The NASA Experience
Travel to Mars is something that we all may dream about, but not really venture into. Senior students of CMR National PU College, CMR National Public School and Ekya Schools had a wonderful opportunity to experience space travel at NASA Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) Centre. Our students were hosted at the NASA Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) Centre, where they participated in a new mission simulation that included launching, landing and walking on Mars.
Trained as the next generation of space explorers, our students were introduced to a wide range of simulation technology and virtual reality, to experience the environment of Mars, and the difficulties faced on the Martian surface. Students got to see and experience a day in the life of an astronaut as they participated in a spacewalk through microgravity technology, monitored the launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and were part of the Orion capsule crew for launch monitoring and other mission-related activities.
En route to NASA, the students visited Hershey’s Chocolate World, Niagara Falls, Universal Studios and few other tourist attractions for some learning through fun.
Here are few stories from our students about the NASA Trip that express their exhilaration about the entire experience;
The Journey to NASA
“The cold never bothered me anyway. We may be wrapped up in our thick, warm woollens complaining about the weather, but the gleeful looks on our faces say otherwise. We ventured around with our bonhomie guide, Annie, and learnt the depth of Washington’s history. After the knowledgeable tour, we were off to the Niagara Falls for a nail-biting experience. Literally, the legendary falls looked ravishing when illuminated with contrasting lights as they did in the morning. We got on the Maid of the Mist boat tour to get closer to these spectacular falls.”
“Who doesn’t love some chocolates right?
We were surrounded by kisses, Reese’s, kit kits and so many more delicious treats. The chocolate tour gave us an insight into how they manufacture the world-famous Hershey’s chocolates. It was quite the ride that dropped us off at the chocolate store with a large bounty of the sweetest treats. We gathered up at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. It looked like a place where all our dreams and every favourite movie came to life. The roller coasters turned us around in every possible direction, the VR rides were better than our expectations and words will never be enough to truly describe it to precision”
THE BIG DAY, the astronaut training experience
“Every one of us had a name badge and a shirt waiting as soon as we reached NASA. There was a quick briefing and later we rushed to leave everything in the lockers to prevent anything from holding us back in space. All set to explore the space, we were divided into teams with matching wristbands and shirts.
We looked for rock samples on Mars, worked through sandstorms, while our eyes and ears were on our teammates working their best behind their monitors and we successfully placed the samples inside the rover. It felt like a piece of cake until microgravity hit us. We took a little spacewalk to shake off the anxiety and fixed up the instruments. Each team did their best work and it has to be mentioned it was a lot harder than the moonwalk we attempt on earth.
In between each training slot we got a chance to record video logs. Though it felt embarrassing, was fun too. Just when we thought we got a hang of it, we had to drive a Mars rover, which literally turned everything upside down. It gave us all a jump start for the launch mission. Every single member was required to make sure we had a successful launch. Teamwork indeed does lead to dream work. After all the hard work we got to cool off while learning about the space suit, lunar dust, Martian soil and space food!”