Darwin students head off to US Space Camp

Max Blenkin

Two Northern Territory high school students are off to the US next month to attend Space Camp, the first time that Top End students have been selected for this coveted opportunity.

Palmerston College year 7 student Ella Hite and year 8 student Krishi Patel will be accompanied by science teacher Sharon Every.

Ms Every selected them for the six-day Space Camp as they are near A standard students with a genuine interest in space.

“Ella has an interest in the geology side of space, but Krishi has a broader interest in space and would love to be an astronaut and work for NASA,” she said.

“The girls have always been interested in space. For example, Krishi was very interested in how the recent image of the black hole was taken, whereas Ella wants to find out what the planets are made of.

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“We are the first school in the Territory to be offered this opportunity, and one of only four schools in the nation whose students will attend Space Camp.”

Space Camp at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is the ultimate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) experience, offering a range of educational courses for American and international students and adults. It was established in 1982.

 

Attendees stay onsite in the facility’s various habitats and undertake a variety of space related course and training. This is highly regarded and past attendees include astronauts and celebrities and their children. Chelsea Clinton and Amy Carter, daughters of presidents, both attended.

Some students have gone on to become astronauts.

Defence and aerospace company Northrop Grumman is sponsoring the attendance of the Australian students.

Ms Every said the girls were looking forward to their stay at the Alabama facility, and have been researching life in the US state.

“I hope it will be a fantastic experience for the girls, and one they will share with Palmerston College and some of our neighbouring schools,” she said.

“And I hope I will gain enough knowledge to run professional development sessions about space and space-associated technology for Territory teachers.”

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said space was no longer an unattainable dream for young Territorians.

“We have NASA ready to launch rockets from Arnhem Land. We have our own Territory Space Industry 2020 strategy. We have businesses working in the space technology industry,” he said.

“We have students going off to Space Camp, with many more learning the skills to secure jobs of the future through our five-year STEM in the NT strategy.”

Mr Gunner said the NT government had also opened a $12.7 million Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Centre at Taminmin College, with construction underway on a $15.9 million centre at Darwin High School.

“The planets are aligning for the Territory to become a real player in the space industry, creating jobs for our children and providing another industry stream for our economy. The future is certainly bright,” he said.

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