Since he can remember, Adam Saleh, 11, has been enthralled with astronomy and space. He enjoys time on clear nights searching the stars through his telescope. Earlier this year, his mother, Lin, asked if he would be interested in attending NASA space camp. Contemplating his first time at a sleep away camp, Adam became excited after researching the activities planned for the 7 day camp in Huntsville, Alabama. His session took place during the Summer’s 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. There were many special activities to commemorate that event, and the incredible experiences and new friends he made are things he will always remember fondly. His mother Lin says, “He was actually really sad when I picked him up, saying he wished he didn’t have to go home. He’s already signed up for next year!”
With 1,000 kids attending, campers were broken into smaller groups of about 15 each. It was there that Adam met his dorm mate, Evan, who became a close friend and counterpart. In an individual project, Adam helped his team win first prize for his design of the winning mission patch. Adam’s talent in art class (one of his favorites) was able to shine through in this challenge against 1,000 other campers!
Well spoken and thoughtful, Adam was excited about several activities during his week away. “We got to build rockets that were launched in a World Record launch… 5,000 rockets were launched into space all at the same time,” he told us. Another favorite activity of his was being in the GyroSphere. “It was really fun! You are spinning really fast and you have to try to settle yourself. I originally thought that it couldn’t be that hard… But when I was finished, I hadn’t accomplished what I was trying to.” Adam realized that becoming an astronaut takes a lot of specialized training. He doesn’t want to be one because, he says, “I think that controlling a panel and piloting a spacecraft would be too overwhelming! There’s so much stuff that you have to master. I know that there are kids who would love that kind of thing and they should definitely check out space camp.”
The astronaut that came and talked to campers that week was Robert Gibson. He flew on the Challenger prior to its horrible accident, and was the astronaut who took the famous picture of Bruce McCandless doing the first untethered space walk.
In the sixth grade at American Heritage School, Adam’s favorite subject is science. He also loves coding, programming and things that are technology-based. He attends art school, plays the piano and stays busy with even more extracurricular activities. His focus for the future is researching and discovering as yet unknown planets.
Lin gives us further insight regarding the camp and her youngest son. “The Space Camp program was very focused on STEM. Although astronomy was part of the curriculum, it was focused more on aerospace and aerospace engineering. Adam’s interests range in all aspects of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) since he is also extremely artistic.”