At the conclusion of the school year, six girls from our school and many other students from all across Australia came together in Houston, Texas in the USA for two weeks of Space School. This incredible event was organised by the Alliance of Girls Schools Australia, iVicon, the Houston Association for Space and Science Education and of course, NASA.
It comprised of two different camps: the Junior Space School and the Senior Space School.
And here, we have girls who have been on these camps, to share with you our extraordinary experiences.
Junior Trip: Ocean
The first week of the trip was held in Alabama through an American space camp programme at the Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville. We started the day with a wake up call that included the time, weather and a strong southern accent. We were cold, jet-lagged and in my case ready for bed. Still, it was amazing. We got to use the simulators for walking on the moon and experienced zero gravity, increased gravity, missions and tumble spins - mostly real things used by astronauts in their training programme. It was a wonderful and eye opening week.
Before we knew it we were on a plane to Houston for our second and final week of the trip. Tonsillitis and 12am hospital trips didn’t stop us from having an amazing time. The activities, guest speakers, and what felt like heavenly hotel rooms kept us eagerly awaiting every next day. We also got to learn about other sciences such as forensics, biology and cell research. One of the nights included listening to an amazing and inspiring talk from former commander of the international space station, Lee Roy Chao. We even got to touch a real piece of the moon at the Johnson Space Centre where we spent two of our days learning about space travel - past, present and future. After another 35ish hours of travel time we were back at home.
Senior Trip: Chloe
Unlike the Junior trip, the Senior trip spent their whole time in Houston. We started our trip off by spending the week at NASA. While at NASA we attended their Space University where we got to do many different activities ranging from building rockets to Mars rovers, where we competed in challenges, from scuba-diving to training for space walking and many more interesting activities. We got to meet some amazing people who work at NASA including astronauts and one of the people who could be headed to Mars within our lifetime. We got to go on amazing tours where we saw NASA’s facilities, rockets and training centres. In the second week we went to a makerspace to 3D print rovers and worked on presentations that would be presented to our group. We were able to speak with many other people from NASA and even had dinner with an astronaut. We also performed a simulation where we did activities in a space shuttle and mission control. Throughout this trip there were also times where we experienced the American culture by going shopping and we even saw an NBA game! Casey and my group were from all around Australia and we formed some amazing friendships.
Reasons for going/what you got out of it: Casey
As you would expect from traveling, and we did a LOT of traveling, it is a really exciting and insightful experience. And learning about the American space industry in its home country made it incredibly valuable. One local I met had done an internship at NASA in high school, and worked at SpaceX, Tesla and Apple! The most exciting thing though, was knowing that everything we were learning was relevant to us; we were learning about our futures. To all the students here, your whole life, there has been someone living in space. And now we are entering a new era of space exploration, they call us the Mars Generation. For those that haven’t heard, Australia is actually getting its own official Space Agency soon. But it’s not all just about space. This trip is for anyone who is interested in STEM, or for those who just want to broaden their horizons.
There will be another trip running at the the end of this year, so if you are interested in this amazing opportunity keep your eye on the school newsletter for details. Thank you.