Wapato students participate in NASA project - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wapato students participate in NASA project

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WAPATO, WA - Imagine being a teenager working on a project for NASA - a project that could help astronaut when they're in outer space. Well several Wapato students have been doing just that.

Wapato High School students are realizing their hard work is paying off. The students were in Houston, Texas as 1 of 75 groups that were invited to go to the NASA Johnson Space Center to present their NASA HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) project.

The project is called "Apples in Space."

"What we are trying to do is preserve the apple longer in the International Space Station," said Luis Moreno, a 9th grader at Wapato High School.

A number of Wapato High School students have been working on the project since 2014. This group jumped on board since the beginning of the school year and tested the project using three different hypotheses. 

"The three sets of projects are the vacuum sealed bags, our regular containers, and our apple gas containers," said Carlos Romero, a 9th grader at Wapato High School.

The students placed apples in all three of the settings and went every week to the research and development lab Argofresh provided to check on the apples, and they say there were definitely some challenges.

"The vacuum-sealed apples tasted alcoholic, they were fermented," said Romero. "Tastes disgusting."

They also dealt with equipment breaking, but they say the challenges prepared them for the presentation.

"I think for the most part it went really smooth," said Carlos Trejo, an 11th grader at Wapato High School. "We got to present our ideas to a variety of people and they all had the same expression of, 'wow, your research is amazing.'"

Out of all their scenarios, the apples kept in apple gas proved to remain fresh. The group says there is still a lot of work to be done, which they'll get back to once they return from Houston.