- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Astronauts and three fifth-grade girls are teaming up to grow soybeans in space.

Astronauts traveling to the International Space Station in 2017 are planning to grow the soybeans in small tubes and send the results to the young scientists in Henderson, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/29oOjQ4).

A national competition chose almost a dozen student projects for testing.

John C. Vanderburg Elementary School students Shani Abeyakoon, Kendall Allgower and Avery Sanford want to know whether protein-rich soybeans can grow in space to feed astronauts and, perhaps, future residents of Mars.

“There’s a very strong possibility people will be living on Mars,” Avery said.

The fifth-graders wrote their proposal with the help of teacher William Gilluly.

“This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. . It’s extraordinary,” he said. “Scientists in the future can take their data and continue it.”

Clark County School District coordinator Cheryl Wagner said scientists, educators, businesses and nonprofits helped about 300 students compete from the Las Vegas area.

Wagner helped raise $23,500 for the experiment’s launch.

The three fifth-graders plan to pursue their research in middle school.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

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