From the Western Aerospace Scholars website.

From the Western Aerospace Scholars website.

Students try their hand at a Mars mission

Local students are going to try their hand at putting people on Mars.

Three talented Renton students are moving onto Phase Two of the Western Aerospace Scholars (WAS), after success in Phase One of the course, created by NASA and University of Washington (UW.)

Leah Smith, junior at Lindbergh High School, Remo Aurand, junior at Seattle Prep High School and David Phan, junior at Kentridge High School all live in Renton and made it to Phase Two.

Now, Aurand, Phan and Smith will have a six-day experience trying to plan a human mission to Mars.

Four student teams will try to plan the trip with the help of engineers, scientists, college students and certified educators. The participants also receive briefings from aerospace professionals, tour engineering facilities and compete in hands-on engineering challenges, according to a Museum of Flight press release.

The 10 online lessons that began in November 2018 offered students five UW college credits, and the chance to secure a spot in Phase Two, a summer residency at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

To qualify, students must complete the curriculum. Over 200 juniors participated in the program, from Montana, Oregon and Washington.

WAS is designed to connect juniors with education and career opportunities through independent learning, professional guidance, tours and hands-on interactions with the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM.)

“To the potential student reading this, if you decide that you want to pursue engineering in any field or want a career in the space industry, WAS is without a doubt the best decision you could make,” 2018 program participant Chris Moroney stated in a press release.

Applications for the 2019-20 WAS program will be available August 2019 and can be found at Students must be juniors and live in Montana, Washington or Oregon to apply.

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