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Mojave Desert 2007

Spaceward Bound

First Student Spaceward Bound Excursion
by Matt Allner

Matt with students in wooded area

This past weekend four middle school students took part on a three day expedition into the woods north of Stone State Park where they camped and learned about how to conduct scientific research in the field. The program was named West Middle Student Spaceward Bound and was a pilot program for NASA in lieu of the three expeditions I was sent on to the Atacama Desert in Chile, the MDRS in Utah, and the Mojave Desert. I have replicated all possible aspects of these trips I have been on for these students and we covered a lot of information and experiences in just three days time. The students learned all about how to live and work in a space analog environment on Earth (Logistics and preparation, Energy and Life Support Systems, and Human Factors issues. They learned how to live in the woods (tents), cook their own food, ration food and water supplies, work in teams, solve problems that came up as the expedition evolved, and how to conduct a large variety of scientific skills in the field such as the sterile collection of specimens, soil, rock, water and then bringing them back to camp for lab analysis. Students also learned how to communicate with limited access (poor radio reception) as well as how to work with Mission Control during long treks from base camp. Parents also accompanied the students and both shared and learned right along side of their sons and daughters.

We have some amazing students doing really amazing things and all in response to NASA and the Explorers School Program. The following are daily blogs of the field excursion.

Day 1: Friday, June 1
Day 2: Saturday, June 2
Day 3: Sunday, June 3

Two Wall Murals @ West Middle School

awesome mural our art club painted this year of Mars

mural of shuttle with background planets

And a poster that was made and donated to WMS from local billboard sign company in town

 FirstGov  NASA

Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated:February 2006
Students Contact: Loretta Hidalgo
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe