Space camp was an idea that always seemed more like a farfetched dream than a place a child might actually go visit, but new reports indicate NASA is looking to bring a new ground-breaking space camp in hopes of fueling interest among candidates who may go on to become part of future Mars expeditions.
Space Camp Sparking an Interest
NASA has seen a declining budget and support for years, despite all of the new discoveries and technologies the world has benefited from. One element of this new space camp is to drum up some additional interest in the program through the country’s future leaders.
Thousands of children will be coming together at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida and the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, so that they may learn just what it means to be an astronaut, and what it would take for deeper space missions.
Hands on Experience
NASA will be using these space camps to give participating children real hands-on experience making and launching model rockets constructed of paper tubes and PVC pipes, while also learning to understand the pull of gravity through a microgravity simulator. The most exciting training involves planning and executing a mission in a full-size space shuttle mock-up.
“Each activity is planned to bring out team-building and problem-solving skills among children,” said NASA in a statement. “It is about allowing their natural curiosity run its course and sowing the seeds that might eventually lead them into space.”
Investing in Children
NASA is calling this project the Summer of Innovation, and they’re aiming to target children in middle school who are “underrepresented, underprivileged, and underserved. It’s a way to get kids excited for subjects they might not traditionally have any interest in such as science, technology, engineering, and math.
“I’m going to be a computer engineer, helping to launch rockets to go deeper into space,” said Colin Cox, an 11-year-old student.
The Space Launch System (SLS) from NASA is the largest rocket to ever be built, and its first unmanned test flights are aiming to happen in November 2018. NASA plans to use the SLS to send the first humans to Mars by the 2030s.
Space camp in a box: