Sumter middle school sent photos of Hurricane Florence from astronaut aboard space station

Alice Drive Middle School students had experiment performed in spaceflight program


Hurricanes can be scary and dangerous, but one middle school in Sumter received an awe-inspiring glimpse of the monster storm that is on its way to South Carolina.

Alice Drive Middle School received an email from Jeff Goldstein, who is the director of the Student Space Flight program, that included photos of Hurricane Florence taken from astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

A team of four girls at the school – seventh-graders Alana Garrick and Mary Brooke Mooneyham and sixth-graders Alyse King and Ashlin Farmer – were selected in January for a student spaceflight program that launched an experiment they developed up to the space station to test. They were one of only 31 schools in the U.S., Canada and Brazil to be selected.

Mission 12 spaceflight astronauts lifted off in June with the team’s experiment aboard – it tested whether sodium polyacrylate could be used in space for seed germination and plant growth by testing the effects of microgravity on vegetable seeds in a sodium chemical mixture.

They found out in August it worked.

On Thursday, as the middle schoolers and all other public school students throughout Sumter and 25 other counties had a hurricane-induced vacation from school – starting Tuesday and until further notice – Goldstein sent an email with photos of Florence, which Sumter School District posted on Facebook.

The post also said that Astronaut Ricky Arnold, who performed the experiment on the space station over the summer, tweeted, “The crew is thinking of those who will be affected.”