CWU News

Mars Rover Summer Camp Plans Rocket Launch August 5

Three. Two. One. LIFT OFF! If all systems are go this Friday, more than 40 excited campers in the Mars Rovers Summer Camp at Central Washington University will execute a successful rocket launch on Friday, August 5.

The camp was developed by CWU Physics professor Darci Snowden, who received a five-year, $150,000 grant from the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium—“Ignite, Innovate, Inspire”—to encourage the next generation of students to study the science of space.

“The point of the grant is to find students interested in STEM while they are young,” Snowden said. “We developed opportunities for them to stay engaged with and interested in science, such as science camps and rocket weekends.”

Snowden recalls the excitement of attending space camps when she was growing up and felt this would be an excellent way to get students involved. She is hosting the first Mars Rover Summer camp with high school sophomores July 31-August 5.

“The camp is free, and this year we are hosting about 47 students,” she enthused. “I’m excited to work with high school students and see what we can push them to do. It’s also important for students who are interested in science to interact with their peers.

“Our activities are designed to engage a diverse community,” she added. “We intend to build robots and initiate rockets launches.” The camp offered other activities, such as field trips to the Museum of Flight and lectures on what it takes to get to Mars.

“The goal of the camp is to show students how cool science can be and to engage a diverse community using NASA missions and science, rockets, and robots,” Snowden reflected. “Hopefully, we will ignite some of the student’s passion for science and start them on a path that they’ve never imagined.”

Photo courtesy of NASA

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

August 5, 2016