Montgomery Children Question Dreams of Space Travel

What kid hasn't wanted to grow up to be an astronaut? Students learning about space as part of AUM's Jason Project aren't so sure. When Danielle Orcutt, a 6th grader at Maxwell Elementary said, "I'm not sure after those 7 people blew up."

"I'm thinking I'm going to be the one in mission control because I wouldn't want to be an astronaut and be up there," said Jake Kimmett. "I'd be too worried the thing's gonna crash!"

"It's always going to be dangerous, but that's exploration of any kind," said AUM professor Dr. Bill Nowell. He's a former Solar System Ambassador for NASA.

Nowell talked to students about the agency's plans. He says un-manned missions are still a go. In fact, a new Mars rover is set to blast off soon. And, Nowell predicts shuttle missions will also continue eventually.

"The experts are going to find out what needs to be corrected. We're not going to do anything foolish until we find out what needs to be done. That's why things are on hold," said Nowell. "But all of these other missions are going to go right ahead."

AUM's Jason Project also teaches students about other sciences, but it's the final frontier that most kids still find fascinating, even after what they've seen. "We're studying all about earth, but we never know what's going to be out there. We're always finding new things," said Kimmett.

The students paused for a moment of silence in memory of the Columbia Crew. The Jason Project continues at AUM throughout the week with different school groups visiting each day.