“Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be an astronaut!” Most children at some point during their lives have said this-- mesmerized by the idea of one day exploring the universe, finding aliens, or landing on the moon. What most don’t realize is that there is more to being an astronaut than just the roles romanticized in children’s books. A lot of an astronaut’s job involves earth-bound research and conducting new, innovative experiments for the betterment of space travel and humanity as a whole.
While many of these experiments are built by the astronauts themselves, a select group of students from the Quest for Space program have the one-of-a-kind, inclusive opportunity to design, program, and build their own experiments to be sent aboard the International Space Station for 30-day cycles. Over the course of the school year, these high school students dive deep into a variety of scientific fields based on the focus of their chosen experiment, learning about the processes, skills, and coding needed to create high-quality autonomous systems from mentors at the top of their fields. Not only does this program offer solid preparation for students interested in pursuing scientific fields in college and beyond, but it also instills valuable character traits, such as teamwork and leadership, that last a lifetime. As the only program of its kind in the world, reaching from Singapore to San Francisco, there is no better opportunity for students interested in science than this.
The integrated system of schools involved in the Quest for Space program place students on local teams to conduct their corresponding experiments. Each team has a professional mentor, student honors fellow, team lead, and deputy team lead that work together to facilitate student contributions and involvement with each part of the process. Within each team, individuals specialize in either the mechanical, electrical, or software elements of the experiment, developing mastery of their particular specialty over the course of the program. This team structure not only motivates students to get more involved with their peers in their research, but it also models professional research teams, like the astronauts in space, for further vocational preparedness. With the recent pandemic, teams have transitioned to primarily online meetings, opening up the exclusive opportunity for outside students and schools to join the program when they would otherwise be unable.
We'll continue the conversation through blogs with a detailed, inside look at this distinctive, unparalleled program. Each post will dive deep into the inner workings of the various teams, their experiments, and other related subjects to highlight the incredible value this program brings to both those involved and humanity as a whole. Whether you are a student, parent, or simply an individual interested in profound scientific research, we invite you to join us on our Mission for Space to learn more about this amazing universe and the boundless possibilities it holds.