Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Train Like An Astronaut


This month, NASA's Human Research Program kicks off the "Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut" challenge, where teams of students (aged 8-12) all over the world will try to earn points as Fit Explorers while learning about healthy eating, exercise and hands-on space science! All the competitions and training modules will involve the same skills that astronauts must learn for their work in space.

Mission X
T14 space agencies across 40 countries will come together over the course of the program to encourage students to become educated about lifelong health, see how top-notch fitness is required for human exploration, and inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The first nine countries listed on trainlikeanastronaut.org will host teams for the "pilot" project in 25 cities, for over 3,700 students! The Mission X page on the European Space Agency portal will be tracking the teams, as will the NASA Exploration site and the general Mission X Facebook Page.

Train Like An Astronaut
Dexterity in spacesuit gloves… harder than you think!

As we promote cooperation on the ground among nations, so we mirror our cooperative efforts in this generation on the International Space Station; and what a great way to get kids involved in learning about life on the ISS! I was so happy and amazed to see a huge program like this, coordinated across the continents...

Just a few of the core activities of the Train Like an Astronaut missions include: Spacewalk, Space Bicycle, Crew Strength Training, Mission: CONTROL, Explore and Discover, Agility Astro-Course, Speed of Light, Crew Assembly, Space Roll and Roll, Gravity you Find, and Let's Climb a Martian Mountain.

I think my favorite, and one I will watch closely, is the Walk To The Moon! Did you know, that at a 3mph pace, it would take the average human 478 million steps over a period of 9 years to walk to the moon? Our young Fit Explorers will get to add points (counted in footsteps) as they complete their various activities, and I've joined the Mission X @walktothemoon Twitter Feed so I can see their progression.

I'll be tracking the projects and writing occasional updates as the challenge points accumulate. If you are a teacher and are interested in Mission X for your students, I definitely encourage you to check out the TLAA details page, on how the challenges work, how scores are submitted and how you can involve your school classroom in Mission X!