission. 

Once the transmission reaches the space station, the astronauts conduct the students’ pre-programmed experiments and begin collecting all sorts of data, on temperature, luminosity, images, ultraviolet, magnetism, acceleration, and more.

Some examples of tests already conducted include variations in the Earth’s magnetic field, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and astronauts’ exposure to radiation.

The data is streamed back to Earth where the students get to analyse their results.

Sounds crazy! But it’s true and so far more than 100 experiments created by more than 1000 Australian school students have been tested by the space station. 

These experiments were launched into space from Tapan, Azerbaijan on board a HTV 6 rocket. 

The idea was presented on Monday to support the introduction of the Cuberider program into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum of high schools in Yass, Goulburn and Crookwell.

Guests from the local Rotary and Lions Service Clubs attended and learned about the program from students and teachers of Yass High School and Daramalan College (ACT). 

Goulburn Mulwaree Rotary secretary Graeme Neil said STEM programs provided students with a basic set of skills, enabling them to combine science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

“They learn these in the classroom, in a cohesive skill set, which will serve them throughout their lives, no matter what professions they may be in in the future,” Mr Neil said.

“The STEM programs are designed to enable the students to undertake professional roles, which today do not exist, but will evolve during their lifetime.

“STEM programs are undertaken as electives during years 7 to 10.”

CubeRider chief executive Solange Cunin presented the Cuberider program via Facebook to the group, explaining how the program operated. 

“This program enables the students to develop experiments, using the resources and sensors on the International Space Station with the support of the astronauts, and results from there are returned to the students for analysis," Mr Neil said.

“The experiments are developed on equipment provided by Cuberider and existing resources of the schools, with the support of the teachers.”

Yass High science master Nick Biddle and his student Milli Duncan, and Daramalan College science master Ben Stein and his students Bryn Skelton and Reuben Rosario spoke eloquently and with enthusiasm on their experiences of the Cuberider program.

Drawing on the students’ enthusiasm, Rotary and Lions clubs in attendance agreed to investigate how they could support the introduction of this STEM program into the region’s high schools.