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Endeavour students learn about space

  • Endeavour participants receive a lecture from Jacob Keaton, Senior Policy Advisor in the International Space Station Division in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters (Photograph supplied)

Working together to achieve goals is a commonality between sailors and astronauts. On Wednesday, August 7th, a group of youth sailors from 11 middle schools across Bermuda who are participating in the Endeavour Graduate Summer Programme learned there are similarities between space travel and sailing during a NASA presentation on celestial navigation.

Thanks to the US Consulate General in Bermuda, 24 Endeavour Graduates along with Endeavour team members had the unique opportunity to meet Jacob Keaton, Senior Policy Advisor in the International Space Station Division in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

Endeavour Community Sailing is grateful to U.S. Consul General Constance Dierman and Public Diplomacy Assistant Camille Haley for recognising Endeavour’s focus on engaging Bermuda’s youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math or STEAM education and inviting Endeavour to be a part of Mr. Keaton’s visit.

Tristan Loescher, Endeavour’s Acting Programme Manager, states, “our students truly enjoyed learning about the international space station and hearing about Bermuda’s significance with NASA which dates back to the 1960s. Our students were captivated by Mr. Keaton’s informative presentation, particularly to discover the similarities between space travel and sailing.”

Mr. Keaton kindly invited students to ask him questions and while some prepared questions in advance, the entire group was intrigued by his presentation. Students discovered what they have learned in Endeavour’s programmes about STEAM concepts applicable to sailing also relate to the science and engineering involved with space travel.

Some of the questions asked by students included: “what is it like in space?” “Why are stars named?” “are stars used to navigate in space?” “Can astronauts bring personal electronics to space?” “How long does it take to travel to space?” “What is the temperature of the international space station?” “Is there a weight limit on the space ship or at the international space station?” “Do spaceships get recycled?”

“It was wonderful to see how engaged students were during Mr. Keaton’s presentation. Zanie’a, a T.N. Tatem Middle School student and an aspiring astronaut, veterinarian and sailor was so interested in Mr. Keaton’s presentation, she was keen to ask more questions after the discussion concluded and wanted to know what happens to the parts that fall off once rockets have launched.”

Mr. Loescher adds, “Mr. Keaton explained that the astronauts must respect each other, respect the equipment, and overcome cultural barriers as they work in a multicultural team. This is similar to the Endeavour Graduate Programme as students are invited to participate based on their demonstration of respect for each other, how well they work in a team, and their overall effort during their participation in the Endeavour Middle School Programme. When you’re on the water, you’re relying on the boat and equipment as well as your team mates and must cooperate with each other to work as a team.”

“Teamwork, problem-solving and integrating students from different backgrounds are an important part of Endeavour’s programmes. New friendships form each session as students work together on and off the water. Students have reported they may not have met otherwise if it were not for participating in the programme.”

Moriah Wheddon, Endeavour’s Programme Instructor, comments, “It was interesting to learn that the International Space Station is like an island of its own. You have to bring everything with you, water, food, even air, as there is no air in space. You also have to respect space just as we take care of our environment here on earth, and astronauts must bring their trash back when they return from a mission.

“Sustainability is at the core of Endeavour’s programmes focused on encouraging students to take care of the environment wherever we go. For example, if we go on an adventure sail, we take what we need with us and bring any trash back, as well as pick up any debris that we find in the water or on the shores.”

Jennifer Pitcher, Endeavour’s Community Engagement, Development & Partnerships Manager, explains, “A vital takeaway from Mr. Keaton’s presentation was his advice for students related to career pathways. One student asked what are the different jobs and career opportunities involved with space travel.

Mr. Keaton explained there are many opportunities to work in the space industry and all sorts of career paths involved, emphasizing that all missions are driven by science and engineering and focus heavily on research. His underlying message was clear to encourage students to find something they enjoy learning about, become really good at it and then decide to pursue as a career explaining, “you have to love it to become the best at it”. He also highlighted how highly competitive the application process is for astronauts with only 12 people selected from 18,000 applications.

“This underscores the importance for Bermuda’s youth to have a strong foundation in STEAM education which is why the Endeavour Middle School Programme engages every student in Bermuda in a 5-day STEAM education through sailing experience and exposes them to different STEAM career pathways. It was a fantastic learning opportunity for students to discover the importance of STEAM education for their futures as they start to think about what careers they might be interested in.“

For more information on Endeavour’s programmes visit www.endeavour.bm

To learn more about where to locate NASA’s International Space Station, visit nasa.gov/station

Press release from Endeavour