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Fundraiser Helps Launch Area Teenagers Into NASA Space Program

Mack Seidman, 13, of Mt. Kisco; Sean Wilder, 14, of Katonah; Gus Kelley, 14, of Mt. Kisco; and Joe Shea, 13, of South Salem are preparing to head to Huntsville, AL with the St. Monica Rocketry Group in April to participate in the NASA Student Launch. Photo Credit: Provided
Natalie Turner, 17, of Ridgefield; Giovanna Loizzo, 13, of Bethel; Ann Daniels, 13, of Ridgefield; Justin Daniels, 18, of Ridgefield; Ryan Stutman, 15, of Newtown. Photo Credit: Provided
John Anderson, 14, of Patterson Photo Credit: Provided

A group of teenage youths from Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties have been chosen by NASA scientists to test an experimental rocket, by sending it a mile high above Alabama in April.

St. Monica Rocketry Club finished 12th in the Nation at the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) in May 2017. Because of that high finish, NASA invited the Club to participate in the NASA Student Launch.

Youths from Mount Kisco, Katonah, South Salem, Bethel, Ridgefield and Patterson comprise the local team of middle school and high school students, which plans to send shrimp in its space "payload" to test the effects of gravity on food sources.

It's pretty competitive and most other teams are from colleges.

It's a year-long process of planning and building the rocket and planning the payload and recovery, including teleconferences with NASA scientists and staff.

The students leave for Huntsville, Ala., on April 3 and are still fundraising to cover the cost of their trip. A link to their GoFundMe page can be found by clicking here.

NASA requires the team to send an experimental "payload" a mile up into the air in Alabama.

The NY/CT team will be sending live shrimp up as the payload with a complicated cooling and ventilation system. The experiment is to see if the shrimp will survive G-force and the landing.

It takes seven years to reach Mars from Earth and having a sustainable food source is an issue.

This experiment is designed to determine if brine shrimp can survive G-Forces as well as temperature change and movement. These shrimp could then be used to feed other food that the astronauts could grow and eat like salmon.

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