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Watts-Skinner attends Space Camp for Educators

I spent five days at Space Camp for Educators with about a dozen other teachers from around the US. While there, we learned about the history of the US Space Program - NASA, and where the program is heading. Among other things, we spent time building and launching rockets, experimenting with ablative shielding, and creating and launching solar sails. NASA is currently working on these things for their plans to reach and colonize Mars, and the 2019 scheduled launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. I brought these lessons into the classroom at the beginning of the school year for a unit on Astrobiology, the study of how life and humans can survive in space. 

I also got to train like an astronaut by going in the Underwater Astronaut Trainer with my team to search and repair objects that floated away, maintain equilibrium on the Multi-Axis Trainer, and use the 1/6th Gravity Chair to simulate walking on the moon. I also went on two simulated NASA missions, one to the International Space Station, where I was the lead Scientist, and the other to Mars, where I was CAPCOM, Capsule Communicator, for the crew going to Mars. We even were given time to talk with retired astronaut Homer Hickman and Ed Buckbee, former Public Affairs official for NASA for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions.

I am returning to Huntsville in June for "Advanced Space Camp for Educators."