Students SHINE in Space

A Haileybury student’s tooth was sent into space as part of the second Swinburne Haileybury In Space Experiment (SHINE).

Students recently watched their experiment take off with Haileybury CEO | Principal Mr Derek Scott and their Swinburne University of Technology counterparts.

SHINE is a collaboration between the Haileybury Senior School’s Science Department and Swinburne’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.

The second SHINE experiment launched from Wallops Island, Virginia, aboard an Antares rocket at 6.46am (AEST) on its way to the International Space Station (ISS).

The SHINE team watched NASA’s live broadcast of the blast off in the Virtual Reality Theatre at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus.

SHINE began in 2017 and sees Haileybury students design, build and program their own microgravity experiment.

Swinburne mentors act as expert consultants and use their knowledge to help complete advanced tasks. Swinburne staff manage the team and provide cutting-edge facilities.

Last year’s experiment tested the effects of micro-gravity on magnetorheological (MR) fluid, which is attracted to a magnetic presence and used in many industrial machines.

SHINE sent a 10cm NanoLab container of fluid into space to see how it behaved.

The experiment docked at the ISS for a month. Astronauts recorded data, including pictures that told them how well they could control the MR fluid in space.

Six Haileybury students came up with this year’s idea of observing the effects of microgravity on tooth decay.

Team Microcavity tried to recreate the human mouth environment inside a 12x5x5 cm container. Junior Haileybury students donated their baby teeth.

The team designed the electrical components and software program to drive the experiment, which was due to remain on the ISS for 30 days. Astronauts sent data back to the SHINE team.

Mr Scott enjoyed the launch viewing and is extremely proud of the work undertaken by the Swinburne and Haileybury team.

“It was most exciting and a real thrill to see the deep student engagement with the project,” the CEO | Principal says. “We now keenly await the ‘data dumps’ from the ISS which will enable the students to assess the bacteria growth and compare it with a control experiment on Earth.

“This project is the result of a great partnership between Haileybury, Swinburne and NASA and smart, dedicated students working with committed staff. A special thank you to Dr Kyi Muller who has headed up the project.”