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My unforgettable trip to NASA

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I had long dreamt to visit the United States of America and that came true last year. I also got an opportunity to participate in Space University Program at the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), conducted by Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Twenty seven students from 21 different schools from across the world participated in the programme.

On the first day, we went to Pleasure Pier (Water Park) for refreshment and Walmart for shopping. I was very surprised to see the clean environment all around. We visited Naranjo museum where we learned many things about dinosaurs. We also saw a model of a spacecraft.

I was very nervous on the first day but soon began to feel home. We were taught how life could be possible in Mars and were advised to prepare for habitat in Mars. We were divided into five groups and an internal competition was held among the group. On the same day we were taken to play gravity chair and taught about the thermal protection.

We prepared a Mars rover too, which carried small pieces of stone. We then had brunch with David C Hilmers, a famous NASA astronaut who has been to the space six times.

We were even taught the process of building rockets and instructed to prepare a sample rocket. Our special program at Johnson Space Center came to an end and all of us had to patiently wait for the result of the competition. We had done our best but did not win the title, as our rocket was not able to land safely.

When I took my flight back to Nepal, I thought if Nepal could ever take even a small leap in technological development.  I reflected on how wonderful it would be to welcome students from all over the world to Nepal to participate in such a space programme.

By Bibek Adhikari

The writer is a grade 11 student at Uniglobe Higher Secondary School, Kamaladi, Kathmandu.