Liam O’Connell spent a week of his summer planning a mission to Mars. O’Connell, a George Mason High School student, was one of 144 rising high school seniors selected to take part in the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars academy. The academy was held June 23-29 at NASA Langley Research Center and was hosted by NASA Langley in partnership with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium.
Prior to the academy, the students completed a six-month interactive distance-learning course, which focused on aerospace exploration in order to prepare students for their work at NASA Langley.
The academy gave O’Connell the opportunity to tour NASA facilities, gain experience with NASA researchers, meet astronaut Dr. Roger Crouch, participate in workforce situations and receive college credit. O’Connell worked on the Science and Surface Operations team, which was responsible for the design and development of experiments to verify the existence of life Mars.