"I'm really excited to get the chance to go to NASA in Texas and get to work with the engineers and astronauts and tour the facilities and learn more about the different missions, especially the Mars mission," says Nelson, who plans to study medicine at a prestigious university after she gets her BSN. "That's what we focused on in our assignments...rovers in Mars."
"One of my objectives was to try to introduce plant life on Mars so that when we do try to have a manned mission, we can sustain them with oxygen," explains Nelson. "It's like having a Mars greenhouse on Mars and see how plants actually handle Mars, because they have simulations here, but actually to do it and see how they'll develop, how they'll grow."
Sergio Lopez, Dean of Student Development at IVC says that Nelson also participates in student government while raising her four-year-old son.
"It speaks to her ability to have time management with all of the things going on around her," says Dean Lopez. "She seems to be able to use her time and still provide a family environment for her child and at home and also her dedication towards her studies."
Nelson took four online classes through the NASA Aerospace Scholar Program before she was selected.
"We had to do a timeline, a budget. We also had to design a rover," says Nelson. "So we had to draw one with all the specifications and how it was going to get power, how long it was going to be there."
Those selected then apply what they learn during the year to work with NASA engineers.
"So when we actually have to go to NASA, we're going to be doing some different robotics missions with little rovers so we can kind of simulate how it would be like on Mars," says Nelson.
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