Oakland, CA

Composting In Microgravity
Oakland, CA Flight Experiment, Mission 6
Co-Principal investigators: Cithlali Hernandez, Jose
Morga, Kevin Cruz
Experimental Question:
Can Eisenia Fetida compost in microgravity?
We will send Eisenia Fetida to the ISS and look for changes in the soil
( nitrogen, pH, phosphorus)
We are looking to find out how microgravity will affect the worms and the soil
Why is it important?
Vermicomposting could help scientists on the ISS because they could use
Eisenia Fetida as a source to save them space by composting the food waste
they don’t eat.
If the Eisenia Fetida can make rich soil it could be used to plant seeds that
could provide oxygen or food.
What is Vermicomposting?
Soil and Food Waste
-The pH levels can be acidic or
basic which is not good for a plant’s
-Also this soil may not have many
The Soil
-Soil with castings will be
mixed thoroughly and
have a neutral pH as
well as high levels of
The Worms
-The worms will burrow in the soil,
eating organic material
-Worm’s casting will have a
pH of 7 (neutral) and can
have high levels of nutrients
How are we going to test this?
We are sending 2 Eisenia Fetida in a type 2 FME with water and nutrients to survive.
Astronauts will mix the two sections, mixing the eggshells and the worms.
2 Eisenia Fetida
4.0 grams of potting soil
Oakland tap water
1 cubic inch of
1 crushed eggshell
3 mL of Oakland tap
The ground truth experiments
Experiments to test worm survival in an FME:
- Tested different amounts of water,soil, eggshells and newspaper to determine the right amounts for
worm survival
Control Experiment:
-While the experiment is in flight we will run a simultaneous experiment in our classroom
-The ground experiment will be our control so it will be exactly the same (2 Eisenia Fetida and the food wastenewspaper and eggshells, also the soil and the water)
-By running a ground experiment we will have an experiment to compare and contrast both the ground and the
microgravity experiment
-The ground experiment will help us determine what Eisenia Fetida can do in microgravity compared to earth
How will we measure the results?
-We will measure our results by using a soil tester (will determine how much eggshells and pieces of
newspaper was turned into soil). This will test for amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
- We will test before flight and after flight for both the ground and microgravity experiment
- We will measure pH using a pH tester so we can compare and contrast both the composted soil from
microgravity and Earth to see how neutral the pH is.
Hypothesis and Possible Results
Our Hypothesis is:
Eisenia Fetida will have the same effect on soil composition and pH in microgravity as they do on Earth.
Possible Outcomes:
Eisenia Fetida have the
same effect in microgravity
proving our hypothesis to
be true
Soil composition
does not change
Eisenia Fetida can be used on the ISS and
by future space travelers as a composting
source and to create rich soil
Eisenia Fetida cannot
survive in microgravity
under the conditions we
put them in (small
space, limited
Eisenia Fetida can survive, but don’t
change the soil composition in the same
way due to microgravity
Many Thanks to our Community Partners
Subaru of America
Center for the Advancement of Science in Space
Philanthropic Venture Fund
Superintendent Dr. Gary Yee
East Bay Community Foundation
Urban Promise Academy
Rogers Family Foundation
Oakland Unified School District
Nasa Ames Scientists:
Jacob Cohen
Sarah Mitchell
Ann Kapusta

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