By Mia Jones
Every expedition starts with a dream, an idea, a first step and the urge to explore.
Dream big and commit to it.
CASE space school is an international study program. Students learn and apply critical skills in highly immersive and inspiring STEM activities at NASA. In the June/July school holidays this year, Mrs Stephens and 5 girls from Loreto (myself included) were lucky enough to go on an adventure of a lifetime to this amazing program in the US. During this 14-day expedition to Houston, Texas and Huntsville, Alabama, we learnt about space travel and the development of space-related technology. We were also led through several simulated missions.
Astronaut Training in Huntsville
We spent an exciting week at the US Space and Rocket Centre (USSRC). We experienced the thrill and challenges astronauts faced during their training for NASA space missions. Teamwork, critical thinking and crisis management are required during two, true to life space mission simulations. Focus is vital when trained on the Multi-Axis Trainer, 5 Degrees of Freedom and the 1/6 Gravity Chair.
My personal favourite was the Multi-Axis Trainer. You are strapped into a chair and spun around, backward, forward, and upside down, in a series of ominous, rotating metal rings. Though it might not look like it, this simulator is designed so you won’t vomit or even get dizzy. Engaging group projects including the design of a lunar base model, heatshield and two-stage rocket were definitely a highlight. We had amazing certified crew trainers, who made sure these projects promoted creativity and imagination while having so much fun.
U.S. Space and Rocket Centre
This truly amazing facility had the largest collections of spaceflight training equipment and artefacts in the world. USSRC provided us with a huge range of rich content, exhibits and once-in-a-lifetime interactive actives to inspire and generate interest in space, science, mathematics and the latest technology.
We also had the unique opportunity to dissect a shark in a professional lab. We were taught marine biology and shark ecology. We performed Cellular analysis where we were guided by medical experts. We used lab equipment for experiments that are rarely available in Australia. We learnt about forensic science with cellular analysis including DNA manipulation and blood cell investigation.
We all made many friends along the way and had the time of our lives. I would definitely recommend this trip to everyone. It is truly an amazing experience.