Students launch rockets for science

BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) – They often say, “it’s not rocket science,” but for college students in northeast Arkansas, that saying was taken at face value.

According to a Thursday, Nov. 10, press release, Lyon College sophomores Taylor Mitchell, Braden Glenn, and Katherine Hunter blasted off this semester as part of their rocket research program.

Led by Dr. David Thomas, WD Bryan professor of biology, the rocket group was recruited into Thomas’s research team in early summer.

“Students have always been part of my research program,” Thomas said. “I recruited the current students in their first year, so I hope to have them in the lab for several years to come. »

Hunter, alongside her other two rocket scientists, is a biology student, so what she said might seem a bit strange at first.

“It might seem unconventional for biology majors to spend time researching, building and launching rockets,” Hunter said. “But the information we collect matches well with what we learn in our classrooms and labs.”

Lyon said the goal of the program is to collect microbes from different altitudes and return them safely for examination. Students learn to design and build rockets to safely incorporate science payloads.

The students also attended a four-day workshop at Southern Arkansas University over the summer where they designed, built, and launched high-powered rockets, earning Level 1 high-power certification themselves.

“In a high-powered rocket camp, everyone was an engineer. So being the only kids in biology launching rockets was new,” Glenn said.

You can find more information about the program by emailing Thomas at [email protected]

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