Thursday, July 15, 2010

Space Camp Quite The Adventure For Alamo Student

By Nathalie Nance
For the Mountain Mail

When Alamo student Eva Padilla, 16, learned that she had been rewarded with a scholarship to go to Space Camp in Alabama for a week in early June, she got equally excited and nervous.
She had never really traveled anywhere by herself before, let alone flown across the country. Her mother, Angela Guerro, was also nervous to see Padilla off at the Albuquerque airport. However, the trip went just fine and Padilla soon overcame the initial homesickness. Despite somewhat hard and uncomfortable bunk beds in the room she shared with other participants, Padilla soon settled in on campus in Huntsville.
“Now I wouldn’t hesitate to go somewhere on my own again,” said Padilla.
The Advanced Space Academy is run by the University of Alabama, and a lucky few get to attend their popular space camp each year. While there, the participants learn about space exploration and aerospace technology as well as basic leadership skills and team building. Padilla was on the teenage team, with members not only from the United States, but also from as far away as India and China.
Every day they were given a special mission, which they had to solve together. One was to land a space shuttle on the moon, exchange an antenna on its surface and then land on Earth again without crashing (yes, it was only a simulator), another was to build a rocket from a hot dog.
“It only went about two feet,” laughed Padilla.
Besides lectures on planets and stars and safety in space, there was also time for a lot of fun.
“We played a lot of pranks on our supervisor, Kevin,” admitted Padilla.
The teammates also got to try to do moon walking and to hang from the ceiling in order to experience what it feels like to be weightless in space. A real test, however, was the six hours locked up in a space shuttle with oxygen masks.
“But I wasn’t nervous,” Padilla said.
Consequently, she passed and as part of the graduation ceremony the last day of the camp, her name tag, which on purpose had been put upside down on her coveralls, was turned around to face the right way.
Now Padilla is back from space camp with a lot of happy memories, new friends and one college credit from the University of Alabama. She is currently enrolled in the summer youth program at Alamo, where she helps with the summer food program. This fall, she will begin 10th grade and eventually she dreams of becoming a vet.
“I would like to go back to space camp and see everyone again,” says Padilla, “but I prefer to stay on Earth.”

Picture: Eva Padilla tries to do the moon walk at space camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

Courtesy photo

1 comment:

  1. the store also held its annual tool sale. Frank Romero said close to 400 hot dogs were grilled for customers. Frommmmbet
    3mbet left to right in the photo are Jeremy Petrie, Frank Romero, Lori Romero, Brian Wheeler and Andrew Zamora.