Upper School

Exploring Medicine in Space

Rising senior Adele M. has always been interested in engineering but she recently came closer to imagining her potential career when she entered the Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) program.

The first phase of the WAS program, an intensive course stretching from December 2016 to June 2017 challenged students to learn about space missions through an mock-mission to Mars.

During the course, Adele and approximately 200 other students learned about propulsions, rockets, the physical aspects of sending a rocket to space, and the logistical end of space missions. They also learned about the health and medicine involved in space travel, and that is what caught Adele's attention.

"We know a lot about medicine here on Earth, but when you put a person in space, it is a completely different story,” says Adele. “We know nothing about that. The scientist in me thinks that is amazing."

Based on her work in the first phase of the WAS program, Adele was selected for the second phase of the program, which happens in July. In that phase, students will work in groups of approximately 20 to plan a manned mission to Mars, with the help of professional engineers and scientists from NASA. Students will have specific positions/jobs on the mission stage, and Adele hopes to use this stage to look further into aerospace medicine as a potential career.

"By doing this mission, I get to see what engineers are actually doing on this level, and what doctors are actually doing,” says Adele. “This will help me understand if aerospace medicine is what I want to pursue in future studies.”

After the mission-to-Mars project, students will partake in engineering challenges and tours of local facilities, such as Blue Origin in Kent. After completing the second phase, Adele will remain as a student mentor for future classes.