MODESTO (CBS13) — They call themselves the “Quaranteens” and their talents are out of this world.
A group of Modesto teenagers used COVID-19 downtime to build a tool that might end up on the International Space Station. It’s a device designed to be a game-changer in an astronaut’s daily routine. In a nutshell, it allows them to reuse plastic that would normally be trash. NASA sponsored the nationwide project proposal.
“The space on the International Space Station is extremely limited and they can only bring up a certain amount of supplies,” said Rana Banankhah, a Modesto High School student working on the device.
So, the Quaranteens came up with a way to melt plastic back into a form that can be used in a 3D printer to make something else.
“You can make practically anything. I think the possibilities are endless,” said Rana Banankhah.
Her brother and project colleague Reza Banankhah added, “For example, if you needed a certain tool in the International Space Station that you didn’t have at the time, you could recycle plastic from the old tool or maybe use filament you have existing.”
This device heats up to between 300 and 400 degrees, thanks to a temperature sensor that was carefully calibrated.
“I spent like two hours in front of the oven calibrating it,” Rana Banakhah said.
The reusable plastic is melted and molded into a string-like consistency. That’s when it’s ready to go to the 3D printer for a new life. It’s so easy, an astronaut can use use it.
“I knew it could be something that could help people, not just astronauts, but people here on earth,” said Rana Banankhah.
This group is competing against 10 other teams across the nation who participated in the same challenge. This group is the top 10 already picked from dozens. And now, success depends upon public voting. Help the Quaranteens win by clicking here and hitting the “heart” icon.