It was a dark and stormy night on June 1st, 2014...
We began this process eagerly, not anticipating any serious issues. We were searching for a type of circuit board to send up, and Mrs. Voigt found a Saturn V circuit board that we thought could fit the bill. We planned to cut it to specification, resolder, stuff it into the Fluid Mixing Enclosure (FME), and be on our way. How naive we were.
Dr. Goldstein did not like our revisions at all. Before sending the final versions to NASA Toxicology, a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) must be acquired for every single sample. Goldstein doubted that we could find one for the Saturn V circuit board. He called and said that if we couldn’t get our experiment together, he’d take the second place team. The euphoria from being chosen the day before changed to horror as we began to fight for our spot on the International Space Station (ISS).
Right as he called, a thunderstorm rolled in out of nowhere. Flash flooding. Hail. Lightning. Mrs. Voigt had to run out to the parking lot to move the other teachers’ cars so they wouldn’t be flooded out. The ceiling was leaking in about every room. Kids were running around putting buckets beneath all the leaks and stuffing towels under the doors to keep the water out.
The flooding got so bad that all of the students had to be moved from the classroom trailers to the main building. There were 300 of us shoved into the cafeteria and a few classrooms. It was chaos. In the midst of that pandemonium we had to fight for our spot on the ISS, in the same room as the second place team who was fighting for that same spot. The second place team-- Cosmic Radiation’s Effect on Hytrel Polymers-- was a strong proposal and a formidable opponent.
We started working at around 2 pm and kept working until around 8 pm as the rain and hail continued, sending up round after round of revision. After each round, we would all huddle around the phone, waiting for Goldstein’s response. Finally, after several hours and countless revisions, Goldstein accepted our experiment and the Hurricane subsided.