San Diego HS Students Watch as Science Experiment Blows Up on Way to Space

A group of San Diego high school girls watched a science experiment they spent a year working on explode on its way to space Sunday morning.

The unmanned SpaceX rocket at Cape Carnaveral, an attempt to resupply the International Space Station, blew up two minutes after takeoff Sunday.

Student Piper Langer Weida sat at home that morning, watching the rocket crash. Weida was part of a 15 person team of high school girls from schools around San Diego County and worked together as a part of The Youth Space Institute.

“I initially didn't believe it, I thought it was not true, and then after that I was pretty disappointed,” Weida said. “It was tough to see; I saw the rocket exploded and thought, ‘there goes that year.’"

The team of girls that completed a toilet paper roll-sized experiment using 3D printed parts to investigate how liquids like silicon would react in space. Their project was one of a few that boarded the SpaceX rocket to the station. 

“It kind of felt like Thomas Edison and the light bulb and we took different parts and we printed them and we saw if it could fit together,” Weida said.

The girls hoped their work would lead the way to eventually creating silicon computer chips in space. Their work was even displayed at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

“The purer the silicon chip, the faster the computer can be,” she explained.

Though she was sad to see the rocket explode, she said working with her team and the failure taught her many lessons.

“That's what impressed me the most they worked hard they had a lot of internal struggles in the beginning and they were able to solve them and get it done,” said Myles Weida, her father.

The girls said they will not let the explosion discourage them. Sunday night, they held a space-themed celebration at Piper’s house.

“I just love the fact that I can go out there and make someone else's life better and the world a better place to live in,” said Weida. “I also love the problem solving, like there are these two sides to the same issue. How can we make them meet up and make something better with them."

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