AISES Summer Camp students planning project

On Wednesday, middle-school students created space suit design samples and faced off in a friendly competition to test their suit's durability. The students were given a budget to "buy" materials including copy paper, aluminum foil, paper plates, duct tape, and more to make and test a durable sample simulating a space suit. Then they put their sample on the floor under a 4' chute, and dropped a dart down the chute to see if their materials were capable of withstanding the impact of a simulated micro-meteoroid.

The students also heard an inspiring message from camp founder Dr. Bernard Harris, a former NASA astronaut who was the first African American to walk in space.

The activities are part of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, held recently at the University of New Mexico Campus, with the theme "Traditional Knowledge, Modern Challenges."  The two week academic, residential camp emphasized participation from underrepresented minority students to increase their skills in mathematics and science. The camp also introduced participants to college dormitory life and worked to stimulate their interest in science and engineering as potential career paths.

This year, 48 campers were selected from 18 tribal communities to be a part of this exciting program. The campers will be entering grades 6-8 in the fall of 2011 and have been recruited from American Indian and other communities across the Southwest.

Media contact and story by: Tamara Williams (505) 277-5859; e-mail: