Monthly Archives: July 2012

Mission Discovery Kings – AMAZING!

Oh what a week it was! I really had hoped to blog throughout the week about all the events of the week but sadly that just didn’t work out time wise for me! Since I’ve discovered I’m not terribly good at recreating vividly after the fact I figure I’ll just give some highlights if that’s okay.

To start with the Kings facilities were a great fit for Mission Discovery. We had a lecture hall where everyone could be seated for the large lectures and some of the team tasks. We had well over 200 students for this Mission Discovery which had a Biomedical theme because it was in conjunction with Center of Human & Aerospace Physiology (CHAPS) at Kings. All of our students were aged 13-18 for this program.

But let’s face it – it’s not the facilities that make a program amazing…. it’s the people and boy did we have some really great ones! We had over half a dozen professors from Kings join us for mentoring as well as daily presentations about physiology in space. Additionally we were fortunate enough to have video or audio conferences from the US from one of the NASA Flight Surgeons, a NASA physiologist, an engineer for the payload company which the experiment with launch with and none other than Jay Honeycutt the former KSC Center Director. Every time you turned around there was someone amazing with something poignant to say. Of course we can’t forget about Ken as our astronaut for the week and perhaps myself and Chris (Director of ISSET) had a word of wisdom or 2 to throw in there! And the people up on the stage weren’t the only amazing folks we had – we had a group (the whole group in fact!) of students who were incredibly engaged, inquisitive and excited. They asked questions that were so insightful and thought provoking.

Through the week students worked on smaller team tasks for team building experience as well as some prizes but the big task of the week was obviously for the team to design an experiment that could fly into space. All of the teams definitely rose to the occasion and we heard some absolutely fantastic ideas. To be honest it was an unenviable job to be a judge because there were so many great ideas it was hard to pick just one. But alas we had to….. the winning team’s experiment about antibiotics will fly in space!

Stay tuned to our page to follow along with the progress of their experiment and to find out where the next Mission Discovery will be. We have several in work!!!


Ken and chelle arrive in England!

We arrived on Thursday and Chris was kind enough to pick us up at the airport. Everywhere we go we try and see a local site for some culture and history. We headed to Kent (where we had events on Friday) and decided to check out Leeds Castle. What a beautiful place! Lovely green grounds and a fantastically beautiful castle.

We enjoyed touring about and learning about the castle but I think perhaps what amused us the most was the maze we came across on the castle grounds. This was a serious maze and we all got lost in it and eventually had to follow some kid who was getting directions from a guide in the center of the maze (where your goal is to get to because it’s elevated and it’s the way out.) We decided that getting through the maze could be a great team task for one of our events (Mission Discovery or the Leadership Adventures) if only we could figure out how the heck to get it to wherever our location is 🙂

Friday we headed to Cornwallis Academy – which has an absolutely beautiful new school – to speak with the students.

Ken, Chris and myself each spoke to 2 different groups of students about space and motivation. We were once again delighted by wonderful questions from the students. It was also very neat for us to see a different kind of school design. Instead of traditional classrooms they were set up in what they call plazas where more students can be accommodated at once and teaching is done in a team fashion.


Main Corridor of the School

Friday evening we had a lovely dinner at another local school (of similar design to Cornwallis Academy) and met some great folks! It was a delightful dinner (very tasty!) with fantastic decorations compliments of 2 gentleman from a local astronomical society (both very big space fans which of course we loved about them!) We did a bit of a presentation and enjoyed more great questions and dialogue with the attendees.

Our stop in Kent was a great start to our events in the UK! Saturday we headed to London to tie up odds and ends for Mission Discovery which will run the whole week from July9-13…. More about that soon!

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Another ISSET Adventure Begins for chelle & Ken

Wow I feel like we just got back from the Gobi ISSET Adventure… oh wait we did! 🙂 It’s been a crazy few weeks with moving to Annapolis (and living out of suitcases – sort of – in a hotel) and getting ready for the next adventure but I think we are good to go! Today we head to London for Kings College Mission Discovery. But first up a stop off in Kent so we can excite some of the young folks there about science! We will be speaking at a school during the day and then having a lovely dinner that evening. Then it’s back to London to prep for our Mission Discovery. We are always excited about all of the Mission Discovery (MD) camps that we get to do but we are especially excited about this one because it’s official – the winning project from the week WILL get to fly into space!!! The Kings MD has a biomedical focus and we have some absolutely amazing presenters from NASA, Kings and various other parts of the world including a Nobel Prize Winner! Wow! What a line-up! I am pretty sure there’s still room for some non-residential students so check out the ISSET website ( for more information and to sign up!

Does this all sound incredibly cool but you can’t make it to Kings? Well let us know if your area is interested in hosting a Mission Discovery and we will do our best to make it so!!!

I’ll try and keep you posted on how our week is going! Stay tuned….

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