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Out of This World
SoVaNow.com / July 11, 2013It wasn’t enough merely to apply to this educational summer camp; Ethan Rosche had to spend months taking a preparatory class beforehand.
The 17-year-old Halifax County High School rising senior went to the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) camp. There, he spent a week at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, immersed in science, technology and engineering. Working in groups, Ethan and his peers were charged with planning a mock mission to Mars – among the considerations were budget, time frame, objectives of the trip, payload weights, power sources and, Ethan cracks, “keeping the crew alive, obviously.”
But before the fun and excitement of NASA, Ethan spent some of his winter and spring in an online class designed to prepare participants for the projects they’d do as well as eliminate students who weren’t hard workers. There were papers to write, reading assignments, quizzes and discussion forums. “A pretty good chunk of time,” he says, in his spare time. But the payoff was acceptance to VAST.
Ethan says the coolest experience at the program was watching several 3-D printers. They made metal parts, mocked up models and spit out a little NASA pendant. He also learned about crunching numbers and working in teams on group projects.
“It was a great educational experience,” he says.
The program is a partnership between the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and NASA Langley Research Center with assistance from the Virginia Department of Education.
But don’t necessarily expect Ethan to be the next rocket scientist for NASA. Actually, he’s more interested in mechanical engineering thanks to the influence of a cousin.
Ethan is the son of Dr. William and Lisa Rosche of Halifax. 516
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