Calls our girls to join space race

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - RE­BECCA DIGIROLAMO

ADE­LAIDE teens Bianca Vi­dal and Jazmin Spencer are among a record group of South Aus­tralian school­girls tak­ing part in a NASA pro­gram hop­ing to rocket more women into a grow­ing global space in­dus­try on the fron­tier of tak­ing off in SA next year.

“I hope women can be par­tic­i­pat­ing across all sec­tors of the space in­dus­try in the fu­ture. I hope we can be up there,” says 15-year-old Jazmin – point­ing to the moon.

Jazmin and five other stu­dents from St Aloy­sius Col­lege, in the city, will jet off from Ade­laide this morn­ing to Hous­ton for the ex­clu­sive two-week NASA space school ex­pe­ri­ence.

There are 53 fe­male stu­dents from six Ade­laide girls’ schools par­tic­i­pat­ing. They will re­pair a space sta­tion and land a rover on Mars in sim­u­lated mis­sions, con­struct and launch a rocket, and pos­si­bly meet SA as­tro­naut Andy Thomas and fe­male space su­per­star Nicole Stott.

Stott, a re­tired NASA engi­neer and space­walk­ing as­tro­naut, is one of 59 women who have flown in space com­pared with more than 470 men since 1961.

“These types of pro­grams are re­ally im­por­tant to show that women can be part of the space in­dus­try,” 17-yearold St Aloy­sius stu­dent Bianca says.

Peggy Whit­son was the first woman to com­mand a space sta­tion in April 2008

Pic­ture: MIKE BUR­TON/AAP

HOUS­TON-BOUND: St Aloy­sius Col­lege stu­dents Bianca Vi­dal and Jazmin Spencer at the Ade­laide Plan­e­tar­ium.

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