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Even though he doesn't have to do science-fair projects, King George high-schooler sees a lot of value in them
King George High School freshman Taylor Courtney visits with a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
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He watered them daily and recorded the height and weight of the beans for 27 days, the others, for 21.
His conclusion: Marigolds are mad for Mars. They like its soil's sandy composure and lack of loam, an organic material that retains water.
But alas, the lack of loam also means fewer nutrients, causing smaller leaves and longer growing time than on the planet Earth.
Taylor's mother loved science as a kid, although she wasn't as successful with her projects. She jokes that he got his "genes and genius" from her father, the late Richard Gough. He was a test pilot with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force, as well as one of the backup astronauts for the Apollo 11 mission.
Taylor plans to become an engineer and keep doing science projects as long as his schedule allows.
After all, he can't turn down the chance to meet such interesting people. His favorite project at the state fair was from Nicolena Stiles, a Roanoke student and one of two grand-prize winners.
"The student trained bees--she actually trained bees--to detect an illegal substance on someone, similar to canine dogs," he said. "Amazing!"
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425