Jubilee Lakeview, San Antonio Students enthusiastically raise their hands as their rockets launch into the sky. Photo by: Ramon Perez
Written by: Jaden X. De Leon
In pursuing the idea of becoming a multi-planetary species, a series of CAMPs in Texas are igniting the imaginations of young minds and propelling them toward the Colonization of Mars. Students don't just dream about traveling to Mars; they are inspired to make it a reality. A CAMP where future scientists and engineers come together to launch rockets, design and build rovers, and craft meticulously planned missions to the Red Planet. It's more than just a CAMP; it's a journey that mirrors the audacious goals of SpaceX, the pioneer aerospace company committed to transporting humans to Mars from Texas for the first time.
“This CAMP really inspired me to go to college and become an engineer!" Said Mika Jacobson, a Jubilee Academies Harlingen student. "I want to be successful to get a good job… I want to be independent and provide for my family."
Jubilee Westwood students worked together to build and test out their Mars Rover Prototype in an exciting competition. Photo by: Ramon Perez
These series of Colonizing Mars CAMPs are an initiative developed by Jubilee Academies in partnership with the College 1st Program. The goal is to immerse students in the awe-inspiring realm of Mars colonization, shedding light on the revolutionary technologies and ideas propelling humanity towards this daring goal. From the complexities of rocket science to the intricately designed rovers that will one day traverse the Martian terrain, students gain a profound understanding of the transformative power of innovation and teamwork, all while setting their sights on the boundless possibilities that the future holds for humanity's journey to the Red Planet.
Students working in teams get to build and test a remote-controlled Mars Rover prototype that could be used by the first human settlers on the Red Planet. They consider Mars’ rocky terrain, anticipating in their design solutions to potential obstacles.
“This is motivating because I really want to do engineering or learn more about space after today. I’m more motivated to go after those goals,” said Jubilee Kingsville student Nathan Rodriguez.
Throughout this CAMP, students are poised with the challenging question, “How can we colonize Mars?”. According to NASA, the Red Planet is the most viable colonization option for several reasons. Departing from Earth, it will take a spaceship about 6 to 7 months to land on Mars with our current technology. The temperature, gravity, and atmosphere are not the same but comparable to Earth’s. Mars has a similar day duration; it is also tilted in its axis, and its landscape looks like the desert terrains of Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Another similarity is that Mars lasts 24 hours and 37 minutes.
In comparison, Earth has a tilt of 23.5 degrees, which allows it to change seasons, whereas Mars’s is 25 degrees, giving the red planet seasons as well. The difference is that Mars's seasons are twice as long because of its 687-day year compared to Earth’s 365-day year. Humans would never be able to settle on gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn because these planets do not have a rocky surface since they are composed of swirling gases and liquids.
Jubilee Highland Hills students collaborate to build their rocket and plan their mission to Mars. Photo by: Ivan Aguillon
SpaceX plans on sending multiple missions to the surface of Mars, with the first human-crewed mission projected to be in 2029, Elon Musk said in an interview with TED in 2022.
We set the eyes of students on Mars, just as the brilliant minds at NASA have been doing for over half a century. Students step into the roles of engineers and scientists, learning the importance of the technologies that can make these missions a reality. These types of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) experiences are helping shape future educational opportunities for students, guiding them to select a career they are passionate about. Mars may have once held the potential to host life, and with the advancement of technologies currently being developed by space organizations, humankind may one day become a multi-planetary species.
Technology advancements to make this a reality are taking place in Texas. Aside from testing rocket launches at Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX uses this base to produce and develop new technologies with Starship, the world’s first fully reusable rocket.
Starship is a rocket that differs from any other spacecraft ever made. According to a report by Business Insider, at nearly 400 feet, Starship is 30 feet taller than the SLS mega-rocket that NASA launched around the moon for its Artemis I mission, making it the tallest rocket ever. Not only is it the tallest, but also the most powerful. With 17 million pounds of thrust, the “Super Heavy” Starship booster is twice as powerful as the SLS mega-rocket booster, which only has 8.8 million pounds of thrust. The giant spacecraft is expected to take astronauts to the moon in partnership with NASA and eventually to Mars. It is continuously improved to become the future of spaceflight.
During the CAMP, students planned a Mission to Mars and built rockets in teams. They learned how to install the rocket engine and set it on the launch pad. One student played the role of a launch engineer, while the others in their group had other engineering positions like design engineer, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer. Some students recovered their rockets after launching; most rockets opened their parachutes after reaching over 1,000 feet.
“We learned about rockets in space and about colonizing Mars, my day was amazing,” said Jubilee Wells Branch student Gustavo Rubio. “This CAMP is helpful for my future to be able to reach my dreams.”
This modern space race will continue to go full steam ahead. The United States is racing against other countries for multi-planetary colonization. According to Reuters, China‘s goal for its first crewed mission to Mars is scheduled to take place in 2033, while SpaceX, working with NASA, is aiming for 2029 at the earliest. It is difficult to tell which will be the first country to land a group of human explorers on Mars, but here in Texas we are definitely making progress.
Jubilee Lake View students working with the College 1st Mentors prepare for a rocket launch. Photo by: Ramon Perez
As we chart this incredible journey, we not only celebrate the scientific and technological accomplishments that bring us closer to stepping foot on Mars but also acknowledge the spirit of these young explorers who, in their quest for space exploration, are taking giant leaps for both themselves and the future of humankind. With SpaceX and NASA in Texas, students know this CAMP experience is just the beginning of their careers.
“I think these CAMPs help me to be more prepared for the future, so I can be college ready!" said Kayley Gomez, a Jubilee Academies Westwood Student. “I want to reach out my dreams and make my parents super proud”.
For more information about Jubilee Academies, please call them at 1-210-333-6227 or visit their website at https://www.jubileeacademies.org. College 1st is a joint initiative implemented in partnership with visionary leaders from school districts, education service centers, and post-secondary institutions across the State of Texas to empower students for college, career, and life success. For more details about the program, please visit our website at www.College1st.org or call us at 1-877-499-8544.