Ten High School ‘STARS’ Complete Workshop

July 1, 2015, 5:57 PM HST
* Updated July 1, 5:59 PM
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A group of ten outstanding high school recently completed a four-day workshop that gave them a glimpse of what it is like to control a robot in space and walk and live on Mars.

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems completed its second-annual Stem Aerospace Research Scholars workshop on Saturday. Its focus is to give young women who study STEM (science, technology, mathematics) a glimpse into the aerospace industry through engaging, hands-on activities.

Activities began on June 24 with a trip to the Canada France Hawai’i observatory headquarters, where the students conducted a simulated robotic moon mission. Throughout the rest of the week, the participants conducted a mock space-mining mission at PISCES headquarters, gazed at the night sky at an area near Hale Pohaku on Mauna Kea, and spent a night at the Mars simulator on Mauna Loa.

“You get to kind of experience hands-on, like, the industry of astronomy and aerospace and all that kind of stuff to see if it’s really something you’re interested in, and if you’re willing to pursue a career in it in the future,” West Hawai’i Explorations Academy student Ellie Furneisen said of the experience.


Students navigated PISCES’ Helelani rover to mine for space resources. PISCES courtesy photo.


“MoonBots” gave the STARS a hands-on experience of the concept of ISRU (in-situ resource utilization), mining the Moon for resources. PISCES courtesy photo.


STARS students suited up inside the HI-SEAS habitat for their first “EVA” (extra-vehicular activity) excursion. PISCES courtesy photo.


The rugged volcanic terrain of Mauna Loa bares a similar resemblance and geological composition to the barren surface of Mars. STARS hiked the surface and explored lava tubes like those believed to exist on the Red Planet. PISCES courtesy photo.

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