BONNYVILLE – Two brothers are going boldly where few have gone before.
Bonnyville's very own Liam and Leland Warburton have reached for the stars and will find themselves landing among other space enthusiasts during NASA’s Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
The brothers discovered the possibility while searching for activities to keep themselves busy.
“We didn’t really have anything to do this summer and we were bored so we looked online and we found Space Camp,” recalled 10-year-old Leland.
Liam, 12, added, “I’ve been interested in math and science for quite a while, and when we found it, I thought it would be a good opportunity to expand my knowledge and learn more about it.”
NASA’s Space Camp immerses students in astronaut training techniques using equipment adapted from their astronaut program. Participants learn about space hardware, enjoy an educational water activity, and experience a spaceflight mission while learning about aerospace career opportunities.
From Aug. 16 to 21, the pair are trading in their backpacks for oxygen packs to fully embrace the experience.
Leland is looking forward to “meeting the astronauts, going on the mock missions, or the 1/6 gravity simulator,” while Liam can’t wait to learn how NASA builds their rockets.
According to them, the application process was fierce.
“The odds definitely weren’t in their favour,” noted Lianne Warburton, Leland and Liam’s mom. “It’s a worldwide program, and applicants from all over the world applied.”
Along with writing two essays and obtaining letters of recommendation, the boys also had to design a mission patch that represented them.
“Mine was more like a circle,” explained Liam. “I put a few pictures of flags of places that I’ve been because I like traveling, and I put a green Canadian flag on it because that’s my favourite colour and I’m Canadian.”
Leland took a bit of a different route when it came to his design.
“I put two mission patches from my favourite astronaut named Leland Melvin. I like him because his name is Leland and I don’t know anyone else whose name is Leland. I also put a neurosurgeon because I want to be one when I’m older.”
After submitting their applications, the boys waited anxiously to hear a response. They were hopeful at least one of them would get the chance to participate, and were blown away when the email finally arrived.
“I didn’t think both of us would get in, but when we found out we were both going we were really excited,” exclaimed Leland.
The scholarship they received covers the cost of their accommodations, meals, and a full week of activities. All they have to worry about is their flights to and from Huntsville.
Although they still have a few months to wait, Leland and Liam are on cloud nine while they eagerly count down the days until take-off.
“It’s a good way to expand our knowledge and they teach a lot of stuff,” Liam said.
Leland added, “You also have a lot of fun while you’re doing it.”