|Image above: Gene Hoshino places his rocket on the pad to launch. The activity was one of many during a week-long workshop that challenged participants and gave them insights into the skills that would be needed to begin setting up a base on the moon or Mars. (NASA photo)|
Dryden's first Expedition One BaseCamp gave local students a chance to explore science and technology during a week of space- and aeronautics-related activities. The camp was held July 30-Aug. 4 and included tours of Dryden research projects as well as presentations by several Dryden employees.
The 26 participants were selected through an essay competition. The students picked five questions to answer in essay form, and a panel of five Dryden education staffers scored the responses. Camp instructors included four employees from the NASA pre-college education office as well as two outside contractors.
On the first day, students were organized into five-member teams and presented with their "mission:" to create a proposal for a mission to the moon or to Mars. Daily activities were organized into a competition in which each team received points for their success at completing the day's assignment.
The event concluded on the final day with the teams presenting their mission proposals. Activity scores from throughout the week were tallied and the winners received gold, silver and bronze medals.
The camp was designed to introduce students to science and technology and get them excited about potential careers in those fields.
"The children are definitely interested in the program and we could tell just from their essays. We picked kids that we knew would want to be here," said Michelle Davis, Dryden pre-college officer.
"It was so much fun to build the projects. My favorite was the robots. It was really fun trying to figure out the exact turns and then at the end we raced them and my team got second place," said Wilson Middle School student Joaquin Ruiz.
|Image above: Basecamp participant Edward Vasquez and instructor Rob Lazarus view moon rocks under a microscope. (NASA photo)|
"My favorite was dropping the pod with the water balloon in it. It was supposed to be like the pod that drops from a spaceship onto Mars," said Sarah Mace-Rodón from Carden School in Tehachapi.
The camp gave the children an opportunity to learn alongside others who shared similar interests.
"I really liked working with different people and seeing new ideas. I made new friends and learned a lot," said Mace-Rodón.
"When I grow up, I want to be a scientist or an inventor of objects that can be used for NASA," said Ruiz.
The camp was a project of the Dryden Education Office. Organizers said the event's success could mean it will be repeated next year.