NASA High School Aerospace Scholars
As experienced by: Anna Moore, age 17
By Anna Moore and her parents, Jerry and Janet Moore
What I experienced: one week in Houston, where I spent every day learning new things about NASA and listening to speeches given by employees. We also visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center and listened to a speaker who worked on the Apollo 13 space mission. We got to create our own mission to Mars in a group and present it on the last day. A definite highlight was attending a debriefing on one of the final space shuttle missions at which Gabrielle Giffords was in attendance because her husband was the space shuttle commander.
The coolest parts were: going into the mission control rooms and actually getting to see the equipment they used during missions. We got to see the red telephone from Apollo 13 and a mirror from the shuttle. We also got to view the control room they use today and sit at the control desks.
What I learned (and won’t soon forget!): How to function on Mars. The activity for the week was to design a plan on how to get to and from Mars. Each group was assigned a role to work on. Our task was how to survive on Mars. We researched the resources we would need and designed a whole colony.
I’d recommend this program because: it’s an awesome experience and looks great on college applications. You get to meet tons of other kids and make lots of friends. You also get an inside view of NASA and go behind the scenes to see how it works.
Adult perspective: Before being selected to this program, Anna was required to write and submit monthly essays to the NASA space program. All the students were graded on the essays they submitted.
At the end of the school year, a group of these students were chosen by their state legislators to attend the NASA High School Aerospace Scholars Program at the Johnson Space Center. During this process, we, as parents, were unaware of how committed NASA was to this program. It wasn’t until we attended the graduation ceremony that we realized what an honor it was to be selected. Not only were the kids’ room and board covered by NASA, but all travel expenses were, as well.
The program is designed to encourage students to delve into all the facets of space travel with an emphasis on aerospace engineering, so it’s definitely a worthwhile educational experience.
Details: NASA describes this program for 11th graders as an interactive online learning experience highlighted by a weeklong internship. The yearlong program includes interacting with engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and participating in Web-based activities and distance learning prior to the weeklong visit to the Johnson Space Center. It’s one of many camps offered by NASA. nasa.gov