Editor’s Note: Students in media production at the school interviewed the students who won and sent us their video.

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) — Have you ever dreamed of going to space? Would you take your cat with you?

What started out as a joke is now a student project funded by a NASA grant.

Students at East Liverpool High School won a $1,500 grant from NASA to develop a space suit for cats. They’re 1 of 60 winners across the United States.

The students are working on developing technology that would someday possibly allow astronauts to take pets to space, turning an ordinary house cat into a “cat-stronaut.”

“We chose cats in space for this project because it’s found through the COVID crisis with having contact with a small animal like a cat is very good for mental health,” said East Liverpool STEM teacher/team leader Gerald Bartlett. “As we move into pioneering towards moon and martian colonies, it will be important to consider mental health of our astronauts.”

Students were asked to come up with a big project for their senior year. They submitted a four-page proposal. It’s all part of the NASA TechRise Student Challenge.

NASA can send this project on a high-altitude balloon flight for testing. But don’t worry, no cats will be hurt by the experiment.

“We will be putting tests and different meters in there, not an actual cat, to make sure the cat would survive an actual space launch,” said student Preston Dawson.

“The cat is very much fake,” said student Riley Cox.

“We’ll start with doing all the research to see what micro-controllers we need to use, how we put it into the suit, how big we need to make it,” said student Lee Michaelwitz.

Cox proposed the cats in space idea. At first, she said her classmates weren’t over the moon about it.

“Everyone hated my idea,” Cox said. “They said that it would never win and it was not a good idea. Then they were like, it’s very silly so maybe it will win. So I think silly ideas are the best ideas.”

East Liverpool wasn’t the only local school to be selected for the NASA grant. Canfield High School students also received a grant.

In addition to the financial help, students will meet with an engineer once a week over Zoom to help guide their projects.