Teenager jets off for NASA courses
AN IPSWICH teenager has traded a supermarket checkout for Mars Rovers and space shuttles after being awarded a NASA scholarship.
Booval 15-year-old Kayne Harris is one of just 20 Australian high school students to be awarded a two-week study trip to the US home of space travel in Houston.
Kayne, who is in Year 11 at Bundamba Secondary College, left for Houston on Saturday.
He will have an all-access pass to the NASA facility, studying the inner workings of the space centre and the basics of becoming an astronaut.
Kayne will even undertake an astronaut-focused, scuba-diving course to learn how to move in zero gravity.
He will also visit the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
The Woolworths employee said he hoped to be an astronaut one day but if that career path did not eventuate he wanted to become an astrophysicist.
“I would love to become an astronaut but it’s not something I’m thinking about yet,” Harris said.
“I’ve always enjoyed building model rockets.
“I’m mainly interested in how the universe was created, how the sun works and cosmology and astrophysics in general.
“Any sort of work in those fields would be great.
“After this trip I can go back to NASA next year and they write you a letter of recommendation which would be pretty good for my resume.”
The only disappointment for Kayne was that poor weather delayed the launch of space shuttle Endeavour, which will now take off on April 29, just after his trip ends.
“It sucks that I won’t get to see take off it but I think I’ll be able to go inside the ship,” Kayne said.
“They said I would also be able to spend a lot time at mission control.”
Bundamba Secondary College senior co-ordinator Shaun Cassidy said Kayne was an exceptional student.
“He loves physics. There’s a core group of student that are really good at physics and they all push each other further to see who is the best,” Mr Cassidy said.
Kayne said his parents had to pay $6000 for him to attend the course.
“They were okay with it actually,” Kayne said.
“I had to get straight As to get accepted. I worked hard for it.”
NASA’s self-described mission statement is to “pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research”.
NASA was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958.
The Apollo program landed the first people on Earth’s Moon on July 20, 1969.