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NASA Selects Hudson H.S. Girls For Project

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) – A group of five girls from Hudson Middle School in Wisconsin are now considered the best in the country. So much so that NASA came calling.

The space agency challenged the nation’s middle-schoolers to design and build a water purification system to be used on the moon. The team of five from Wisconsin came out on top.

The girls named the team Aqua de Vida, which is latin for “water of life,” said team member Amy Larsen.

She and her teammates Maeve, Katelyn, Brianna and Julia are celebrating their first-place finish.

“We used good bacteria and algae to turn unclean water into safe drinking water,” said Katelyn Asmus.

Their design of a water purification system to be used on the moon was the best NASA had seen.

“There were over 50 teams that entered. From there, they were chosen in the top 20 in the nation, and only the top 20 get to present to NASA directly,” said Chris DeLeon, technology educator at Hudson Middle School.

So what impressed NASA about team Aqua de Vida?

“We got the ammonia out really fast. During our presentation, they said we got it out pretty quick, and they said it is real hard to get out, so they were impressed,” Asmus said.

Not only will their concept and design help astronauts, after a few modifications, it could be used to save lives right here on planet Earth.

“It can be used anywhere they need clean water — Africa, the Middle East and the disaster-stricken areas in the South of America, with all the storm systems that have been going through, and Japan,” Asmus said.

This school is no stranger to scientific success. Last year’s team finished second in the nation.

This year’s team of five is interested in working in the science and technology field. They’ll get to see it all up close soon because they get a trip to NASA to talk with scientists about their project. Details are still being worked out for that trip.

The girls each were given a $100 gift certificate for winning, and their school receives $500.

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