Huntsville – "When I grow older I want to be an astronaut" is something that many children say and only a few manage to succeed. However, all those who dream of going into space can recreate it in Space Camp, a children's camp in Alabama dedicated entirely to the journey across the Earth.
Space mission simulation, NASA astronaut training or a sense of countdown before launch are some of the experiences that children with stratospheric ambitions can enjoy in Space Camp, which since 1982 is in a City of Alabama called Huntsville.
Although he does not have the reputation of Houston or Cape Canaveral, Huntsville also has a great aerospace story, at the point where his nickname is "The Tower Town" (The City of Rockets).
It was in Huntsville where Wernher von Braun designed the Saturn V, which was used for example in the Apollo XI mission to reach the moon for the first time and also in this city with significant scientific activity is NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
Space Camp is located next to the Space and Ships Center of the United States, a NASA museum to conquer the area with a huge Saturn V chairing the central room.
It is in this place where children learn, while playing, about the enigmas of space. So, kids with NASA blue suits, as if preparing to travel infinitely beyond, can rotate around the multi-axis simulator or experience the moon's gravity thanks to a set of straps that allow them to float almost to air
The Camp Space program, with different designs for children aged 9 to 18 yearsIt also includes practical diving lessons or science classes on how to make the best thermal insulation for a ship.
Full simulation of a space mission, from take-off to landing, is the focus of education, where children have to join forces so that everything goes according to the plan.
With positions ranging from the commander of the ship to the flight manager at the control center, the participants recreate the mission, including scientific experiments or space tours.
And, as everything is a toy, you can laugh even when someone releases the worst harbinger of a space travel: "Houston, we have a problem."
After reception 800,000 people from 150 countries as it opened its doors, Space Camp, which also offers accommodation for adults, emphasizes teamwork and cooperation over struggles and nations, an approach reminiscent of the interstellar utopia "Star Trek".
"You can see the passion the children have for science and space, but you also see how they work together (…) by combining, knowing each other, finding their weaknesses and strengths and working as a team," he said in Efe. spacecraft monitor, Jillian Sweat.
"I think my generation is planning to go to Mars and these guys will be the generation that will lead us there, so it's very important for them to know what's going on and be excited about it" , he added.
In the same sense, Monica Araya, Costa Rica's expert on fighting climate change and advising on National Geographic on Mars, said Efe in statements of the importance of disclosure so that science "does not remain bubbles of experts".
"People generally have a bias toward the short-term, everyday we have to deal with what we have before us," Araya said about the difficulty of raising awareness on issues such as climate change or space exploration that go beyond a generation.
"It is important that children have windows that are very open to themes beyond their everyday life: science, space, natural resources, nature … All that opens the windows," he concluded.