Virginia Students Design a Mission to Mars at NASA Langley - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Virginia Students Design a Mission to Mars at NASA Langley

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HAMPTON, Va., June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 175 rising high school seniors from across Virginia will spend a week at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton this summer planning a simulated mission to Mars.

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They are part of the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) academy, sponsored by NASA Langley in partnership with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. VASTS will hold three sessions: June 23-27, July 7-11 and July 21-25.

Media interested in attending during the June academy can contact Kathy Barnstorff at kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov or 757-864-9886. Media interested in coming in July can contact Sasha Congiu at sasha.r.congiu@nasa.gov or 757-272-9859.

To prepare for their week at NASA Langley, students spent six months participating in a distance-learning program on aerospace exploration. Scholars will use what they learned online to design and implement plans for a human mission to Mars, with the help of NASA Langley rocket scientists and mentors, teachers and undergraduate interns. They will work on five teams: mission integration, mission transit, human factors, science and surface operations, and strategic communications. Just as in real NASA planning each team plays a vital role in mission success.

Entering its seventh year, VASTS is a competitive program that uses space exploration to help teach high school juniors a broad range of mathematics, science, engineering and technology skills.

For more information about VASTS, visit:


For more information about NASA research and exploration, visit:


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