To Infinity And Beyond (Our Atmosphere)

Campbell Key


She and her team got to simulate landing space crafts, figure out problems, and do some of the training astronauts go through.



My sister, Stewart Key, went to Space Camp last summer (yes it really is just called space camp) and loved it. She has a passion for space and engineering, and loves to read about NASA’s space programs. 

So, because not many people hear about them, I figured that I’d find out more about the NASA Space programs. These are the programs that make all the cool space things happen, and hey, maybe one day they’ll even pick up some alien life forms. 

The Earth Observing System was launched in 1977 and it uses satellites to observe Earth’s land surface, biosphere, atmosphere, and oceans. This program is also the center of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. 

The Viking Program has a pair of American Space probes that were sent to Mars called Viking 1 and Viking 2. These robots were designed to take pictures of Mars’s surface from orbit and to study the planet’s surface from the ground. So, even though the robots aren’t people, hey, we kind of have landed on Mars!

The Mariner program was another program that launched probes to explore different planets. From 1962-1973, these probes were sent to investigate Mars, Venus, and Mercury.

This next program is set to launch in 2024. It’s set to study the Galilean Moon on Europa while it’s still in orbit with Jupiter. 

Also, remember that picture of the black hole everyone was talking about? Well, the Event Horizon Telescope was the instrument that took a picture of this black hole, and it was one of NASA’s many interesting projects! 

And yes, this is a very random article, but not many people know about these cool programs and I wanted to make them known, especially to the people who are considering working with NASA or SpaceX. 

Anyway, if any of these programs sound remotely interesting to you, you should definitely check out Space Camp. And yes, it’s called space camp and might be the nerdiest thing ever, but I know people who love space and love this camp!

So, if you are interested in Space, NASA, or engineering with rockets, you should definitely check this place out. Basically, as you probably already guessed, it’s a camp all about space. 

61% of people who go to this camp end up studying careers in aerospace, defense, energy, education, biotech, or technology. 

Stewart Key attended this camp last summer and said she met some of the most interesting people there. She wants to be an engineer for NASA or Space X and was really interested in having some first-hand experience. 

She and her team got to simulate landing space crafts, figure out problems, and do some of the training astronauts go through. They also had current and former astronauts come speak to them along with engineers who had worked for NASA. 

There is also an internship at the University of Austin Texas this summer through NASA which is another great opportunity. 

Clearly there are a lot of cool opportunities out there and I want to encourage more people to pursue these jobs. 

Space Camp (https://www.spacecamp.com/) is located in Huntsville, Alabama and is a weeklong overnight camp. It has pathfinder and scholarship programs available and is a great way to explore more about space and what different jobs are available. 

This Texas Internship program (https://intern.nasa.gov/) is another great opportunity! However, you do have to be sixteen to qualify, and you have to submit an application and get accepted. But, there are many different projects available and is a great way to gain experience. 

I also talked to Mr. Greenberg, who teaches the astronomy class, to get some of his opinions on the space programs. He says that people’s opinions on the current space programs depend on who they are and what their hopes are for them. But, in his opinion, he thinks the programs have accomplished a lot. 

He believes that, ultimately, NASA is trying to understand the nature of the universe. We are sending probes out to other planets to see if there is life. These programs are trying to answer these big existential questions. 

This unites people as it gives them a common goal, and some of these accomplishments have been defining moments of mankind. It gives people hope for the future. 

He doesn’t believe privately funded (SpaceX and Virgin Galactic) or government-funded companies (NASA) are better than the other, but he believes competition can make these companies work harder/better. He believes private companies still result in some personal gain, but they are really there to fund the goals of mankind.

In terms of funding, NASA is funded by taxes, which can be controversial for people who believe their money can do more things than study space, but Mr. Greenberg thinks these programs are worthwhile. He says that these companies are trying to answer the nature of our existence. Astrobiology has also become very popular as it looks into whether life does exist outside of Earth. This idea is becoming less and less unrealistic. 

Terraforming is the idea of what it would take for life to survive on other planets. He says that we do need to try and protect Earth, but it’s not a crazy idea to wonder what would happen if Earth got hit by another asteroid. 

Space exploration is also very appealing because of all the resources available. There are a lot of metals in space that are very valuable here on Earth. The amount of water outside of Earth is also amazing. 

If you are interested in space Lovett offers an astronomy class not many people know about! In this class, they study the history of the universe and talk about how science has improved technology that has allowed people to discover more about the universe. 

Mr. Greenberg believes that everyone has at least once been interested in space. Everyone has “stared at the stars and thought about the possibilities.” 
 
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