A Leesburg Heritage High School student will soon see her science experiment launched into space and delivered to the International Space Station after being named a winner of the “Making Space for Girls Challenge.”
The contest was sponsored by SpaceKids global in conjunction with the Girls Scouts Citrus Council of Central Florida.
Marissa Incatasciato, 15, was one of 700 girls from around the world who entered the STEAM-based competition (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). The projects were submitted in October 2020 and presented to a group of aerospace professionals for judging.
Incatasciato says she has always been interested in space, and frequently watches the Discovery Channel, but her interest grew when she attended a space camp.
“It was one of the greatest weeks of my life,” she said.
Her winning experiment seeks to use living micro-organisms to process carbon dioxide and waste on the International Space Station more efficiently than the current system.
“If the idea works, maybe it could be expanded to long ‘deep space’ missions someday,” she said.
When she was notified about winning the contest, she was told that a form of her experiment will — along with eight other winners — be loaded onto a SpaceX rocket and launched from the Kennedy Space Center to the ISS sometime between August and November.
“I was shocked and excited,” she said. “We were all so happy.”
Incatasciato has been in Girl Scouts for ten years and enjoys pursuing her passion for science.
In 2018, through the Girl Scouts’ Destinations program, she attended and graduated from Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
A year later, she and a fellow troop member earned Silver Awards — the highest award that can be earned for their Girl Scout level at that time — for teaching biology, chemistry, geology, and astronomy concepts to elementary-aged kids at a week-long day camp.
She’s also earned badges in robotics and crime solving, as well as non-science-related badges like archery, comic book artist, and woodworking.
“Girl Scouts has helped me do things I never would have thought possible at my age,” Incatasciato said.
“It’s a dream come true to have my experiment launched to the ISS,” she said. “I just hope they let me out of school to go see the launch.”
In addition to Girl Scouts, Incatasciato enjoys drama and theatre and is also a member of the Forensics Team at school.
Making Space for Girls was formed in 2019 as a partnership with SpaceKidsGlobal, a nonprofit that uses space exploration to engage children in STEAM learning, and Girl Scouts of Citrus Council. Sponsor ProxOps provided the funding to be able to send the experiments to space.
This Article firstly Publish on www.loudountimes.com