COLORADO SPRINGS – While NASA’s InSight lander touched down on the surface of Mars on Monday, the next generation of scientists and astronauts were getting ready for a manned mission.
Kids spent their day using the brand new “Expedition Mars Simulator” at the Challenger Learning Center in Colorado Springs. It’s one of several space simulations offered at the center, and it focuses on a simulated supply-delivery mission between Mars and its moon Phobos in 2076.
“I really, firmly believe that this generation — the kids who are with us today — are the generation who are going to first step foot on Mars,” said Challenger Learning Center CEO Rob Fredell. “It may be a one-way trip, it may be such a hard thing to do that we don’t bring those astronauts back, but it’s going to be this generation that gets to physically explore Mars, not with a probe, but with human beings.”
The simulated mission provides participants tasks and presents emergencies that require teamwork and quick-thinking to save the mission as well as their lives.
Simulated mission to Mars, the moon and even a “rendezvous with a comet” mission are available to kids as young as fifth grade. The Mars mission is offered to students in eighth grade and older.