Girvan Academy pupil’s out of this world adventure at NASA Space School

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A Girvan Academy pupil shared his stellar adventure with members of the Rotary Club.

Daniel Conlan, who stays in Colmonell, had just had the opportunity of a life time when he was selected to attend NASA’s United Space School in America.

Daniel, who is in sixth year at the Academy, and 49 other selected students from all over the world were to embark on a 16 day intensive programme where they were to plan a theoretical mission to Mars.

The adventure started when he flew from Glasgow to Heathrow, then Heathrow to George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston.

The 50 students were split into five teams and each team would plan a different facet of the Mars mission over the next fortnight.

Daniel’s red team worked on propulsion, the transit vehicle and interplanetary trajectories.

At the end of the project, all five teams presented their own aspect of the mission and were grilled by industry experts to see if indeed the mission could be carried out to completion.

Daniel stayed with a local host family, Lynn-Marie and David Thompson, a Chemical Engineer, whose home was in Clear Lake which is a waterfront residential district that’s home to Johnson Space Centre in Houston.

The Thompson home was struck by lightning on Daniel’s first day at the space school - causing him and his fellow student Christo Boshoff, from Namibia, to take a long venture to the Thompson’s second home in Galveston.

Outside the intense project work, the teams visited local landmarks and a Baseball Game  with the Houston Astros.

A cultural evening saw Daniel cook Cock-a–Leekie soup and teach the Canadian Barn Dance.

At the end of the project, Daniel was presented with a certificate for being an exceptional candidate in his red team and was also awarded with the Texas flag that was flown above the US Capitol on the 50th Anniversary of the Moon landing.

Daniel was given some cash by Girvan Rotary to help fund his American trip but he raised the bulk himself, with his presence felt on the course, he was a credit to Girvan Academy to Colmonell and the youth of Carrick.

Girvan Rotary wish him well in his future endeavours and think they will be enviable.