Swansea Students Manned Mission to Mars!

Local secondary school student, Ffion James, is ecstatic to discover that she has been selected as one of only 50 students worldwide, for the once in a lifetime opportunity to represent Wales on a trip to join the International Space School, in Houston Texas.

As part of the experience, Ffion will need to fundraise approximately £2,000 (£700 course fees and £1,300 air fare). She is enhancing her personal development by approaching local organisations and individuals to help her achieve her dream, whilst raising the profile and links to UK Organisations.

What is the programme about?

The Foundation for International Space Education (FISE) is a private foundation with the mission to provide space-based academic instruction to international pre-university students, while offering an introduction and orientation to the aerospace industry.

The two weeks experience will combine scientific studies at Clear Lake University and Houston University. Ffion will also experience a unique simulation exercise, where all 50 students collaborate to successfully complete the Manned Mission to Mars.

During the two-week stay, the students will also share insights on their respective cultures, experience working with language differences and learn how to work collaboratively within a diverse environment. The skills developed from the programme will form the perfect foundation as they enter further education and the professional world.

Watch the team from 2016 enjoy their experience of the programme!

Where will the students stay during the experience?

The students are hosted by families in the Clear Lake - Bay Area of Houston. Many of the families have direct links with the aerospace community and provide invaluable insight on their experiences of this renowned a highly acclaimed industry.

*“As we live with local families during the time there will be a cultural exchange element which I’m really excited about too.” Ffion James

Why does this Mission mean so much to Ffion?

My captivation for the unknown and for the things that are yet to be known has been nurtured since a very young age. At the age of eight I was first introduced to the planets by my year four teacher (back when Pluto was still classed a planet), and I was enthralled by the possibilities that I saved for my very own Kson telescope which still has pride of place in my bedroom.

To say that the stars have been an influential part of my life is not an exaggeration. For the last five years when we were asked to perform presentations for assessment in English and Welsh GCSE, the common theme between all of my performances was my love for space; my presentations included the Russian Salyut series and Mir, the United States Skylab and their joint ISS (International Space Station). It was interesting to note, that my topics were so unusual, students actually took notice and provided hugely positive feedback how interested they were.

Over the last five years I have developed my passion for all things science; astronomy classes, reading the All About Space magazines and listening to TED talks allowing myself to being thrilled at the possibility of working in an environment where anything is possible as without these ideas, as whacky and wild as a child’s imagination new solutions wouldn’t be brought into existence/reality. Who would have thought that back in the early 60’s, it was possible to reach the Moon?

Only those creative enough to dream, and challenge what the possibilities’ beyond our own understanding of our world? To be able to discover more, understand more, and to move forward and to see that our future survival lies ahead in the blackness’ of space, because until we shine a light in the direction we wish to go, we will never understand the true possibilities’ waiting for us there. As Leonardo De Vinci once said,

*“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”

My desire to understand and be able to touch the things that changed our preconceptions of the world has given me so many opportunities’. I am so enthralled by the stars and the moon like many others though history that I couldn’t resist the opportunity to walk on the other side of the “do not access doors” and see first hand the wonderfully exciting experiences and to see the frustration and hard work needed to accomplish any dream.

*“The adventure has just begun!”

To help Ffion achieve lift of on 23rd July please visit her Justgiving page: