ONE STEP OFFBy Emily Lakehomer
PSU goes into orbit
Outer space is just a pipe dream for a lot of us. The opportunity to be involved with researching the cosmos is one that, sciences majors or not, we’d love to have. Launch rockets, find constellations and then do stuff that astrophysicists and astronauts actually do.
The dream has become a reality for some Portland State students.
Miles Sanguinetti/VANGUARD STAFF
Earlier this month, PSU announced that research experiments crafted by students would be launched into space. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will conduct the actual experiments, but PSU will get a clear view of what’s going on via satellite feed.
Testing will consist mainly of exploring the behavior of liquids in zero gravity. The results could impact the way we design fuel systems as well as future forms of transportation and spacecraft.
When you think about NASA involving itself with a university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology probably comes to mind first.
Think again. PSU is one of the few schools in the country to have direct contact with NASA.
That PSU involved itself with such an exciting experiment offers hope for the continuation of space research. NASA has been facing budget cut after budget cut for years.
Many argue that the U.S. needs to concentrate on the home front. There is some truth to that; however, many of NASA’s research results have provided leaps and bounds in advancement for the medical, airline and
Earlier this year, NASA was forced to cancel two of its more ambitious missions—the Mars launches planned for 2016 and 2018—because of budget cuts. Both missions were important to the continuation of our exploration of the cosmos, but in this economic climate some things just aren’t meant to be.
Now that PSU has conquered the final frontier, is another space odyssey in the future? Maybe so, depending on this mission’s results.
Little information is known beyond that. If the experiments are indeed successful, who knows? This could be the beginning of a space program based within PSU. How cool would that be?
Now that we’ve launched a science experiment into space, what’s next? Those of us with lined pocketbooks could be sending art, literature, film and other mementos of our culture and ourselves into space.
That’s a pretty awesome time capsule.
Of course, the space station doesn’t exist for our entertainment. But if things keep going well and space flights become financially accessible to the public, who knows what will happen. You might end up proposing to your future spouse in zero gravity.
If the results are positive, hopefully this won’t be the last time PSU and NASA work together. Maybe next time they launch a shuttle into space they’ll include one of my essays.