New findings from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) inspired Pine View’s science staff to bring scientists on campus to share their discoveries with students. Seven NASA individuals, specializing in the study of plants and animals, came to Pine View to further explain the findings of a new, specially-developed fertilizer.
These scientists spoke to third-and eighth-grade students in the auditorium, Friday Jan. 15 about the findings of Ed Rosenthal, a local scientist who is the CIO at the company Florikan. Florikan is a company whose employees work on developing sustainable food production systems that will be of assistance to the astronauts on the International Space System (ISS).
Eighth-grade science teacher, Marybeth Torres, was a major proponent in getting the speakers to come to Pine View. Torres first heard of this upcoming invention at Open House in Sept. During her presentation to parents, she asked if they were associated with science. “I really like to have guest speakers come in and tie our curriculum to the real world,” Torres said, “One of the parents was friendly with a scientist from the Florikan project who is working with NASA as a plasma chemist.”
Rosenthal discovered the “ingredients” a tomato plant requires for life. He found the correct balance of nutrients and compacted these substances to create a ceramic bead-like structure, that holds these nutrients. NASA heard of this and hopped on the bandwagon with support of the product. They believe the fertilizer can help facilitate life in places other than Earth. When NASA launches their trip to Mars in 2020, they are considering using the new invention. The trip will take seven months to reach the planet and the explorers will have to support themselves through growing their own food. Rosenthal will be working with the NASA scientists in this aspect. With his studies, Rosenthal has created a way for these astronauts to support themselves while in space.
The NASA speakers included: Lead Veggie Scientist Dr. Gioia, Veggie Project Manager Trent Smith, Veggie Engineer, Plant Psychologists Dr. Gary Stutte and Dr. Raymond Wheeler, and Dr. Matthew Mickens. “After the presentation, I had countless second and third grade teachers approach me to tell me about how much information their students absorbed from the presentation,” Torres said.