Lakewood Teachers Await Weightlessness

Three teachers from Lakewood High School will see if they have the stomach to perform weightless experiments designed by their students. NASA's Reduced Gravity Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston accepted applications of student-generated experiments to fly on the famous "Vomit Comet" aircraft that simulates weightlessness. Lakewood was selected as one of nine schools in the U.S. to participate—the only one from California. Lakewood's student experiment is designed to determine the ratio between circular motion and the radial arm, which will create one "G" of force. The experiment will be videotaped during the flight. Lakewood students will then analyze the video to determine how fast the object was moving and what G force was created. Software will be used in this analysis. Lakewood science teachers Myles Loveall, Lindsay Penney and Aaron Volkoff were scheduled to travel to NASA's Johnson Space Center this month, but the trip was postponed to February due to recent hurricanes. The teachers will complete some of the same training as U.S. astronauts prior to making reduced-gravity flights. Loveall and Volkoff are expected to fly. Penney will serve as ground crew and flyer backup. After each day’s flight, the three adventurous teachers will hold a videoconference with their students back at Lakewood. Once their data has been analyzed, a web page completed by Lakewood students will be posted on NASA's web site to show the world the results of their experiment. The three-year partnership provides scientific and engineering adventures that engage students in learning activities that can lead to careers in science, math and technology.