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05.26.05
 
Who Are NASA's Space Science Explorers?

Who are NASA's Space Science Explorers? The scientist studying black holes in space. The teacher talking about the secrets of the cosmos. And the student asking if there is life away from Earth. All of these people are Space Science Explorers. They are all curious about our solar system and space. This is a story about a NASA Space Science Explorer.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Some girls might say "a teacher." Or maybe "a doctor" or "a singer." Not my daughter. Krista says she wants to be "a rock scientist." A visit from NASA helped her decide.

Krista was 7 when NASA first came to her camp. That was four years ago. What a fun summer at Camp Little Cloud that was! Camp Little Cloud is a Girl Scout camp in Iowa.

NASA sent teachers and scientists to the camp. They taught the kids about Mars and the solar system. And they told the kids to stretch their limits. They told them to explore and dream big. We are all scientists, they said.

A woman and a girl working on a project together
Image above: A counselor helps Krista with a solar system project. Credit: NASA
Krista was very much a scientist. Rocks were her favorite part of science. Her pocket was always full of stones. She often gave people "friendship rocks." These were small stones with tiny holes. But one day she got a rock from someone else. It was a special rock. A woman named Jackie Allen gave it to her. Jackie is a NASA scientist.

Jackie told Krista that the rock was like what they might find on Mars. Jackie also said that a woman could go to Mars someday. And that maybe it could be Krista.

Since then, Krista has kept up her interest in rocks. Two years ago she got a Girl Scout badge for studying rocks. She learned how rocks and minerals are formed. And she learned about jobs related to rocks.

Krista is now 11. She still likes rocks a lot. She now says she wants to be "a geologist." That's a scientist who studies rocks. She also says she wants to be the first woman on Mars.

In fact, lots of girls at Camp Little Cloud might have those kinds of dreams. Space science is now a basic part of the camp. It is as much a part of camp as swimming and arts and crafts.

There's a saying at Camp Little Cloud. It goes, "Girls Can Do Anything." That means girls can do math and science. And they can have fun being smart. Learning about space is a good way to do just that.

The author of this story is Debby Stork. She is the head of Camp Little Cloud. She's also a science teacher. And she's a proud mother of two Girl Scouts. NASA and the Girl Scouts are partners. They work as a team to help young girls learn about space science.

See previous Space Science Explorers articles:
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Related Resource
The Space Place: Let's Go to Mars!
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Edited by Dan Stillman, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies