GREENSTONE – This summer, two high school students — as well as one teacher — from Greenstone will prove that they have the right stuff to be astronauts. Devon Couch of Geraldton and Ben Mannisto of Longlac will represent Canada at International Space Camp, joining students from all over the world as they build relationships and challenge themselves as learners in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Delegates from more than 35 countries, as well every American state and territory, have been invited to participate in a comprehensive program to promote interest in space science, space exploration and global cooperation.
Couch and Mannisto will spend a week at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, learning about the mental and physical demands for astronauts and engineers. They will experience extended-duration simulated space missions, working hand-in-hand with peers from around the world to prepare for becoming the next generation of space leaders and explorers.
Their training will follow one of two tracks. In the pilot training track, they will find themselves piloting — perhaps even commanding — the spacecraft in their simulated space missions. Throughout the week, they will learn aeronautic design, fly simulated F- 18 jet aircraft, apply the science of orbital mechanics and experience 3.2 times the force of gravity in a High-G centrifuge. Alternately, in the mission specialist track they will learn spacesuit theory and design as well as space physiology and train to conduct satellite repair extravehicular activities in the microgravity-simulating Underwater Astronaut Trainer.
The exploration of space attracts the dreamers as well as the dedicated. The first human on Mars is likely a student right now, as are the scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians who will make it happen. The late American President John F. Kennedy famously said that the goal of space exploration “serve[s] to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills…” The Space Race of the mid- twentieth century required tremendous coordination, cooperation and commitment and led not only to the first small steps of humanity into space but also numerous spin off technologies, from MRIs and cordless power tools to memory foam and scratch resistant lenses. The Canadian contingent to International Space Camp will similarly require coordination, cooperation and commitment — not only from the two would-be- astronauts — and the dividends will be increased interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from our local students.
ISC Team Canada will be fundraising from now until July and will rely on the generosity of local organizations, businesses and community members to make this out-of-this-world experience happen. They have already committed to speaking engagements with service groups including the Knights of Columbus and the Royal Canadian Legion and plan to offer dynamic and engaging educational workshops to local schools and youth groups, hoping that these organizations may consider contributing financially to the costs of tuition and travel. Anyone who would like to donate to ISC Team Canada should be sure to check out their upcoming fundraising events or visit the team’s crowdfunding site at gofundme.com/8ypasysk.
Article by Mr. Benjamin Jewiss