A SCHOOLGIRL’S tiny sculpture the size of a sugar cube soared through the stratosphere and danced among the stars.

Catriona Porter was among participants of a national experiment, which asked children to create miniature 3D models to be loaded into a NASA rocket.

The 10-year-old’s creation was among winning entries from pupils across the UK, and blasted off on an epic zero-gravity adventure at the end of April.

The rocket fired off from an island in the Pacific ocean, loaded with a camera to capture the sculptures’ movements in sub-orbital space, which was the aim of the experiment.

New Marston Primary School pupil Catriona, who designed her ‘space plant’ creation at school, said: “As we were preparing our models I never thought I would succeed. I am very proud of my sculpture.”

She said her model told a story, adding: “An astronaut went in to space and discovered a planet called Sertran. It had no life but did have plants.

“My design shows one of the plants, which the astronaut called a planettron.

“The plannettron has earth, moon and Saturn flowers.”

New Marston was among schools across Oxfordshire to enter the NASA SuGRE-1 challenge, helped by Science Oxford.

Entries had to be the size and weight of a sugar cube, and the charity helped pupils by offering use of its high-tech equipment.

It asked schools to send in pupils’ designs, and picked the best to be brought to life using its 3D printer and laser cutter.

Headington resident Catriona won the honour, and her sculpture was subsequently chosen to be loaded on the spacecraft.

Science Oxford’s educational outreach manager Sophie Batin said: “This competition inspired so many young people.

“Most do not have the expensive kit needed to build such tiny models but we do, and so we were very happy to help out.

“We are thrilled Catriona’s design has gone intergalactic.”

The SuGRE-1 crafted has splashed back down to earth and models will be returned to schools, with a 3D video of their sculpture floating in the rocket.

New Marston’s headteacher Tracey Smith said: “We are grasping every opportunity we can to bring in science from the university and Science Oxford, to give pupils more enrichment.”

She said it was ‘incredible’ to think Catriona’s creation had been to space and back.

The school’s deputy head Scott Lewis added: “It’s a great honour for Catriona and New Marston.

“She worked very hard on her design along with the rest of the class, and it’s great to see her efforts rewarded with this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“We are all very proud of her.”

The experiment was run by Dynamic Imaging Analytics in Milton Keynes, in partnership with NASA and a US university.