Petaluma High School is racing to raise about $10,000 in the next week so that they can participate this semester in a national program where students develop microgravity research projects that, if accepted, will be launched into space next year.

“I think we’ll get there, but it’s a little tight,” said Linda Righetti Judah, a Petaluma High School teacher who has coordinated the effort to bring the project to Petaluma. Her school has started an online fundraising campaign, which you can check out here.

The Student Spaceflight Experiment Program runs through the nonprofit National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and gives students at schools around the country a chance to design real-life experiments that scientists will test out in space. Experiments range from topics like seed germination to cell growth.

This year, only 33 schools have been accepted, and Petaluma High School is one of them. One science experiment from each participating school is guaranteed a spot on the international space station the following year, so long as students meet NASA’s timelines. But to participate, Petaluma must raise $23,000. So far, it’s gathered around $13,000.

Not just 400  Petaluma High School students would benefit from the program, officials say. High school students would visit elementary and middle schools to share what they learn.

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