Kayla Murphy, an eighth-grade student from Peshtigo, Wisconsin, recently saw her idea for an experiment launch into space. She was chosen as one of the winners of the “Making Space for Girls Challenge,” a competition made possible by the partnership of SpaceKids Global and Girl Scouts Citrus Council. On August 28, her experiment departed Kennedy Space Center in the SpaceX launch heading for the International Space Station.
Kayla’s project was intended to evaluate plant growth patterns in space and zero-gravity environments. “I had an idea to grow peppers in space because I grew peppers hanging upside down in a bucket last year and they did better than my peppers in the garden,” she said. This simple observation led to her entering the challenge, and after review by a panel of judges with ties to the space industry, her experiment will run aboard the International Space Station for 30 days while she compares the control experiment back on Earth to the results.
A diverse group of girls participated in this challenge – the first one to be hosted by the partnering organizations. There were 700 entries from across the United States, as well as entries from a few other countries. Participating girls entered ideas and projects into one of three different categories: science experiments, essays, or art.
“Through Girl Scouts, girls experience so many opportunities to transform their ideas into action and grow their confidence through once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and they have fun doing it,” said Patti Shafto-Carlson, CEO for Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. “I loved everything about this experience,” Kayla remarked, “and ended up with some cool patches for my uniform too!”