Space Camp opens sisters' eyes to science possibilities

PASCO -- Pre-teen sisters Erynn and Lynnae Glaesemann of Pasco are effervescent bundles of energy who verbally bounce among topics at almost the speed of light.

But it isn't boys or clothes or pop stars that spark their excitement -- it's science.

And they were buzzing last week about all the cool science they learned during a weeklong trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., where Erynn, 11, attended Space Camp and Lynnae, 12, attended Space Academy.

They were among a group of seven Tri-City members of the Columbia River Young Marines who made the trip. Others who went were Amri Clark, 11, Elijah Atencio, 12, Samuel Langlois, 12, Brandon Gregg, 15 and Jacob Parker, 17.

Karen Glaesemann, Erynn and Lynnae's mother, said the opportunity for her children to go to Space Camp was one of the things that drew them to the Young Marines.

Karen and Kurt Glaesemann are chemists and incorporate science into their children's everyday lives.

"I just think that's a really big part of education is teaching curiosity," Karen said. "Science is a great place to be curious. I think one of the biggest places for kids to get involved in science is in the kitchen."

The family has performed any number of home-grown experiments, like repeating the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment they saw on Mythbusters. The experiment involves dropping the candy into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke and watching how the chemical reaction makes the soda explode out of the bottle like a geyser.

"There's a lot of science to be had on a day-to-day basis if you look for it," Karen said.

But the trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center gave the chance for her daughters to be fully immersed in science for an entire week.

"There's nothing like really exciting kids about science than by immersing them," Karen said.

While at the rocket center, Erynn and Lynnae got the chance to try out gravity and lunar landing simulators, participate in a mock shuttle mission, and simulate growing plants on a colony on Mars.

"One of my favorite rides was the Space Shot," Lynnae said. "You go 32 miles per second up into the air on a pole then drop down."

"You feel a lot pressing on your body like pkhlew!" Erynn said, and collapsed backward onto her living room sofa to mimic the press of gravity.

They chattered about performing experiments that show how rocket fuel is made from hydrogen, and using a video game-like simulator to pretend to be dinosaurs.

"It had a joystick and action buttons. You could press bite, drink and poop," Lynnae said. "I was a triceratops."

"I was a T-rex, but I died really fast because I challenged this other dinosaur," Erynn said.

And they came back full of enthusiasm about future science careers.

Lynnae hopes to work on the space program -- whatever that might be in the future. She might even be the one to get us there.

"I'm getting interested in creating rockets," she said. "I have a really cool idea for a rocket that will take us to Mars, but it'll take a while."

Erynn is a little less career-focused at this point, but came back pondering some new possibilities.

"It opened up my eyes," she said. "It gives me a lot more choices."

For more information about programs at the rocket center, go to spacecamp.com or call 1-800-63 SPACE.