APL Summer Center for Space Science Program

To be considered for the APL Summer Center for Space Science program, students must complete an online application and write an essay discussing why they want to participate in the program. To ensure participation will be a valuable experience, students need to have a keen interest in space and space technology and be recommended by their teacher to participate in this summer program.

Throughout the two-week program, APL scientists and engineers will meet with students and give overviews of the exciting missions APL has designed and built for NASA. Interactive activities and demonstrations are provided, including a campus tour of APL’s space testing facilities and a visit to the meteorite lab. A field trip to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, or another space-related facility will also be provided.

Below are some mission website links to get students interested in a few of our NASA missions.

Parker Solar Probe

Parker Solar Probe dives closer to the Sun than humanity has ever ventured to unlock the mysteries of our nearest star.

New Horizons

New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, the distant region of planetary building blocks that hold keys to our solar system’s formation.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly is a NASA New Frontiers mission that will send a rotorcraft lander to explore the prebiotic chemistry and habitability of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

DART

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is NASA’s first planetary defense mission.

MESSENGER

MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) was the first mission to orbit Mercury, shedding unprecedented light on the origins and evolution of the innermost planet.

During the program, students form small groups of 3–4 and work together to design their own space missions to planetary destinations of their choosing. Teams build “cardboard” spacecraft models, and each student will take on a particular role (program manager, mission scientist, mission engineer, etc.). The main focus is on space science, technology and engineering. Teams must follow NASA Discovery mission guidelines as if building a real spacecraft. Each team will prepare a presentation and present their “mission” to families, guests and APL staff on the last day of the program.