I was 10 years old when "Space Camp" hit theaters, and from what I remember, it created a stir. To a bunch of fourth graders, it just seemed so possible that a bunch of brainy kids could accidentally end up in space and find their way home. It was a lesson in perseverance, self-confidence and team work.
Before I began researching actual Space Camp for this article, I had assumed it was like the astronaut-training program portrayed in the movie. Knowing now that it's more a "let's make math and science exciting for kids" camp, I'm no less impressed. In fact, I may be more so, at least as far as the greater good is concerned. Very, very few people have what it takes to become an astronaut, but countless people have what it takes to excel in math and science to ultimately become leaders in technology, research, education, engineering and so many other fields. On the off chance that U.S. schools ever have more money than they know what to do with, I'd like to put mandatory Space Camp on the table as something to spend on. It's tough to beat microgravity for stimulating interest (not to mention perseverance, self-confidence and team work).
- Astronaut Training Simulators at Space Camp. SpaceCamp.com. http://www.spacecamp.com/media/press/Camp%20Programs/Space%20Camp/Astronaut%20Training%20Simulators%20at%20SPACE%20CAMP.pdf
- Blasting Off. Desoto Explorer. May 7, 2008. http://www2.desotoexplorer.com/news/2008/may/07/blasting/
- Camp Kennedy Space Center. NASA.gov. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/information/camp_faq.html
- Future Astronaut Training Program. Cosmosphere.org. http://www.cosmo.org/camps/
- Space Academy. SpaceCamp.com. http://www.spacecamp.com/media/press/Camp%20Programs/Space%20Camp/Space%20Academy%20Facts%20in%20Brief.pdf
- SpaceCamp.com. http://www.spacecamp.com/category.php?cat=Space