Feature

"NASA -- The Solution"
08.03.09
 
With the nation's new president reviewing his goals for NASA and a new administrator taking the reins of the agency, the future of space exploration is wide open. NASA's new administrator, Charles Bolden, witnessed excitement about that future recently when he attended an educational camp that inspired student interest in computers, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

JR Roberts was one of four middle school students chosen to speak at the conclusion of the C-STEM camp in Houston. The student's speech about how NASA inspired him made an impact on Administrator Bolden. "I met him when I spoke at the closing ceremony for a STEM camp co-sponsored by Shell Oil, Texas Southern University and Houston Works," Bolden said. "He was one of the students who participated in the camp and were asked to present papers for the closing program. I want to highlight the enthusiasm and inspiration that we bring to the students of today."

THE SOLUTION by JR Roberts


Buzz Aldrin on the moon with the U.S. flag

Roberts said the Apollo moon landings were an important part of the journey of exploration that continues today. Image Credit: NASA

Red stripes and white stripes, blue background with white stars, placed on the moon by the first moonwalker ever -- no pop star, just constellations as far as the eye could see. In outer space was this: It was none other than Neil Armstrong, American astronaut, on July 20, 1969. His words there were, "One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind."

Now, 40 years later, a quest continues -- "Houston, we have a problem," but "failure is not an option." A 13-year-old boy with a dream and reachable goals, aspiring to be in the Mission Control Center operating his own innovations that improve space travel, communications and other related aspects.

A formula is already in motion to provide a successful solution to this equation. A major component is via Dr. Flowers, founder of the S.T.E.M. program. She provides future rocket scientists like myself, engineers and other technology-oriented students with opportunities to get hands-on experience in real-life scenarios, using practical applications in computer, science, technology, engineering and mathematics with outstanding instructors and staff who possess backgrounds in these areas of emphasis.

The S.T.E.M. Technical Skill Camp has been an incredible vehicle in guiding me to my destination. Sponsors like the Shell Oil Company supply the fuel necessary to keep moving forward, thereby keeping the dream alive. How appropriate it is to conclude our expedition with a field trip to NASA, where they really have a clue about what it means and takes to make the world go around.

Charles Bolden

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden flew into space four times as an astronaut. Image Credit: NASA

The Lyndon B. Johnson NASA Space Center is my home away from home. I have been visiting there since I was a toddler. My imagination has since stretched from the 2-year-old mind that turned every object into a plane, train, automobile or spacecraft, from the 4-year-old who was bent on sketching and developing his version of rocket boosters, to a robotics guru, computer programmer and junior visionary who sees NASA as the glue that holds everything around us together.

I see NASA in the video games I play that inspire me to design sophisticated prototypes someday. I see NASA in the medical field and NASA more involved in fiber optics. I see NASA in banking and in cosmetics, fashion design, in the automotive industry, in theme parks and in athletics. The possibilities are endless!

At a historical time as this, 2009 is the year of our first African-American president, Barack Obama. It is also the year of our first African-American Space Chief Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, General Charles F. Bolden Jr. I would like 2009 to be the year of my first NASA internship, where if at all possible, I can be mentored by one of their own.

All that is within me, and all that deeply intrigues and inspires me, leaps toward NASA: My answer, your friend, our lifeline -- NASA, The Solution.