Two members of Young Innovators Network (YIN) participated in the YMCA Space Squad in Canberra from 8 to 12 July staying at the Bush Capital Lodge (BCL).

The program lasted for 5 days where the participants were provided with beds, bathrooms, showers and food catering for special dietary requirements.

A number of activities were organised starting with a trip to Mount Stromlo for a stargazing night as well as a presentation and tour of the observatory located on the mountain by Brad Tucker.

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There was also a presentation on spectrums by Astro 3D and galaxy collisions by the observatory director along with corresponding activities.

The next day, they travelled to Questacon’s Maker Space for a workshop where they learnt the innovation process followed by a presentation on life on Mars.

On their third day, they programmed moving balls called Sphero, learnt the mathematics behind rocket launching using 11 and 12 graded math and travelled to UNSW to learn about astrophysics by university students and workers.

The following day included an activity to make a marble land into a bowl on a zip line, which was supposed to resemble dropping down a rover on the moon, then having a moon landing tour of Canberra including a visit to John Saxon, a tracker on the first moon landing mission, as the moon landing mission is having its 50th anniversary, as well as a visit to Honeysuckle Creek where the 26 m dish caught the first 8 min of the moon landing.

The final day had an introduction to Moon shot and presentations from the space squad participants to show what in space excites them followed by a short award hand-out.

The two YIN members received awards for their completion of the rocket launching and one received a 1/200 scaled rocket model which is to be NASA’s new SLS Rocket.

It was eye-opening experience and provided me a clear idea of what kind of future career I would want to pursue while working with people who have similar goals as me.