Nearly 50 high school students are better educated in science and space after attending Central Washington University's Mars Rover Summer Camp this week.
Friday the camp wrapped up with campers launching rockets.
Over the last few days, the campers also built robots, went on field trips to the Museum of Flight in Seattle and learned what it takes to get to Mars.
"We designed the rockets we're launching here, so we launched our rockets," said Rowan Utzinger, a student from Ellensburg. "We also got to design and build Mars rovers and program them to collect the samples we were supposed to and I think that was the most difficult challenge," Utzinder added.
The camp was developed by Central physics professor Darci Snowden, who received a five-year, $150,000 grant from the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium — “Ignite, Innovate, Inspire”—to encourage the next generation of students to study the science of space.
“The point of the grant is to find students interested in STEM while they are young,” Snowden said. “We developed opportunities for them to stay engaged with and interested in science, such as science camps and rocket weekends.”
Snowden recalls the excitement of attending space camps when she was growing up and felt this would be an excellent way to get students involved. “Our activities are designed to engage a diverse community,” she added.
“The goal of the camp is to show students how cool science can be and to engage a diverse community using NASA missions and science, rockets, and robots,” Snowden reflected. “Hopefully, we will ignite some of the student’s passion for science and start them on a path that they’ve never imagined.”