When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of summer camps, a group of Modesto High School students used their downtime to build a tool that might end up on the International Space Station.

“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,” as they call themselves, came up with a way to melt plastic that would normally be thrown away into a form that can be used in a 3D printer filament extruder to make something else, including nuts, bolts, utensils and even hair combs.

“You can make practically anything. I think the possibilities are endless,” Rana Banankhah told CBS Sacramento.

This device heats up to between 300 and 400 degrees. 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.

“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,” said Reza Banankhah, Rana’s brother and project colleague.

NASA sponsored the nationwide project proposal.

The Quaranteens — which also include Arshaun Faraji, Carson Carranza and Mason Neumann — are competing with ten other groups across the nation and if they win, their device heads to space. You can vote for them by clicking here and hitting the heart icon.


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