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NASA Trip 2022 – Media Team Report

Category: Media Team, NASA, News, Science, Students write, Trips

Recently, some students from our school went on a trip to Houston to visit none other than NASA… a once in a lifetime opportunity! We all had a wonderful time and we learnt so much, having lots of fun along the way. It was a quite a busy, action-packed week with many interesting activities that filled the time.

On the first day (after an exhausting 9-and-a-half-hour flight) we landed at the IAH airport, and after a short drive we reached our hotel, Springhill Suites, where we spent the week. Despite being tired, we were all up for a delicious meal at Cheddar’s and there were many classic American meals on the menu such as burgers, steaks, and Caesar salads – with a side of chips of course!

Second day, after a good night’s sleep, we woke up bright and early at 6 in the morning, and travelled to the Johnson Space Centre. This is where we spent most of our time as it was where our activities were for the week. Under the guidance of the instructors, each team built a small rocket, adding our own personal details to it, and we launched it on later in the week.

This was my favourite bit because despite not being the same size, the aerodynamics behind real rockets are similar, and it was fun to watch all our rockets travel high into the sky when we launched them!

 Later, after building them, we learnt about the thermal shields on the rocket which protect the rocket when it enters the atmosphere to prevent it and the astronauts inside being burnt to crisp. To model this, we designed our own shield made up of different layers of material, and we held these against a burning propane flame to test whether our ‘eggstronaut’ would survive or not.

We then did a similar activity; however, this was to create cryogenic protection for our ‘marshmonaut’. A variety of materials were used to shield it from extremely cold temperatures, and we tested them using liquid nitrogen. Though most of our ‘eggstronauts’ and ‘marshmonauts’ were completely destroyed, some did actually survive (or at least retained temperatures where a human could survive).

Throughout the week, we participated in many more interesting activities such as coding and building our own rovers, either programming them to complete an obstacles course, or building it to be able to grab and collect objects.

One of the days, we did the Mars Habitat challenge, which involved designing a habitat that successfully provided oxygen, an energy source, protection from radiation, a method of waste disposal and food.  Water robotics was also very exciting, building rafts to carry a ping-pong ball to the end of the pool.

During our visit to the pool, we also did scuba-diving, which I enjoyed very much! Whilst underwater, we collected data on the different types of ‘rocks’ in our ‘ecosystems’ and built structures underwater as a team. The point of this activity was to emulate real astronaut training where they would do similar activities to prepare themselves for space, since water allows them to experience weightlessness to some extent.

Some days, we also did quite a bit of touring of the space centre, including a visit to the original Mission Control, and we got to watch a simulation what happened there during the actual Apollo 11 landing. We also had a fascinating talk from someone who works at NASA, and we were able to learn about all the different careers that you could have by working there, even including a seamstress and a chef.

After a busy day, we made sure to have a good time in the evening. One evening, we visited the Main Event, where we had some dinner and then had some fun at the bowling alley; there were quite a lot of strikes! We also played laser tag and had some game time at the arcade too. Another day, we visited Kemah Boardwalk, having a delicious dinner at Bubba Gumps (where you could even buy merchandise), and then being free to explore the attractions. Needless to say, many of us could not resist enjoying the thrill of the many rollercoasters there! The night before our day of departure, we ate at Chuy’s a Tex-Mex restaurant and the food – particularly the dessert – was great!

Overall, the trip was really great, and we all had a really good time so obviously a huge thank you has to go to the teachers for looking after us and especially to Miss Carolan for leading the trip. A thank you also has to go to the NASA instructors too for such a wonderful experience and being really enthusiastic all the way through!

Written by Preet G, Y10

Photos taken from The NASA Trip blog

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Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
Cavendish Road, Bowdon,
Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 2NL
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