There was a time when women did not go to space. That, of course, has changed and today there are young girls who dream of doing just that.
Indiana, a Girl Scout who lives in South Pasadena, is one of them. She will not be spaced out this weekend, but her project is taking off.
Indiana and four other scouts from Southern California were among the winners of the inaugural “Making Space for Girls” competition sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council in Florida, the nonprofit SpaceKids Global and ProXops and L2 Aerospace. based in Houston. (Girl Scouts do not allow girls’ full names to be released, to ensure their confidentiality and security.)
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, their ideas and projects will be part of a space launch on SpaceX CRS23 to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
There were 680 contest entries from 95 Girl Scout councils, 46 states, two territories and two countries. They were challenged to create a design for the “Making Space for Girls” mission patch, write an essay about their space dreams and the future of space travel, or come up with an idea for an experience. .
Twenty-one winning entries were selected by a panel of prestigious space industry professionals.
Indiana, who loves art and science, used markers, paper, and her father’s iPad to create her winning idea which also earned her a space badge for her uniform vest.
“I think I’m probably going to go to space,” she said in an email. “But I may also be an architect. And own a cafe. And be a singer. I can do whatever I think about. My mom says that.
What’s unusual about the Girl Scouts Indiana experience over the past 18 months is that she hasn’t physically met any of the other girls in her troop in person.
“We do everything online because of COVID,” she wrote. “But I love my troop and my leaders are so funny and smart. Can you believe the astronauts know me?
Indiana teamed up with her friend Golda to design a colorful space badge for the contest.
There is an astronaut in the center wearing a helmet so “she can breathe in space” with planets and a rocket.
Golda, a preschool who lives in Glendale, joined the Daisy troupe this year on Zoom and looks forward to the day when she can meet her counterparts in person.
“I love to make up stories about space,” Golda wrote in an email. “I made a story on Lelo. It is a fairy of the moon that comes out when it is the half moon. I like to look at the moon and see what shape it has. I think I would like to visit the moon and other planets.
Kayla of Rolling Hills Estates was also among the local winners. She started out as a Girl Scout Daisy in first grade and in one day she wrote a story about a character she named Nick Raven and her visit to space.
“People mispronounce my last name as Nick Raven, so I created a character called Nick Raven and wrote a story about him and his friends,” Kayla wrote in an email. “It was a new adventure for them.”
Now that she’s an award-winning space project creator, she feels pretty proud of herself, she said.
“I don’t want to be a scientist, but I want to go to space,” Kayla wrote. “I want to be a baker and a writer. “
Milan, who lives in the San Gabriel Valley, wanted to know how the sun affects the foliage of a plant based on its proximity to the sun. She was curious whether the plant would grow faster when the International Space Station was on the side of Earth closest to Venus or the side closest to Mars.
Its goal was to develop useful information to combat climate change and help determine how food sources might be adapted if humans were to colonize other planets.
The result was the creation of a fully contained box that she designed that allows astronauts to water the planet without ever opening it.
“I love space and I was really excited to think about what an astronaut might experience,” Milan wrote in an email. “Since I have read a lot about other experiments already done in space, I wanted to think of something that had never been done before. I love plants and have thought about life on earth.
Milan, who traveled to Florida to witness the launch in real time, has their eyes on the future. She says she will continue to learn more about the different galaxies, stars and nebulae.
“I want to be a NASA scientist in the future and I can’t believe an idea of mine is going to be launched into space already! She wrote. “Winning this competition makes me want to pursue a scientific career even more and I know I can do it! “
Milan has won numerous patches in five years, but the Making Space for Girls patch is the most exciting, she said.
“It means a lot to me because it reminds me that a simple idea I had could turn into something so big,” she wrote. “I never imagined that I could see an idea of my own being launched into space. Every time I look at it, I remind myself that I can do something that I think about.”
Becoming a scout opened a lot of doors for her and she did a lot of things she never would have done before.
“It taught me to set and achieve my goals, to be more confident and to be useful to others,” she said. “I am proud to be one of the top cookie sellers on our Board as well and two years in a row I have sold over 2,000 boxes of cookies! But winning this contest was the best part of being a Girl Scout! “
Jordan, 12 of Canyon Country, also traveled to Florida to attend the launch.
The winning project she came up with was to determine whether lavender essential oil diffused in microgravity has the same effect on humans as it does on Earth.
“I wanted to release the scent of lavender essential oil into the air in Faraday’s box on the ISS and have a pi of raspberry measure the particles in the air and compare them to the particles of lavender essential oil in a box of Faraday on Earth, ”Jordan wrote. “I use essential oils on a daily basis to help with things like sleep and energy, which is why I chose to do my experiment on them.”
Scientists took Jordan’s idea to study plants that hopefully can provide natural health care options for astronauts and future space travelers.
“They combined my idea with girls who wanted to study plants grown in microgravity for food and as renewable energy sources and they designed a study to see how seeds of tomatoes, lemongrass and bell pepper germinate on it. ‘ISS,’ Jordan wrote.
In Girl Scouts, young women of all ages learn about science, technology, engineering, the arts and math to help them see how they can actually make the world a better place, as they discover how the engine of a car, learn to manage their finances or take care of animals.
“What an exciting way for our daughters to see that space exploration and technology are accessible and rewarding,” said Theresa Edy Kiene, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles in a prepared statement. “Participating in MS4G inspired our daughters to pursue passions in STEM, which are the basis of the Girl Scout leadership experience. I’m so proud of each of them and can’t wait to see what it inspires.
All submissions from the girls will be returned to them once they return to Earth and processed by NASA as items certified to fly in space.