Big Island boy sends experiment into space

Published On: Jan 09 2014 09:03:00 PM HST

A Waiakea middle school student saw his science experiment launched into space on Thursday.

Click here to watch Kenny Choi's report.

He's one of just a select few who had the chance to be a part of the latest space trip to the international space station.

As a sixth grader, Josh Ebesugawa wanted to see how soybeans would grow in space. 

"They're always sending up food to the International Space Station.  I wanted to see how we can lessen the costs and not send up as much food up there," said Ebesugawa.

He won a science competition for his idea and was promised his experiment would be blasted off into space.

When the Orbital Sciences Antares Rocket launched this morning 8:07 a.m. Hawaii time, it was a moment Josh had been waiting for a long time.

"It’s rare and almost surreal when it happened,” said Ebesugawa.

Realizing the rising costs of space exploration and tight budgets, Josh came up with the idea for the experiment and then got help from a University of Hawaii Hilo science professor for some advice.

“What impressed me was how he would identify a real world problem and then figure out a way to address it with his experiment,” said Dr. Steven Colbert. 

"Soybeans are a complete protein.  They grow quickly and have all the Amino acids you need," said Ebesugawa.

Once the spacecraft Cygnus attached to the rocket returns from the International Space Station late next month, Ebesugawa will then have a chance to compare the growth of the soybeans inside the little tube to soybeans here on earth.

“He’s very dedicated.  He would at times conduct experiments with me for  four hours at a time.  He had the tenacity to keep it up,” said Colbert.



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