Truckee kids land on Mars
For twelve years, pre-teens in the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District have completed half of their journey to inhabit Mars with a successful soft landing.
The Mission to Mars enrichment program is the brainchild of Tahoe Truckee Civil Air Patrol members Ken and Rolann Aronson. Rolann, retired after 20+ years teaching in the Reno School District, developed this program to encourage early study of science and technology for children in 8-12 years old. Lieutenant Colonel Ken Aronson, Commander of the Truckee Civil Air Patrol Squadron, has enlisted volunteers from the Civil Air Patrol squadron, the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1073 and others from the Tahoe Truckee Airport family to donate over 600 hundred hours each year to operate this program and helped 434 Truckee pre-teens explore the issues of going to Mars. Commander Ken explained, “Our vision is to have a multipurpose area on the airport to facilitate more community involvement serving the Truckee community.”
Last week, the astronauts built and tested rockets and their landing craft. Tests proved the landings to be gentle enough not to break eggs in the cargo bays.
Now it is time to start building a permanent habitat. The space explorers have built the framework for their first geodesic dome shelter. They are now busy adding a gold-plated exterior with insulation and protection from space dust and daytime heat.
Other teams are busy building hydroponic gardens to provide a long-term food supply.
Before joining Civil Air Patrol, Cadet Demarest was a student in the Mission to Mars program. She said, “Mission to Mars opened up a world of opportunities for me doing things I love. It introduced me to Civil Air Patrol where I am making lifelong friends and learning leadership skills.” Now she is teaching. “It brings me joy in seeing the kids’ excitement learning about aeronautics and getting to teach them what I was once learning,” she added.
Other astronauts are assembling robots and space rovers to allow them to conduct experiments from their geodesic homes without donning space suits.
Mission To Mars was started as a week-long day camp with three sessions each summer. This year, Tahoe-Donner Recreation and Parks Department, Civil Air Patrol and EAA volunteers are offering the three one-week sessions as well as a five Saturday spring session to accommodate more explorers and parents’ schedules.
The spring Mission To Mars is nearing completion. The astronauts have a few more goals in the final session.
The July and August sessions are now open for enrollment. For signups, google “Truckee Mission to Mars.”
Source: Truckee Civil Air Patrol
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